Back in January 2015, Henri van Breda took an axe and cold-bloodedly took the lives of his parents and his brother as they slept, while leaving his sister severely injured.

The case has finally gone to sentencing and he has received three life sentences, plus a 15-year sentence for attempted murder relating to his sister.

Family axe murder in South Africa

In a case that horrified South Africa and the world, Henri van Breda took an axe to his father, Martin van Breda, 54, his mother Teresa van Breda, 55 and his brother Rudi van Breda, 22. He went on to also attack his younger sister, Marli van Breda, who was 16 at the time.

Marli was critically injured but survived the brutal attack in their luxury Stellenbosch home, all while the family was sleeping. Marli finally recovered from her wounds and was able to return to school.

Henri then took his time to have a cigarette and phone his girlfriend before eventually calling emergency services to say his family had been attacked by an intruder. He inflicted minor wounds on himself and said that he had fought off the intruder.

Court case against Henri van Breda

The BBC quotes a paramedic who gave testimony in the court as saying the scene they found in the family’s home was the worst he had ever seen in his 40 years of working. Meanwhile, Henri denied any charges, insisting that he had also been a victim in the attack and that someone had broken in and attacked the family. The court did not believe the testimony of the defendant and his defence attorney.

As noted by Eye Witness News, sentencing in the Western Cape High Court has finally been carried out on Thursday in the brutal axe killing, and van Breda, now 23, received a life sentence for each of the murders, along with a 15-year sentence for the attempted murder of his sister in January 2015. The defendant was poker-faced as he faced the judge, but as can be seen in a video at the end of this article, he sometimes had a slight smile on his face.

Speaking to the court, Judge Siraj Desai said that the brutal and cold-blooded murders were carried out by the defendant, using "excessive and gratuitous violence." He also received a further sentence of 12 months for obstruction of justice, three-and-a-half years after the brutal and bloody attack on his own family.

Judge Desai also noted that Henri gave no explanation for his actions and displayed no remorse for his crimes. Desai then went on to hand out what he termed the “severest possible penalties” for van Breda’s crimes. The defence attorney plans to appeal the sentence and leave to appeal was set for 27th June.