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The Van Breda murder trial

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I wish we had court coverage on this!

 

Keep us posted Carly1803, thanks.

 

I have the same wishes! Such a sensitive case could be groundbreaking for our forensics department and judicial system, I still think we have a right to view it, but alas, not my decision.

 

I'll keep you posted

 

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I hope they don't drag this out for months on end, I'd prefer having the final verdict within the next 2 weeks.

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Already my hopes are sinking and it's only day three.

First and foremost, judge Desai addressed the livestream issue, saying the final say lies with the Supreme Court of Appeal.

 

And onto the trial:

It started with Advocate Botha cross examining Kleynhans (the first officer on the scene).

There is a lengthy dispute about the possibility of a burglary, as one window was quite a bit open.

Botha: If the window is as it is in the evidence photo, would a person be able to get through it?

Kleynhans: If the person is very thin, it is possible.

 

Kleynhans says to the court Henri didn't appear traumatized. Yet in his statement he says that Henri seems traumatized. Judge Desai asks him to explain and he was unable to. Advocate Botha ceases this opportunity to say that Kleynhans gave that evidence misleadingly to give the wrong impression of Henri's state. Kleynhans admitted he made a mistake, albeit not deliberately.

 

There is further dispute about how open the back door was, ajar could be different things to different people.

 

My hopes sink as I once again feel that our police does not have the competence to thoroughly investigate, and along with that much less testify in court.

 

Advocate Botha has 21 years experience at the Cape Bar, and is giving Kleynhans all his days on the stand.

 

Advocate Botha is saying Kleynhans is either misleading the court, or his recollection is awful.

Kleynhans retorts that it took place three years ago and that it's human to forget.

 

Kleynhans testified it didn't look like a crime scene, with valuables still there. He then concedes and says things may have been stolen, as he didn't know the house.

 

It seems Kleynhans took pictures at least before the scene where Marli and her mother were laying got disturbed.

 

There is photo evidence of blood droplets near the black gate next to the house.

 

Kleynhans didn't check the house for any attackers. When asked about the alcohol he allegedly smelt on Henri's breath advocate Botha says that Henri had wine the evening before with his family, there were no drugs or substances found in his system.

 

Since 2002 there have been 24 break ins at the estate.

 

Next on the stand was Lorenzo Afrika, who worked for the security company of the estate. He is responsible for checking that the electric fence is operational, and to go to specific points in the estate to make sure all is in order. Geotab system and the clocking system shows that Afrika had done all his duties that night. He checked the electric fence and barrier fence five times during his shift. He testifies that there were no alarms triggered that evening and that the fence is very accurate and anything that touches it will activate the system.

 

 

 

And that's it for today.

 

 

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Thank you for the condensed update Carly

 

A thought popped into my mind yesterday, a twister of note one might say, but what if Marli was the actual attacker and Henri ended up defending himself against her, ultimately knocking her out in the process and now protecting her.

 

Figured since everyone else has their own vision of what happened that night I might as well mix in some flavoring while we at it.

 

If this was a movie, my version would more than likely be the end scene, with the audiences minds blown

 

However this is real life, with Henri still guilty af, until proven otherwise.

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That's a pretty gnarly idea. Definitely some movie stuff.

 

Of course I'd like to believe that he is guilty. But the police is botching this case again so badly, you wouldn't even know what is the truth anymore.

 

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@Carly1803 give us some updates please

 

That's a pretty gnarly idea. Definitely some movie stuff.

 

Of course I'd like to believe that he is guilty. But the police is botching this case again so badly, you wouldn't even know what is the truth anymore.

 

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True true, however we should just blame ourselves for expecting more from SAPS since by now we ought to know better.

 

Still early days though, I'll remain optimistic for the time being that true justice will be served.

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True true, however we should just blame ourselves for expecting more from SAPS since by now we ought to know better.

 

Still early days though, I'll remain optimistic for the time being that true justice will be served.

 

We should know better. You are correct. I just wonder why we are the ones heaving to accept that we should know better, when it's SAPS that should know better? We will never be a first world country if we can't even remotely solve a triple homicide. It's such a disappointment.

 

At the moment I quite like judge Desai. He seems to be viewing the case objectively. We can keep hope that he makes the ruling as fair and as just as he can. He is only human after all.

 

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I was a bit out with my days of the trial. Yesterday was day four.

 

Day 5 of the trial and further scrutiny has been placed on the security of the estate.

 

Advocate Combrink (defense) cross examined Mr Afrika this morning about where the cameras are and in which direction they face. Afrika also says the cameras are fixed, thermal cameras. Apparently there are only 2 thermal cameras? (a bit of confusion for me here)

 

The defense is in possession of security photos from 2013, which shows great erosion where the river enters the estate. Afrika says these photos are old and security has changed since then, such as double fencing. Afrika says when any parts of the fences are triggered they always check what it was by physically ensuring all is in order and not just driving by.

He paints a good picture of the security.

One perimeter check takes about an hour to an hour and a half.

Afrika says that between 26 and 27 January 2015 there were no activations of the fence.

 

Combrink then asked Mr Afrika if he knows how to open the kiosk around the energizer. Mr Afrika responded and said he only checks if they had been tampered with, but he is no technician. All the kiosks were closed that night. There were no problems with any of the 22 energizers or he would have been dispatched.

 

Combrink has the report from the security company of the estate (Thorburn Security) which was collected as evidence. And even though Afrika's colleague confirms there were no alarms, the report of alarm activations said it has gone of three times during his shift. Mr Afrika maintains that he was not dispatched.

 

And that's it for day 5. The next witness tomorrow is De Zalze Estate Manager.

 

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Captains Log, Day 5

 

We are borg, I mean bored :P

 

Trial is moving at snails pace, not that I was expecting more.

 

Problem is, people seem to think that having security actually means you'll be safe and that "crooks" are only active at night, meanwhile the "intruders" could have entered the Estate anytime during the day and subsequently also left at any time by simply just driving in and out at say 1pm......

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Captains Log, Day 5

 

We are borg, I mean bored

 

Trial is moving at snails pace, not that I was expecting more.

 

Problem is, people seem to think that having security actually means you'll be safe and that "crooks" are only active at night, meanwhile the "intruders" could have entered the Estate anytime during the day and subsequently also left at any time by simply just driving in and out at say 1pm......

 

This is South Africa, everything moves at a snail's pace.

 

But no matter what time they came in, if there were intruders, the thing Mr Afrika was emphasizing is not only how well he does his job but how well the security is day and night.

 

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This is South Africa, everything moves at a snail's pace.

 

But no matter what time they came in, if there were intruders, the thing Mr Afrika was emphasizing is not only how well he does his job but how well the security is day and night.

 

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Indeed, that's why the estate only had 24 burglaries in the part 15 years. For me the number is inconsequential, the fact remains people break in regardless of how good you think your security is and that every security system has it's flaws.

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Indeed, that's why the estate only had 24 burglaries in the part 15 years. For me the number is inconsequential, the fact remains people break in regardless of how good you think your security is and that every security system has it's flaws.

 

And this is why these things are luckily not in our hands.

I can have a plethora of opinions but at the end of the day I'm glad I'm not judge Desai who needs to think very critically about the security and the plausibility of other alternatives.

 

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Day 6 of the trial and the mystery continues. 

 

Edgar Wyngaard is called to the stand, he is the supervisor who was on duty with Mr Afrika. 

 

Wyngaard attests to the strict security that is kept, builders who come to work at the estate gets registered by fingerprint, ID and registration details. And if they stay late they need the owner's permission and security needs to be notified. There are strict rules regarding packages and visitors at the estate. 

 

Wyngaard says there was no conspicuous activity the night of the murders. He checked the cameras and the fences afterwards and all was in order. "It's impossible to get into the estate." The fences are too high and electric, someone could not jump over. 

 

Judge Desai asked Advocate Combrink to demonstrate to the court how two people got over the fence if they use an insulating material as Combrink asked if this was possible and Wyngaard said no. #sass

 

Wyngaard echoes Mr Afrika by saying there were no complaints from residents the night of the murders. He also says that persons with an access card can swipe into the estate with visitors and no questions will be asked or a search done. 

 

There is a report from a security manager about an open kiosk and an unplugged AC Power outlet on the day of the murders.It is said an alarm went off at 01:37 on 27 January 2015 and neither Wyngaard nor Afrika patrolled this. But someone else did. 

 

The state then said it needs time to look at video footage and other information. The defence objected to this postponement but Judge Desai granted it.

 

The court will resume again on Monday.

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Wow, so 2 years later they still haven't watched all the footage from that night, top notch security my ass :P

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Wow, so 2 years later they still haven't watched all the footage from that night, top notch security my ass

 

Not the security, the state has not.

 

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Damnit Carly, stop breaking my balls, it's Friday and I've been up since 4am :D

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Day 7 of the trial played out this morning in Cape Town. The effectiveness of the security at the De Zalze estate still receiving a lot of fire from the defence.

 

It was an exceptionally long day in court so bear with me as I try and recap it for you as accurately as possible.

 

The day started with witness number 80 on the list. Marcia Rossouw, security manager at De Zalze.

 

She took over as manager in 2014 and made several improvements whilst working there, such as upgrading the electric fence. She says the additional cameras that were installed was not as a result of the murders.

 

At the time of the murders, there were optic cameras at all the gates and at other strategic points. There is an optic camera where the river enters the estate, there are also beams and the thermal cameras which have been discussed by Mr Afrika.

 

There are two security routes, one that happens within the estate and one that runs along the perimeter.

 

The report from that night shows that all the patrols happened on schedule.

 

Rossouw said that once the system is triggered someone would need to go out and resolve the issue for it to be deactivated.

 

The Van Breda home is in the middle of the estate with a 2-kilometre distance from where the river enters the estate to their home. The airfield gate is 1 kilometre away.

 

Rossouw says when she heard of the incident she requested that the fence is inspected thoroughly for any entry point, and the check the system for any activations and to look at the camera reports.

 

The four incidents that were reported was followed up on and was apparently a power drop.

 

There were no discrepancies in any of the 18 cards that were used to enter and exit at the gates (as sometimes homeowners would lend their cards to others)

 

Rossouw echoes all the previous security witnesses that there were no incidents or anything suspicious that night.

 

Advocate Botha then questioned Rossouw and said that there would need to be a light on for the cameras to pick up anyone on its footage. Rossouw retorted and said that there were lights with the cameras except for the Eskom gate camera.

 

Botha asked about the anti-dig by the fence and says that there are various areas that do not have it. Rossouw responded and said that it is still like that.

 

Judge Desai asked if it would be possible to dig a tunnel underneath. Rossouw said that there would have been evidence of this, no footprints, damage or wires being cut.

 

Advocate Botha said that he planned on showing the court how rocks can be used to cover up such an entry through the fence. (Whether he means under or literally through, I am not certain)

 

There is a report that points out various errors in security, especially with the cameras. Spotlights and a security guard were recommended for the fence around where the river enters the estate. Rossouw says that these were not in place in 2015, only an optic camera.

 

Botha then said that one point while he was visiting the estate there was an unmarked vehicle with a member of the press taking pictures of the home. They had gained entry under the pretence of going to the Klein Zalze restaurant. The bridge from Klein Zalze to the estate did not have access control.

 

Botha said that on the report there were more than four "alarm ons" and whether Rossouw had seen this. She said she had. At 1:08 there was an alarm activated. Rossouw says fences are activated when they get tested, these get logged as such. But Rossouw also said that she did not check personally that these were indeed fence tests.

 

The next day the alarms were said to have been a result of the power dip. There are two different alarms, one alerts the controllers and the other caused by the dip in power, and responders would not be sent out then.

 

Botha then referred to an old attempt at entry into the estate and Rossouw said that those people did not gain entry and that the security was very quick to respond.

 

The court is adjourned until tomorrow.

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Yup, much of the same

 

At least it means they're throurough. But so far we've seen how many witnesses? About 5? Out of 80 or more. Rossouw was only number 80 in an undefined amount.

I may have gotten in over my head here[GRINNING FACE WITH SMILING EYES] but I'll keep reporting for you and my own sanity.

 

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At least it means they're throurough. But so far we've seen how many witnesses? About 5? Out of 80 or more. Rossouw was only number 80 in an undefined amount.

I may have gotten in over my head here[GRINNING FACE WITH SMILING EYES] but I'll keep reporting for you and my own sanity.

 

Sent from my SM-G955F using the Platinum Wealth app

 

Yup, seems like this one will be dragging out for another month or three, best you strap yourself in for the long haul

 

I certainly appreciate the daily updates, as many do I'm sure.

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Here is my late update to Day 8 of the trial.

 

Security manager, Rossouw is on the stand again.

 

Advocate Botha said that his experts in alarm systems said that a power dip would not cause those alarm activations.He said that if there had been a power dip more than one energizer would have been activated as the line serves more than one energizer.

 

The court then looked at vehicles that entered the estate.

At 3.17 a white vehicle entered the estate and there are no records of it.

At 4.29 another vehicle enters, without being stopped, also no records of it.

 

A statement from the security says that it was a quiet night after the restaurant closed at 23.00, with no other vehicles exiting or entering. Advocate Botha said that this is clearly incorrect.

Botha says to Rossouw that log in procedures are clealry not followed. Rossouw says that this is possible.

 

Infrared camera footage is shown from the camera near the river entrance. What is deemed to be a buck is seen on one side of the fene and then the other. Whether it is the same is unclear but Botha questions that if it is, how was the alarm not activated.

It also seems that three hours of the footage is missing.

 

Rossouw says that there are many animals on the estate and surrounding area.

There are pictures of security guards sleeping on the job.

 

The Homeowners Association frequently send out emergency numbers in newsletters. Henri said that he had never read it.

 

In May 2013 a man armed with a panga tried to gain entry into the estate but was scared of by a guard.

 

The van Breda home did not have an alarm.

 

The next witness on the stand is Christiaan Koegelenberg (First ambulance responder). He works for Stellenbosh EMS, he has 39 years of service on his belt.

He said, "When we got there the policeman showed us what was going on, he took us into number 12 and told us to look what was going on because everything was 'deurmekaar'"

He saw one patient outside (Henri) sititing with a dog.

The policeman took them inside and upstairs and showed them where the victims were. At the top of the stairs and in the bedroom.

 

Koegelenberg saw that one of the victims was still breathing. He went to the first two victims (Marli and her mother) and his colleague went to the other two (Martin and Rudi). His colleague then gave him the signal to indicate both victims were deceased.

 

They got their equipment and carried Marli down the stairs after the police had taken their pictures. He said that when they moved Teresa's body, blood ran down the stairs like a waterfall. It was one of the worst experiences in his 39 years of service.

 

Koegelenberg did not treat Henri. He recognizes him albeit he is older.

 

Advocate Botha says Henri does not know who brought him the dog.

 

Galloway says they had a third witness but their interpreter had not arrived.

 

Court adjourned until today.

 

I will post an update tonight for today.

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Day 9 of the trial started with Andre van Breda, Martin's brother, on the witness stand.

 

Andre testifies to how close-knit his family is, his brothers and him. He also speaks of Martin's achievements and you can see how proud he is of all that Martin achieved. In his own words "Martin was an exceptional man" one of great integrity. His business was thriving, he didn't have an enemy in the world.

 

The family moved to Australia in 2005 and the whole family was in South Africa again by January 2014. The family made the move back to South Africa as Teresa was unhappy in Australia and wanted to be near her family.

 

Andre said he was at the De Zalze house after the murders with his twin brother, their wives, Henri, and two of Henri's aunts from his mother's side. [it seems that Marli was also there to collect some of her personal things before leaving with James (a school friend's whose parents she was staying with)]

 

Andre says that nothing was missing from the house.

 

Advocate Botha said that Henri said he didn't go into the house that day, that he didn't want to go in.

Andre said that they were in the house, they stood in the kitchen. He can't recall if Henri went into the rooms but he was in the kitchen where he wanted an exotic Japanese whisky he had bought his father and he further pointed out which wines he wanted.

 

Andre said that they visited the house twice. In one of these visits, Henri was inside the house. Botha said that Henri only wanted the whisky for sentimental value. Andre said that he accepts that.

 

Andre then further insists his brother had no enemies, nor did Teresa that he knew of. He said that all the children were well-mannered, well-educated and he doesn't think ever disappointed their parents.

 

The next witness on the stand is Precious Munyongani. She worked for the household from October 2014 to January 2015, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Someone else worked on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

 

Precious said that she did the washing, ironing and cleaning. To gain entry into the estate she used an access card and thumbprint. She got to the house from the gate with a taxi. She would enter via the side gate where the key would hang on a string and then through the back door which was left unlocked.

 

She says that the family had a dog, named Sasha who would normally sleep where Henri slept and otherwise roam freely. The dog didn't bark a lot.

 

She worked on Monday the 26th from 8.25 until 15.45. She said that she didn't clean one of the bathrooms upstairs and also not Henri's room as she didn't have time for it.

 

Teresa, Rudi and Henri were there but since they spoke in Afrikaans she could not understand them. She said that she had never witnessed an incident where they fought with each other.

 

When shown the axe, she confirms that it is the same that is always kept on a shelf in the scullery. She is also shown a picture of the knife and said that this matches the knives that were in the kitchen.

 

When asked about the paper that was stuck on the fridge, she says that these were the emergency numbers should anything happen at the house. When shown Henri's cigarettes she said that she had never seen him smoke while his parents were there and that she was the only one who smoked.

 

When cross-examined by Advocate Combrink she said that she can't say that that is the exact axe but it is the same type of axe. She told the police that it was the same because it had the same sticker on the handle.

 

Judge Desai said that he finds the line of questioning torturous as it is the same questions over and over. Combrink said that he is just trying to establish whether it is the axe that was there or if it was brought from the outside.

 

Precious said that her statement was taken in English and not read back to her, she is not fluent in English but Shona. She testified with an interpreter.

 

Bianca van der Westhuizen is next to testify. She and Henri met at a braai in 2014 and she last saw him the weekend before the murders. She said that they weren't dating but had begun spending time together. She then described the family as "normal".

 

She sent Henri a WhatsApp message on the evening of 26 January. And she only saw him the Tuesday, the 27th (the murders happened in the early hours of the 27th) when they went to the police station together. She didn't get any messages during the night because she puts her phone on aeroplane mode.

 

Henri phoned her the 27th at 4.24 and again at 7.20, none of which she answered with her phone on aeroplane mode.

 

In her first period she received the messages from earlier about an emergency of some sort and when she texted him and tried to phone him, there was no answer. She cried on the witness stand and said that Henri and Marli seemed close.

 

Court was adjourned and will continue tomorrow.

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Would be interesting to hear what else this Bianca person can share, more importantly what kind of person she is and her "habits"

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Would be interesting to hear what else this Bianca person can share, more importantly what kind of person she is and her "habits"

 

"habits" I like that. I am wondering myself when that will be brought up in court.

 

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