He threw millions from the family trust at the problem, soaked up countless hours in the High Court in Cape Town and exhausted Judge Siraj Desai, who said he “wanted to move on with his life” – but triple-murder convict, Henri van Breda, has finally reached a legal cul-de-sac.
His petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein failed this week, just as it had failed in the High Court where he was convicted and sentenced earlier this year.
He had been found guilty of axing three family members to death and leaving one for dead at their luxury home in a gated community in Stellenbosch. He was given three life sentences and an additional 15 years, all to be served concurrently.
He then applied to the High Court for leave to appeal both his conviction and sentence. Desai said that “out of kindness” he would consider it, but arrived at court the following week with a firm answer in the negative.
Desai had told him: “Put simply‚ the evidence fits together like a mosaic – one rarely gets a case so strong.”
He added that a major piece of the puzzle were the self-inflicted wounds found on Van Breda’s body.
It was after this that he petitioned the Supreme Court.
His advocate Piet Botha had argued that evidence against Van Breda was purely circumstantial and the state had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had committed murder.
The only living witness to the murders is his sister Marli, but she has retrograde amnesia and is unlikely to ever recall what happened.
The failed Supreme Court petition leaves Van Breda with no other recourse but to head to the Constitutional Court, but his legal team was not yet in a position to say whether it would take this route.