Son who slaughtered rich S.African family with axe handed 3 life terms

Henri van Breda sits in the dock during the high-profile trial. On Thursday, he was handed three life sentences for killing his parents and brother and a 15-year term for the attempted murder of his sister (file picture). By RODGER BOSCH (AFP)

A young South African man convicted of slaying his wealthy parents and brother and maiming his sister in a frenzied axe attack was handed three life sentences on Thursday.

“Each murderous attack on a family member is a severe crime and warrants the severest punishment,” judge Siraj Desai told the packed Western Cape High Court in Cape Town after the headline-making trial.

Henri Van Breda, 23, was also jailed for 15 years for the attempted murder of his sister.

Van Breda, who wore a light grey suit, blue shirt and patterned tie, remained emotionless as the sentence was handed down. He was led away by court officers as Van Breda’s girlfriend watched on from the public gallery.

He had denied murdering his 21-year-old brother Rudi and parents Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55, and leaving his sister Marli struggling with near-fatal injuries to her head, neck and throat after the bloody attack in January 2015.

Van Breda was convicted of three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and one of obstructing justice on May 21 with the judge describing the verdict as “inescapable”.

Defence advocate Pieter Botha had called for a “merciful” sentencing, arguing that Van Breda was a first-time offender who was “barely 20” when he killed his family.

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