On Thursday, Henri Van Breda was finally handed three life sentences and more. After a lengthy trial, justice has been served for the murder of his parents, brother and attempted murder of his sister.
Henri Van Breda was also handed one 15 year sentence for attempted murder and one 12 month sentence for obstructing justice.
The 23-year-old was convicted of three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and one of defeating the ends of justice. In 2015, Van Breda murdered both his parents, his brother as well as attempted to murder his sister.
The attack happened in the early hours of the morning at the family home on an estate in Stellenbosch. Van Breda claimed that a masked intruder had entered the secure estate and began attacking his family.
While no items were stolen, Van Breda claimed he was also attacked by the man and then proceeded to faint. Medical experts testified that Van Breda’s wounds were typical of self-infliction and did not match the events he was describing.
Judge Desai called Van Breda’s claims “nonsensical”.
While reading out his sentencing, Judge Siraj Desai began by listing the factors that play in Van Breda’s favour. Desai highlighted how his age, clean criminal record, epilepsy and immaturity are all things that had to be taken into consideration.
When it came to listing the negatives, things got messy. Desai reminded Van Breda how he killed his family while they were completely unarmed.
A particularly heart-wrenching moment came as Desai told Van Breda that his father’s injuries showed he had tried to protect his younger son. Henri Van Breda’s father was forced to use his own body to protect his one son from the other.
Desai described the attacks as “savage and continuous” and stated that they show an “unprecedented level of cruelty.”