Sentencing the 23-year-old to three life terms for the murders of his parents‚ Martin and Teresa‚ and elder brother Rudi‚ Desai told the High Court in Cape Town that Van Breda had offered no explanation for his crimes.
He received a life sentence for each of the murders [father Martin, mother Theresa and brother Rudi], 15 years for attempted murder on his sister Marli and 12 months for defeating the ends of justice.
Henri van Breda appeared impassive on Thursday as a judge sentenced him to three life sentences for the grisly killings in Stellenbosch, a scenic town in a wine-growing area.
Throughout the trial, van Breda maintained his innocence, claiming instead that a laughing, axe-wielding attacker, also armed with a knife, was behind the murders.
He was then led away by court officers as Van Breda's girlfriend watched on from the public gallery. We know from an independent witness that there was a loud argument in the hours before. "They were not committed in a vacuum and there was disgruntlement which was graphically displayed in post-mortem reports". Van Breda was just 20 years old at the time, and Desai said while he lacked maturity he was on the cusp of adulthood.
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"Your future was not bleak‚ in fact it was bright". These attacks show a high level of innate cruelty and disregard for the welfare of your own family.
"I say this with some regret: Although you are relatively young and with no previous convictions‚ your conduct warrants the severest possible penalties".
Van Breda, who wore a light grey suit, blue shirt and patterned tie, remained emotionless as the sentence was handed down.
Defence advocate Pieter Botha has indicated that they will appeal both the conviction and sentence.