12 September 2017

South Africa: Van Breda - Blood Spatter, Stains Tell a Different Story

Photo: Facebook
Martin and Teresa van Breda with their daughter, Marli, 16, and sons, Henri, 20, left, and Rudi, 22, on a family holiday posted on Facebook (file photo).

Blood spatter and blood stains do not support triple murder accused Henri Van Breda's version of what happened the day his parents and brother were bludgeoned to death, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

Blood stain pattern analyst Captain Marius Joubert told Judge Siraj Desai that the blood stains and patterns do not correlate with the 22-year-old's sequence of events as given in his police statement. Joubert would, however, not rule out the possibility of staging, he said.

While the seasoned crime scene investigator explained what he considered inconsistencies in Henri's story, Henri furiously scribbled notes.

In Henri's version of events, he alleged that an intruder wearing a balaclava, gloves and dark clothes was behind the attack, and that he had heard other voices of people speaking Afrikaans in their De Zalze Estate home in January 2015.

Henri claimed that, after a fight with the axe-wielding intruder who was also armed with a knife, the man had escaped.

Joubert found this story unlikely.

Family attacked within short period

He said blood stains and patterns were found in the bathroom and shower, areas which had not been entered by the supposed intruder according to Henri's statement. The evidence indicates that bloody objects had been cleaned or washed in the shower, and macroscopic traces of the blood had been detected through the use of chemicals.

Henri's claim of confronting and chasing the suspect, as well as falling and fainting on the staircase was also considered unlikely. Joubert said this version was inconsistent with the blood flow patterns on his chest and left arm, which suggest minimal to no movement of the upper chest and left arm after he sustained the injuries.

The investigator also said it was improbable that Henri's positioning in the bedroom at the time of the attack was accurate. The grey shorts and white socks he had been wearing at the time indicate that he had been in close proximity to Rudi, Martin and Teresa at the time of the attack.

Henri claimed when his brother and father had been attacked, he had been in the bathroom doorway, and while he had apparently been in the bedroom his mother was attacked in the passageway.

Joubert told the court he was of the opinion that the family had been attacked within a short period and that time had passed before Rudi's body was moved or dragged from the bed to where it had eventually been found. There was no indication that Rudi had been mobile after sustaining his injuries, he pointed out.

Spatter and non-spatter blood stains

The grey duvet had been removed from Henri's bed after the attack, according to the interruption of the blood spatter, and placed or thrown next to Rudi.

The pattern created by Henri allegedly throwing the axe at the fleeing attacker was also unconvincing as the result showed the object was under the control of the handler, Joubert found.

He said the instrument had been in motion and should have released spatter from the axe resulting in cast off patterns higher on the surrounding wall.

Henri's claim of being attacked with the knife by the supposed laughing intruder was also inconsistent with the bloodstain pattern analysis, Joubert said.

The knife had been found partially under Rudi's bed, with spatter and non-spatter blood stains visible, he explained.

Two of the stains were created after the knife was positioned as it was found, and it had been exposed to "multiple blood shedding events", Joubert found.

Van Breda has pleaded not guilty to axing his parents and brother to death, seriously injuring his sister Marli, and defeating the ends of justice.

The trial resumes on Wednesday.

Source: News24

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