Was a second axe used in Van Breda murders?
Tanya Farber | 2017-06-13 16:44:42.0
Henri van Breda in the third week of his trial at the High Court in Cape Town.
Image by: Esa Alexander
The axe is small‚ with a wooden handle‚ and a thick stripe of dark green on its head.
It was found on the staircase landing of the Van Breda family home in Stellenbosch‚ covered in blood‚ and domestic worker Precious Munyongani recognised it as the one she always saw in the scullery when getting the ironing board.
The axe‚ which has taken centre stage in the Henri van Breda triple murder trial and has been held by different witnesses in the stand‚ appears in the file of evidence and a video of the crime scene where Van Breda’s parents and brother were axed to death at their De Zalze home in 2015.
But in the High Court in Cape Town on Tuesday‚ Matthys Combrink‚ on the defence team‚ argued that it might have been only one of the axes used in the attacks. There might have been a second axe that was not left on the scene‚ he said.
Ballistics expert Captain Candice Brown‚ for the state‚ took the court through various impact marks she had analysed at the luxury home the day after the murders.
But Combrink argued: “You don’t know if this axe made any of those marks.”
Judge Siraj Desai said there had not been indication of another axe‚ and Combrink said there was evidence that Marli’s ex boyfriend‚ James Reade-Jahn‚ could not identify it as the axe he had seen at the house‚ and that this amounted to “evidence that there was another axe”.
He also argued earlier in the day against Brown’s assertion that the description in Van Breda’s plea statement about him throwing the axe down the stairs at an alleged attacked was “possible but highly unlikely”.
Brown had gone through various aspects of a mark on the wall claimed by Combrink to result from the axe being thrown. She had included that due to its structure‚ there was only a “25% chance of it hitting the wall with the blade”.
Combrink replied those were high odds. “If I went to the casino with my odds that high‚ I would be a very happy man‚” he told Brown‚ adding that his own expert had thrown an axe of that structure against the wall and had seen it hit the wall with the blade.
Brown‚ however‚ said she stood by her statement based on all the evidence before her that it was “possible but highly unlikely”.
The case has been postponed to August 7.