Perth axe attack: The reason why Henri van Breda murdered his family revealed

The truth finally comes to light.
Getty Images

Last month a South African court found Henri van Bred, a 32 year old Perth student, guilty of murdering his mother, father and brother, as well as the attempted murder of his sister.

And now, 60 Minutes is set to reveal some of the biggest mysteries surrounding the gruesome event that saw Henri, then 20, brutally murder his family with an axe in 2015.

In June, South African judge Siraj Desai described the attacks 
“savage and continuous”, and sentenced van Breda to life in prison.

Henri van Breda in court
Henri van Breda in court (Credit: Getty Images)

However, despite the sentencing, many questions surrounding the murder still remain unanswered and van Breda has never revealed a motive for the murders, instead maintain that a mystery attacker broke in and killed his family, including his parents, Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55, and brother, Rudi, 22.

His sister Marli, then 16, suffered a cracked skull and a severed jugular in the attack, which left her with severe head injuries and retrograde amnesia—she does not recall the rampage.

Henri, who grew up in Perth and was on a gap year from his University of Melbourne physics degree at the time of the murders attracted suspicion from police right from the start after claiming on the night of the murders he fought off a masked man who had slaughtered his family.

Henri and girlfriend
Henri and girlfriend Danielle Janse van Rensburg (Credit: Getty Images)

Attending police officer Sergeant Adrian Kleynhans “found no sign of forced entry at the home,” he told the court. “It didn’t fit in with my experience of a crime scene.”

Further, the doctor who examined Henri told investigators he suspected the scratches and bruises on his arms were self-inflicted.

At 4.24 AM, Henri made a call to his then-girlfriend, Bianca, but it went unanswered, a summery of the facts presented in court revealed.

Three minutes
 later he searched for emergency numbers using Google, but it wasn’t until 7.12 AM that he made the emergency call.
 Henri says he fell unconscious during this time, then had
 a “calming” smoke before
 calling authorities.

Henri was found at the scene “dressed in a pair of sleep shorts and white socks,” read a court document. “A DNA analysis of blood found on the accused and on his clothing matches the DNA of the three deceased.”

60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes is set to speak with Henri’s current girlfriend Danielle Janse van Rensburg – whom he met after the murders – and his aunt Leenta Nell, who both maintain his innocence.

This article originally appeared on New Idea.

Related stories