As predicted yesterday, the order of the day at Day 8 of the Van Breda triple murder trial was security.

The case is beginning to show greater signs of development, however, through this afternoon’s introduction of a new witness – a paramedic who was first on scene that fateful night at De Zalze, describing it as “the worst he had come across in 39 years”.

Before Day 7’s adjournment, it was Del Zalze Estate Security Manager Marcia Rossouw in the stand, with today’s continuation beginning with Adv. Botha putting several conflicting versions to Rossouw which he intends leading into evidence later on in the trial.

  1. The defence will look to poke holes in Rossouw’s version, including that the “alarm on” which went off 3 times that night would have in fact showed up on the operator’s screen that should have alerted patrol officers. The defence expert will tell the court that the security system cannot differentiate between different types of alarms.
  2. Several vehicles arrived at the estate and left the estate that night but were not logged in the report on access control which Rossouw relied on to conclude that nothing suspect occurred that evening. If the system failed to report on these what else did it fail to report on?
  3. Video footage of guards walking around areas where bloodhound patrols would be clocked seem to be inconsistent with the times that they were actually clocked.
  4. Advocate Botha told the court that it would be possible for intruders to remove the stones from the fence fixed with temporary bricks, and then slide through it on their stomachs in a gap between the ground and the first electric wire, just 25cm from the ground.

Judge Desai will have to weigh up the most likely version to accept when we hear from the defence experts. Then, it’s up to the evidence.

If evidence at the crime scene supports the state’s version that only the Van Breda family members were in the house that night, then the perimeter security evidence becomes largely irrelevant. On the other hand, if evidence at the scene supports the defence version that there was an intruder in the home, then the evidence on perimeter security will be considered in that light.

For now, Judge Desai does seem hesitant to accept the idea that two intruders could get into the estate, attack and kill 3 members of the Van Breda family and leave the estate without being detected by any security measure of the estate, of which there are plenty in place.

The sobering testimony of Christian Johannes Koegelenberg came into evidence this afternoon.

Koegelenberg told the court that in his 39 years in emergency medical services, the murder scene he attended to that morning was the worst case he had ever come across. He was noticeably upset when he was shown the scene photographs in court, and testified he recognized Henri as the “victim” who sat outside the front door of the house.

In order to save Marli’s life, Koegelenberg revealed that they had to move the victims’ bodies. When moving the victims, he said that it caused blood to go down the stairs, and that his and his colleague’s footsteps were the ones found bloodied on the staircase that day. Koegelenberg also testified that blue gloves used by the paramedics and a medical bag, left behind in the rush to save Marli’s life, were in scene photographs.

Koegelenberg also testified Henri was with a dog when he arrived on the scene. It is the first time a dog has been mentioned, and Koegelenberg said he did not know where the dog came from. Advocate Botha told the court that the dog did not belong to Henri.

Advocate Botha did not put any conflicting versions to Koegelenberg so we can accept Koegelenberg’s evidence in its entirety.

The first police officer on the scene, Kleynhans, got dragged back into proceedings today when video footage of the police arriving at the entrance gate that morning showed that they were given access to the estate almost immediately.

Kleynhans had told the court that it took them a very long time to get past security when they arrived at the estate. Kleynhans actually gave evidence that they first arrived at the incorrect gate, I think this is probably where the confusion came in as I am sure this will be dealt with in argument. Estate security witness Marcia Rossouw confirmed that in an emergency the estate security would waive the requirement to sign the visitor’s book.

See you tomorrow for updates from day 9 of the Van Breda murder trial.


Photography K-Leigh Siebritz / HM Images

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