A 22-year-old South African man pleaded not guilty in a Cape Town court on Monday to murdering three members of his family in their luxury home in Cape Town in January 2015, saying the crime was committed by a laughing man with an axe.
Henri van Breda, who handed himself over the police in September last year, is accused of murdering his father Martin, 54, a wealthy businessman, his mother Teresa, 55, and older brother Rudi, 22, in a frenzied early morning axe attack in the heart of South Africa’s western Cape vineyard area on January 27 of that year.
The family had recently returned to South Africa after emigrating to Perth in 2006.
His younger sister Marli, who was 16 at the time of the attack, was left for dead on a balcony. She survived, despite a cut to her jugular vein and severe head injuries.
Mr van Breda entered a plea of not guilty to three counts of murder, one of attempted murder, and one of defeating the ends of justice before Judge Siraj Desai in the Western Cape High Court.
In his plea explanation, read to the court record by his lawyer Pieter Botha, Mr van Breda said that he was watching an animated show after his family had gone to bed for the night.
He later went to the toilet and heard loud banging sounds. He opened the door and saw a silhouette attacking his brother with an axe.