Axe murder accused Henri van Breda released on bail of R100‚000

14 June 2016 - 14:20 By TMG Digital

Henri van Breda‚ 21‚ wore a black coat and a smile when he arrived at the Stellenbosch Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday to face charges related to the brutal axe murders of his mother‚ father and brother at their upmarket home on a golf estate in the Cape Winelands.

SLAIN: The Van Breda family, from left to right: survivors Henri and Marli, and next to them Rudi, Teresa and Martin, who died in the axe attack. File photo
SLAIN: The Van Breda family, from left to right: survivors Henri and Marli, and next to them Rudi, Teresa and Martin, who died in the axe attack. File photo
Image: Supplied

He appeared calm and exchanged a smile with a woman in the gallery sitting next to his uncle‚ André du Toit.

His lawyer Lorinda van Niekerk and Advocate Pieter Botha told the court that he had handed himself over to police on Monday after they had learnt that he was going to be arrested.


He is facing three charges of murder and one of attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.


Wealthy businessman Martin van Breda‚ his wife Teresa and son Rudi were killed in the attack in the early hours of January 27‚ 2015.

The couple’s daughter Marli‚ 17‚ was severely injured during the attack and spent months recovering in hospital and still suffers from retrograde amnesia‚ meaning that she cannot recall details about the attack.

Marli's legal representative‚ Louise Buikman‚ told the Sunday Times in November that the siblings – who are beneficiaries of a substantial estate - “see each other regularly”. At the time‚ Van Breda family spokesman Ben Rootman said: "The family is happy with Buikman's assessment that Marli and Henri see each other regularly. They feel that it is beneficial to the recovery process for Marli."

Buikman told News24 on Tuesday that Marli was aware that her brother had been arrested.

"The news is understandably very distressing to Marli‚" she said.

State prosecutors Susan Galloway and Megan Blows agreed with the defence team that he pay bail of R100‚000 and be released under conditions that include having to report to his local police station and not being allowed to leave the province.

Magistrate Lungelo Jumba granted bail.

The case will be heard again in the Cape Town High Court on September 9.

Van Breda had to wait his turn in court on Tuesday as an assortment of characters‚ including a man who appeared to be wearing a dress‚ appeared in the dock for crimes such as assault‚ theft and crimen injuria.

Police spokesman Andre Traut said an ongoing investigation into the incident at the De Zalze estate last year led to the arrest of a 21-year-old suspect who “handed himself over to the Stellenbosch police" on Monday.

The family had lived in Australia for years and returned to South Africa just months before the murders.

The murder‚ and subsequent developments in the case‚ have made international headlines. The Daily Mail reported on Tuesday that Rudi and Henri had attended private school Scotch College in Perth‚ Western Australia.

“The boys later attended Melbourne University‚ while Marli was a student at the Presbyterian Ladies College. The family have also lived in Queensland where Martin worked for global firm Engel and Volkers‚ which sells real estate and luxury yachts and boats to wealthy clients‚” said the Daily Mail.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Karen Sadler‚ whose daughter went to Presbyterian Ladies College in Perth with Marli for about seven years‚ described the Van Breda family as "a beautiful‚ gorgeous family and very close".

Timeline of the case: 

- TMG Digital/Cape Town Bureau