Former Perth student Henri van Breda, 23, has been found guilty of the 2015 murders of his parents, Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55, and brother, Rudi, 22.
He was also found guilty of the attempted murder of his sister Marli, then 16, who suffered head injuries in the attack at the family home in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
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, will be sentenced at a later date.
From the start, police were suspicious of Henri, who claimed on the night he fought off a masked man who had slaughtered his family.
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.
A summary of the facts presented to the court revealed that “raised voices” were heard coming from the home on the evening of the attack.
At 4.24 AM, Henri made a call to his then-girlfriend, Bianca, but it went unanswered.
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.”
Henri’s younger sister, Marli, 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.
“In some ways, one hopes she will never remember,” her lawyer, Debbie Wybrow, previously told WHO. “It’s been a very traumatic, heartbreaking time for her.”
Now 19, Marli has undergone “speech therapy, physiotherapy and psycho-logical counselling,” her legal guardian, Louise Buikman, told WHO.
And after Henri’s arrest last year, Buikman said her charge was “distressed,” but wanted justice.
A motive for the murders remains unknown.