The police and prosecution welcomed the three life sentences handed down to axe murderer Henri van Breda on Thursday.
Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula congratulated detectives who investigated the Van Breda killings‚ particularly for preserving the crime scene at the family’s home at De Zalze‚ in Stellenbosch.
“The investigation … was protracted due to a variety of factors. The case‚ in the main‚ relied on circumstantial evidence that saw the crime scene secured for 30 days‚ DNA analysed and the only surviving victim [Marli van Breda] taking long to recover‚” said Jula.
“The SAPS hopes the sentence will also boost the morale of police officials who on a daily basis venture out in an effort to ensure communities are safe.”
Eric Ntabazalila‚ speaking on behalf of the National Prosecuting Authority outside the High Court in Cape Town‚ said the NPA was “happy and satisfied” with the three life sentences Judge Siraj Desai imposed on Van Breda for the murders of his parents‚ Martin and Teresa‚ and his brother Rudi.
He said he was also “glad” that Van Breda received 15 years for attempting to murder his sister‚ Marli‚ and 12 months for obstructing justice.
“It sends out a strong message‚” said Ntabazalila. “These are serious and violent crimes committed against one’s family members.”
Cornelius de Swart‚ who watched proceedings from the public gallery‚ said he was “not surprised at the harsh sentences” and felt Van Breda “deserved what he got” because “his family really loved him and didn’t expect that to happen”.
As a parent‚ it made him sad to think of any family member sitting behind bars for so long. “But it’s even sadder to think of what the family went through that morning.”
TimesLIVE reader David Zuckerberg reacted to Van Breda’s sentencing by saying: “Zero remorse‚ angry‚ maintains his innocence and blames an imaginary black man for the murders.
“Why are the Van Breda family still supporting him by paying for lawyers to appeal his sentencing? Don’t they think about Rudi who had parts of his brain hanging out of his skull‚ gurgling in his own blood for over two hours?”
Advocate Jackie Nagtegaal‚ of Law for All‚ said Desai would have used three principles to determine the correct sentence.
“These principles are collectively known as the Triad of Zinn and include the gravity of the offence‚ the circumstances of the offender and public interest.”
Danielle Janse van Rensburg‚ Van Breda’s girlfriend‚ who has stood by him throughout the trial‚ did not speak to the media but looked extremely drawn after sentence was passed.
Van Breda‚ who was grim-faced during the proceedings on Thursday‚ only broke his sullen stance to turn and smile at Janse van Rensburg before Desai read out his statement.
On June 27‚ Van Breda’s advocate Piet Botha will hear whether his client has leave to appeal against his convictions and sentences.
By: Tanya Farber
Source: TMG Digital.