But again‚ this is where subjectivity and afterthought smudge the pages of history. The Menendez brothers went on to accuse their parents of physical and sexual abuse - claims that were fiercely refuted by some relatives and described as highly possible by others.
As Varkel put it: “Jose Menendez built an empire. His sons only knew a life of fancy cars and schools. He called them stupid and useless and ran them down and said they would be nowhere without him spoiling them. He said they don't know what a hard day's work was.” There has been no suggestion whatsoever that Martin van Breda was abusive towards Henri. But what did emerge in court was that he wanted the best from his children and put pressure on them to succeed in the same way he had - even as he provided every privilege that money can buy.
Marli’s ex-boyfriend described a family fight that was sparked by Martin commenting on Marli’s weight gain.
Martin’s older brother Andre testified that he had raised his children to do their best‚ and that Martin himself had been a highly astute and successful businessman as referenced by the vast assets he left in his wake. Could one take this along a trajectory and imagine‚ behind closed gates at 12 Goske Street‚ Martin constantly telling Henri he was a loser and a dropout?
He had returned to South Africa from Australia for a “gap year” in the middle of the academic curriculum. Family friends also told the press he had always seemed a bit of a “black sheep” against the backdrop of the “perfect” Van Breda family as a child.
And‚ especially when contrasted with brother Rudi who was gorgeous‚ sporty and academic‚ who had a winning smile‚ and turned everything he touched to gold‚ could Henri have snapped?
Forensic pathologists testified in court that Rudi was attacked first‚ and the most viciously of all the victims. Was this a pure rage of Biblical proportion that began with one ego-bruised brother killing another who carried a halo? It seems extreme. But then bring drug addiction into the mix. Or psychopathy. Or both. And‚ suddenly‚ you have the makings of a family murder.