The Van Bredas from Stellenbosch were seemingly the perfect family. Wealthy, successful and popular. They led a dream life at the luxury De Zalze golf estate.
And then, in a flash, everything changed. The country was stunned by the news of the gruesome killings of Martin, his wife Teresa, and their 22-year-old son Rudi. The blonde teenage daughter Marli miraculously survived, but was unable to remember the events of that fatal night due to a brain injury.
Eventually the other son, Henri, who escaped the bloodbath unscathed and knew what had really happened, was charged with the three murders.
One by one, relatives and friends started talking. They painted a picture of parents who had been at their wits’ end with their difficult ‘loner’ child. Henri’s drug addiction had reportedly caused ‘great discord’ in the household, and he was said to have been ‘pissed off’ with his parents for supposedly favouring his brother Rudi.
Could it be that the Van Bredas’ own child had been the one who wielded the axe?
Julian Jansen is an author and award-winning investigative journalist. He was one of the first journalists on the scene of the De Zalze murders. He investigated the case in depth and reported on it for the Sunday weeklies Rapport and City Press, where he has been working for over a decade. He and his family live in Strand, Cape Town.
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