­Today, we heard further evidence from the State’s blood spatter analyst, Captain Joubert, who concluded his analysis of the blood stain patterns on the Van Breda crime scene. Henri van Breda’s version of events that night, based on his statement given to the police, was shown to be inconsistent with Joubert’s blood spatter pattern analysis.

In support of his overall conclusion today, the expert dealt with several important issues – and even appeared to answer my question from yesterday’s piece regarding how close Henri was to the actual blood shedding event. A view on the lack of Marli’s blood DNA was also provided to the court.

Regarding Marli’s lack of DNA, Joubert’s opinion was that it would have related to the type and amount of wounds sustained by Marli which may have influenced impact splatter. This doesn’t seem concrete in my opinion and still a huge question mark for the State’s case.

The report was concluded by Joubert by giving his view on the evidence he had considered compared to the version Henri gave in his police statement – not the plea he has put before court. I also cross-referenced Joubert’s statements with Henri’s statement to the police tonight for this piece (so that you don’t have to). Here’s what Joubert told the court:

Henri said that he opened the bathroom door slightly and this was his position while his father and his brother were attacked.

Joubert declared that this would mean that Henri was exposed to minimal blood shedding and this would not be consistent with the blood spatter on Henri’s shorts or his socks – which both place Henri in close proximity of Rudi and Martin when they were attacked.

Joubert raised the point that Henri did not provide an explanation for the movement of his duvet – but the detail on Joubert’s findings regarding this will follow below. An explanation about the movement of Rudi wasn’t provided in Henri’s statement either, whom the accused says lay on the bed seemingly unconscious or incapacitated.

Martin’s injuries suggest that he had entered the bed from the left hand side and was attacked from the right side at the back of his head, neck and shoulders – another inconsistency in Henri’s statement as pointed out by Joubert.

In Henri’s version, Teresa van Breda was attacked near the bedroom door.

The attack location near the bedroom door is consistent with the spatter identified by Joubert. However, in Henri’s statement, the accused said he did not see the attack on Teresa, and Joubert told court this was inconsistent with the spatter found on Henri’s shorts and socks.

Joubert told the court that as an experienced crime scene investigator, he had performed the luminol test in the shower which revealed that blood had been  washed away – the same blood that contained DNA of Rudi, Henri and Teresa which we know from the DNA analyst who previously testified.

The DNA expert advised the court that this may have only been Rudi and Henri’s blood due to Teresa being their parent and today Joubert agreed with that assessment.

But Joubert also found blood transfer patterns where Rudi’s blood had come into contact with the bathroom floor. These transfer patterns and washed-away blood in the shower was not conclusive with Henri’s version as he had not gone back into the bathroom after the attacks.

In Henri’s version, the axe was thrown at the attacker after the he had fled the room down the stairs.

Joubert’s conclusion was that this is also not consistent with the blood spatter in the area where he believes the axe hit the wall. In his expert opinion, the spatter suggested that the blood pattern was created under the control of the handler. This is consistent with what the ballistics expert testified.

Joubert went further to say that he believed that the axe in the wall was staged by the suspect.

Henri stated that he fainted shortly after the attack and then regained consciousness on the stair case.

Joubert concluded that this was inconsistent with the blood flow patterns observed on Henri’s body, as such a significant movement would have been observed in the flow of the blood patterns from his superficial wounds on his upper body.

For those interested to read more on the detail of Joubert’s findings, albeit complex and requiring a lot of cross referencing, I have summarized his most important points below. This will be good reading to prepare you for the cross examination which Advocate Botha will be conducting tomorrow.

Henri’s Duvet

Two grey duvets were found in Rudi and Henri’s room. Joubert’s opinion is that Henri’s duvet had been exposed to the bloodshedding event (Rudi’s attack) and had been rolled up and placed or thrown on the ground below Henri’s bed, near to where Rudi’s body was found after the blood shedding event.

The blood spatter expert concluded that Henri’s duvet had adhered to the blood on the bedroom floor beneath his bed, which suggests that the blood was still wet when the duvet was placed or thrown on top of the blood on the floor at the bottom of Henri’s bed.

In fact, he said that the majority of the blood stains on the floor had been created before the duvet was thrown or placed on the floor.

Joubert concluded that the knife, which was found partially under Rudi’s bed, had a number of blood stain patterns on it. One stain was a blood clot and the other a drip, which he believed was positioned on the knife when Rudi (with multiple head injuries) was moved off the bed.

He observed a blood pattern on the bottom corner of Henri’s duvet which was similar to the pattern of the knife blade. It’s Joubert’s opinion that the knife blade made contact with Henri’s duvet before arriving at the position it was found on the crime scene – partially beneath Rudi’s bed.

Joubert did not confirm that the duvet movement was staged, but he did point out that there was no explanation given by Henri for the movement of the duvet or of Rudi, nor did he explain the movement of the knife and its exposure to Rudi’s blood.

 Blood from superficial wounds on Henri’s upper body – “insignificant movement”

Joubert observed multiple blood stain patterns on Henri’s upper body from photographs of Henri in the ambulance that morning and told the court:

The flow pattern of blood from superficial wounds on Henri’s chest suggests that Henri’s torso was erect when the wounds were inflicted and that there was insignificant movement of his upper body before the blood dried;

The flow pattern observed from his left arm indicates that there was no significant movement of his left arm when inflicted.

These statements tie in with the evidence of both Dr Tiemensma and Professor Dempers, that the size, shape and regularity of Henri’s wounds are not consistent with an altercation which involved movement as alleged by Henri in his version.

Blood pattern evidence surrounding attack of Rudi

Joubert concluded that Rudi had been lying on his stomach with his head facing toward the adjacent wall and was likely asleep, surprised or unaware of the attack before it happened.  He said that the suspect had been standing next to Rudi’s bed when he was attacked.

He further concluded that the flow of blood from his head wounds suggest that Rudi’s head may only have raised slightly after he was attacked and that there was no significant movement of Rudi’s head during the creation of the flow patterns.

Joubert concluded that the victims were all attacked within a short period of time after which there had been a lapse in time before Rudi was moved or dragged from the bed and handled in front of the two beds in the bedroom. Henri’s duvet was then placed or thrown next to where Rudi lay on the floor.

Blood spatter on the adjacent wall of the house near the security gate

 Joubert stated that one of the drops belonged to Rudi (DNA analysis confirmed this) and he concluded that the two drops traveled through the air, through the blinds and open window and was deposited on the wall outside the house.

Blood spatter evidence of the attack on Martin that night

Joubert told the court that it was his opinion, having considered the evidence, that Martin was attacked while attending to his son, a chilling thought for everyone that was in court. He also said that Martin did not have time to respond to the attack and that the attacker had been standing next to Rudi’s bed when he attacked Martin. He also noted that blood evidence suggests Martin had entered the bed from the left side.

Blood spatter evidence of the attack on Teresa and Marli that night

Joubert told the court that he concluded that both Teresa and Marli had been attacked in the door way of the boy’s room and that Teresa was likely facing her attacker and Marli, due to her defensive wounds, knew of the attack – suggesting that she had time to react to the attack.

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Photography Megan-leigh Heilig / HM Images

 

Article written by

Tracey Ann Stewart

Legal expert and counsel for Highbury Media