An expert in forensic pathology and clinical forensics yesterday told the Western Cape High Court that there was a “strong contrast” in the wounds sustained by Van Breda and the rest of his family.
Dr Marianne Tiemensa testified that the Van Breda family members had had extensive “chop wounds”, while Henri’s were very minor and just broke the skin, except for one that was slightly deeper.
She said his wounds were not inflicted with the same intent and force, and he had no defensive injuries.
They were also on his arms and chest, and were not in sensitive areas, such as the nipples.
“When injuries are being inflicted on you, you expect a person to draw away from the pain. You expect the next wound to be in a different place and at a different angle. These are completely horizontal and parallel. The 22-year-old Henri has pleaded not guilty to three charges of murder, attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.
He claims his dad, mom and older brother were murdered by a laughing, axe-wielding intruder at the family’s larney home on the De Zalze estate in Stellenbosch on January 27, 2015.
His sister, Marli, who was 16 years old at the time, survived the attack.
However, the State alleges that Henri attacked his family, and that his wounds were self-inflicted in a bid to make it look like he too was a victim.
Van Breda claims the intruder fought with him in the bedroom he was sharing with his brother.
He said they had pushed and pulled each other at the foot of the bed.
But Dr Tiemensa said the confrontation, “a matter of life and death”, would have made it “very difficult to execute the very uniform, very similar wounds”.
Van Breda also claims he only contacted emergency services hours after the attack, as he had been unconscious for hours.
But a doctor testified that he had shown no signs of concussion, and Dr Tiemensa said he would have had to lose a litre of blood to faint, and that the blackout would only have lasted a few seconds.