Murdered van Breda family was ‘close’, says Coast friend

The van Breda family in happier times.
The van Breda family in happier times. Contributed

MARTIN van Breda moved his family to Australia because of the terrible crime in South Africa.

But when the family returned to their home country temporarily to pursue a business venture, they because the victims of the worst possible crime.

Now Martin van Breda's son, Henri, has handed himself in to a South African police station.

He has been charged with the brutal axe murders of his parents, Martin and Teresa, brother Rudi and the attempted murder of sister, Marli at the family's luxury Stellenbosch home, near Cape Town, in January 2015.

Close business associates, Karl Rademeyer and Paul Freney, spoke of their relief there may be some closure to this tragic case.

They were both employed at Mr van Breda's Engel and Volkers Mooloolaba office and had come to know the entrepreneurial businessman well.

They also both met all the children and described them as "respectful and well-mannered".

"Henri was more quiet, Marli was the vivacious one," Mr Freney said.

Mr Rademeyer said the family was "very close-knit" and it was hard to comprehend the tragedy.

Mr Freney said Mr van Breda often spoke of how he wanted to build his life in Australia and take his family out of South Africa's terrible crime situation.

He opened Engel and Volkers in Mooloolaba in 2009, but closed it two years later because of difficulties with the Global Financial Crisis.

He always planned to return to the Sunshine Coast and kept the family's Buderim home after moving back to South Africa temporarily to pursue a business venture in a private school.

"He left the home and the cars here and everything as he always planned to move back," Mr Rademeyer said.

Mr Rademeyer said Mr van Breda was a "brilliant businessman" who was not short of finances.

"He was very well off," he said.


Karl Rademeyer was friends with Martin van Breda
Karl Rademeyer was friends with Martin van Breda

He had joined the family for dinner a few times and they were "a lovely family".

"They were a close and well-mannered family. The kids were awesome. They had a lot of respect," he said.

"They were very warm."

His sympathies were with Marli, who survived the brutal attack but has suffered amnesia and has never been able to remember what happened on the fateful night.

"I felt most sorry for her as she only has the ... left," Mr Rademeyer said.


Marli van Breda
Marli van Breda Contributed

Mr Freney said he had seen Mr van Breda two months before his death.

"He came here in November and we met for coffee," he said.

He described him as a very well-liked man, and a very good businessman.

"His wife was a lovely lady, a practising Christian, you wouldn't think anything like this would happen to them," Mr Freney said.

"Allegedly that's how they died, but it still has to be proven."


Martin and Teresa van Breda
Martin and Teresa van Breda Contributed

Henri van Breda has been released on $8,800 bail and is expected to appear in court in Cape Town on September 9, according to an official from the Stellenbosch Magistrate Court.

He will face charges of murder and attempted murder, and one count of obstructing justice.

Topics:  axe attack editors picks henri van breda van breda

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