Was Martin van Breda really surprised‚ or was he lunging at attacker?


Was Martin van Breda really surprised‚ or was he lunging at attacker?

Tanya Farber | 2017-05-25 16:21:49.0

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 by: Supplied

Was he caught off guard as his son brutally attacked him with an axe? Or was he actually lunging towards an intruder inside the family home‚ trying to protect his family from the blows of the axe?

Martin van Breda‚ who died in the gruesome attack on a family at the luxury De Zalze estate in January 2015‚ was struck from behind – both on the head and in the back. At the High Court in Cape Town on Thursday‚ two very different stories emerged on how this might have happened.

Martin’s youngest son‚ Henri‚ is on trial for his murder and that of his wife Teresa and son Rudi. Henri is also facing a charge for the attempted murder of his sister Marli.

In the morning‚ forensic pathologist Dr Daphne Anthony‚ who conducted the post-mortems‚ said that‚ judging from the nature and location of his injuries‚ Martin had likely been “taken by surprise” in the fatal axe attack‚ and had had his back to his attacker. He showed no signs of defensive wounds but did receive a blow to his back.

In the afternoon‚ however‚ while cross-examining Anthony‚ defence counsel Piet Botha described a different scene altogether‚ and asked Anthony‚ “Might it not have been like a rugby tackle from the front rather than a surprise attack from the back?”

Using murder accused Henri’s plea statement‚ he read out‚ “The bedroom lights were suddenly switched on [after brother Rudi had been attacked] and my dad came into my room … at this stage the attack was still going on ….. the attacker wore gloves and a balaclava …. My dad moved onto the bed and tried to get between the attacker and Rudi (who was still lying on a bed). He [my dad] was attacked as he lunged towards the attacker … then his body lay limp on the bed.”

Botha put it to the witness that‚ “The father was trying to get across the bed towards the attacker‚ fell down‚ and received further blows”.

He asked if this was possible‚ to which she replied‚ “Yes‚ that is possible.”

This came after details in the morning that Rudi was attacked while lying on his side in bed‚ mother Teresa van Breda likely fell on her face after she tried to defend herself from the blows of an axe but was then hit while lying on the ground‚ and younger sister Marli had fought tooth and nail to fend off her attacker.

She survived the ordeal‚ is said to have retrograde amnesia‚ and might or might not testify in the trial.

TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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