Henri van Breda’s axe at the DeZalze crime scene – what’s wrong with this picture?

Okay armchair detectives – here’s a chance to prove your worth. In the clip below is an instrumental and obvious clue that should pop up out of the crime scene and wave a giant red flag. There’s something about this clue that’s an immediate sign that the suspect on scene might not be all that he appears.

Watch the clip and see if you can figure it out. Watch it a few times.

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Figured it out?

If not, here’s a last chance. It’s this frame right here. Notice anything wrong about it?

C’mon, let’s see those true crime muscles flexing…

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What it is is the fact that there’s no blood around the axe. Not around the handle, and not around the axe head. You might argue that actually there is a little smudge of blood under the blade, or a smear near the bottom part of the handle. If so, you’re missing the point.

Consider a scenario where the axe is used [as it was] to bludgeon to death 4 people one by one. By the time Henri was done, not only the axe, but Henri himself would be dripping – showered – in the warm blood of his victims. The wooden handle and metal blade would have been doused several times with brain matter, cerebral fluid and blood, and right at the end, blood gushing out of Marli’s neck.

When Henri dropped the axe, it should have left a thick trail of blood drops behind and around it. The axe itself should be covered in scarlet blood, almost as if its been painted from end to end.

Instead, the axe looks fairly innocent here. In fact, it may take a while to figure out [or even prove] that the axe was the murder weapon. That’s the problem with this picture. Someone has wiped it clean to minimise what it did, and what was on it. On the whole staircase, Henri seems to have found one of the few spots where there is no blood.

You could argue that Henri’s version about the axe being thrown and embedding in the wall caused the blood on it to miraculously float off. If it was flung, then there would be a big red blood spatter splodge where it impacts the wall, and there’d still be big drops of blood surrounding the still wet axe, but there isn’t.

Indefensible is available on Amazon at this link.

 

Van Breda on 60 Minutes: Screengrabs of the Crime Scene

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I reached out to a few friends in Australia to ask them to watch the show. 60 Minutes also put some footage on their Facebook page [see links below].

This is the first time the South African public have had access to the crime scene footage. Personally I was surprised by how pink the blood appears in the footage. When I saw the previews, my photographer’s eye wondered whether this was a staged crime scene meant to resemble the real one, for drammatic purposes. But it’s the real thing.

When I sat in court Sergeant Apollis [who is interviewed by 60 Minutes] scrolled through the crime scene images on his laptop. I saw these images over his shoulder from about 2 metres away. From where I was sitting I was surprised by the lack of blood. Although the boy’s bedroom is very bloody, the staircase isn’t nearly as slick as I imagined it, and certainly doesn’t conjure the paramedic’s description of a “waterfall of blood” coming down the stairs.

The amount of contaminated boot-prints on the scene is also shocking, but it goes to show, if the cops left bloodied shoe-prints everywhere, why wouldn’t Henri leave any footprints, even if he was innocent?

The brown shoes at the bottom of the stairs had blood on them too. When Henri was asked to explain how the blood landed on his shoes, he said they may have dripped off the stairs. From the images this hardly seems possible.

The blood on the axe also looks very pink compared to some of crime scene images of the axe that have been released.

In terms of Danielle, Henri’s girlfriend, I can’t say I’m surprised to hear her punting the epilepsy narrative. In court one senses this was purposefully held back in order to give it a proper go round in an appeal. If that’s the best the defence case has going for it, they’re in deep trouble.

Danielle’s rebuff of the defensive wounds wasn’t very convincing either.

The aunt, Leenta Nel whose sister was murdered in the attack, has been an apologist for her nephew since day one. Nel basically says it all when she says “I can’t think”. She says “it’s too terrible to contemplate” and refers to there being “no motive in her mind”. That’s the problem though, isn’t it? It’s the failure to think about it, also because you won’t think about it. And since you won’t think, can’t think, you solve the problem by inventing an easy solution that makes even less sense. He’s not guilty. But if he’s not guilty, someone else is. What’s the explanation for that? There isn’t one, but who cares.

The “no motive” narrative was a weakness of the state’s case, and also a weakness of the media narrative. The Judge raised this as a key problem with the trial narrative. That’s why in my 5 part series, I focused entirely on this apparently unknown and supposedly inexplicable aspect. It’s hardly unknown or unknowable when one begins to dig into Henri’s identity, his personality, his backstory, and the family dynamics. It helps to think in order to understand. Of course, money can muddle the mind, especially when one’s “support” might be rewarded, where one’s failure to think critically can make you rich.

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