The Van Breda trial has reached the tenth day, and today’s proceedings saw two new witnesses take to the stand.

James Reade-Jahn, an ex-boyfriend of Marli Van Breda, was up first in the stand today. His testimony revealed an intriguing WhatsApp message sent to Marli shortly before the murders took place. The message, eerily prophetic, was sent to her from Reade-Jahn following an ‘ugly family fight’ regarding her weight – a fight which had allegedly left both Marli and mother Teresa ‘very upset’.

His message to her read:

“I know I told you everything I always feel or am doing‚ and right now‚ I feel like I want to murder the people that are around you at the moment and I am inches away from losing it with them and breaking down completely but I am being strong to help you.”

The coincidence of the message was an interesting point to hear in the courtroom today, but Reade-Jahn is not a suspect in this crime.

Henri van Breda was visibly emotional today during the questioning of the first witness, crying openly for the first time since the beginning of the trial when Reade-Jahn described Henri’s father and how he prioritised his family.

The second witness questioned today was Nicholas Eugene Stein, a SAPS captain with 28 years of service experience, currently stationed in Stellenbosch.

Stein spoke about a balaclava gang which had been operating around the time of the murders, reportedly a band of four balaclava-wearing intruders who ‘spoke a strange language’ and had burgled around 50-60 homes in the Somerset West/Stellenbosch area in 2014. Items of value were stolen at all of the properties hit by the gang, as well as evidence of beer and wine having been drunk on-site. The DNA evidence left on the bottles and/or glasses by these thirsty criminals led to their eventual conviction in court.

His testimony concluded that this does not fit the modus operandi of the apparent balaclava-wearing assailant who attacked the Van Breda family that night.

The trial has been adjourned until Monday, but look out for Tracey’s video coming out tomorrow about today’s talking points, and then on Saturday an overview about the week that was in the Van Breda trial.

 

Photography K-Leigh Siebritz

Article written by

Tracey Ann Stewart

Legal expert and counsel for Highbury Media