Family stand by murderer Henri van Breda 'heart and soul'

But victim's brother says they accept the court's decision

27 May 2018 - 00:00 By TANYA FARBER

"We are with Henri heart and soul, and although we accept the court's decision, we do not agree with it."
So says Andre van Breda, who watched in silence on Monday as his sullen-faced nephew Henri van Breda was convicted of murdering his father, Martin (Andre's younger brother), mother, Teresa, and brother, Rudi.
"I speak only for the Van Breda side of the family," Andre told the Sunday Times, "and we will attend the sentencing in June. We will support Henri in the future in whatever way we can."We will visit him when suitable in jail, and we have not written him off. He stays family and we will treat him as such as we did in the past."
Andre said the past week had been "heartbreaking for the whole family", that it was a "highly emotional time" and that they "pray for Henri every night".
While public opinion this week lauded Judge Siraj Desai for his finding in the High Court in Cape Town, another person to echo the sadness of Andre van Breda was Danielle Janse van Rensburg, who wept in court after arriving clutching boyfriend Henri's hand.
"We need closure, and after sentencing on June 5 we will get full closure," said Andre. "We are glad we have reached the end of this tragedy, even though we do not agree with the court's decision."He declined to say whether the family's support for his nephew would include financial backing for a possible appeal.
Van Breda's murder convictions mean he cannot benefit from the family estate - the law dictates that "the bloody hand inherits nothing" - but money in trusts could still be made available to him if the trustees agree.
He likely drained millions of rands from the family trust in a bid to stay out of prison. The trustees possibly then closed the taps when a guilty conviction looked likely.
He was also convicted of attempting to murder his sister, Marli, now 19 and the sole heir of the reputed R200-million family fortune.
Lorinda van Niekerk, the instructing attorney in the case, told the Sunday Times this week: "I don't know what the status is of any of the estates." She added that she would not "discuss Henri's financial circumstances with the media".
Lawyer Barry Varkel, an expert in estates who has been following the trial and noting similar patterns with the Oscar Pistorius trial, told the Sunday Times the Van Bredas' estates would probably take several years to wind up as they involved business interests in South Africa and Australia.
Winding up the estate in terms of inheritance was likely to have been halted when Henri was arrested, he said.
"The trustees of the family trusts probably funded a considerable amount of money for legal fees."The 66 days in court alone likely cost R50,000 per day," said Varkel.
"But when it became clear the trial wasn't going well and a conviction seemed likely, the trustees would have started closing the taps as they have a fiduciary duty to the rest of the estate."
Varkel said he had seen the same pattern during the Pistorius trial, when the athlete's uncle Arnold "got tired of haemorrhaging money" in legal fees.
In 2011, Martin van Breda sold a private school enterprise in Pretoria to Curro Holdings for R185-million.
The house the family left behind on the Sunshine Coast in Australia shortly before the murders was on the market for three months and then sold for A$2.35-million (about R22-million).
Martin had also owned the Australian subsidiary of property group Engel and Völkers, and Netstar, which he sold to Altech.

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