Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai handed down sentence in the trial of convicted axe murderer Henri Van Breda on Tuesday, sentencing him to a hefty three life terms, one for each of the deceased.
A life term is an indeterminate time, and may last the lifetime of the convict in question.
He was also handed 15 years for the attempted murder attack on his sister Marli and another 12 months for defeating the ends of justice.
The judge described him as a cold-blooded murderer. To date, no one knows what motivated the brutal killings.
The 23-year-old was last month convicted of three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and one of defeating the ends of justice for the brutal attack on his family in January 2015 that left his parents and older brother dead, and his sister severely injured.
The attack happened in the early hours of the morning of January 27, 2015, at the Van Breda family home in the centre of a Stellenbosch security estate, De Zalze.
Van Breda claimed that at least one, possibly two intruders, were behind the murders. He claimed that a laughing, axe-wielding intruder, wearing dark clothing, a balaclava and gloves was behind the bludgeoning attack on his family.
But Desai dismissed his version and said it was “nonsensical” that intruders would have entered the family home, and fled without taking anything.
He said the attacks on the family members were carried out with the intent to kill.
Van Breda had his bail revoked when he was convicted on May 21 and the judge granted a request to have him kept in the hospital section of Pollsmoor prison so that he could have access to medication for depression and epilepsy.
The hospital section, generally regarded as safe in comparison to being kept in the general prison population, did not protect Van Breda from an attack by fellow prisoners, according to weekend reports.
He was allegedly attacked by five prisoners, and rescued by a fellow inmate who ripped a metal condom dispenser off the wall to fend off the attackers.
Van Breda’s lawyers intended to appeal both the conviction and sentence.