Sat Sep 23 00:26:19 CAT 2017

DNA of Henri van Breda's mother and brother found on his hand

By Tanya Farber | 2017-08-07 13:46:34.0

Henri van Breda at the start of Day 6 of his murder trial. Picture Credit: Esa Alexander

Nail scrapings taken from the left hand of triple-axe murder accused Henri van Breda show DNA from his mother‚ Teresa van Breda‚ and his brother‚ Rudi.

The DNA of the two deceased was also found on Henri’s shorts‚ and Henri’s own DNA was found on the handle of the axe.

And‚ in a curve ball that is yet to be explored before court‚ Rudi’s DNA was also found on a knife.

The knife‚ so far‚ has featured as a weapon that was allegedly only touched by Henri van Breda (from the State’s side) and also wielded by a man in a balaclava (according to the defence).                                

This new information came to light on Monday as the gruelling trial of a bloody murder on the luxury De Zalze estate in Stellenbosch in January 2015 resumed after a six-week hiatus.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sharlene Otto‚ a chief forensic analyst who has been with SAPS for 24 years‚ took the court through a detailed report of whose DNA was found where at the crime scene.

Altogether‚ she said‚ over 200 exhibits had been collected from the house for analysis.

She explained how Henri’s DNA was found on cigarette butts at the crime scene‚ and how Rudi’s DNA was also found under the nails of their father‚ Martin van Breda‚ who also died in the horror attack.

Evidence led so far on Martin and Rudi showed that the two men were the first to die. Before the six-week break‚ the state alleged that Martin was wacked from behind with the axe while he leaned over his son who was gurgling in agony after being attacked.

The defence‚ however‚ had argued that Martin had rugby-tackled the alleged attacker who had broken into the house on the luxury estate.

Before taking the court through her findings‚ Otto began with a detailed description how DNA is collected and carefully analysed.

“Because we deal with criminal cases‚ we have to follow a very strict and stringent quality control. We are guided by international standards. For every test we do‚ we make use of a negative and positive control‚” she explained.

She said that certain areas of the DNA molecule are characterised by short pieces of DNA which are repeated throughout a person’s body‚ and that these are the ones of most use.

In all cases‚ the exhibits are “received in a sealed condition and packaged correctly – and only then analysis will proceed”.

She said that all analysts who play a role in the highly stringent four-stage process are “proficient professionals in their own right” and that she is herself the “end user – the person who finally establishes the facts”.

The case continues after lunch.