"I feel like I want to murder the people that are around you at the moment and I am inches away from losing it with them and breaking down completely."
This is a message sent by Marli van Breda's ex-boyfriend James Reade-Jahn to the teenager after she told him of an argument at the family's dinner table about two weeks before the De Zalze axe attack.
The upset, according to James Reade-Jahn, who was in the dock on Thursday, was caused by a discussion about Marli's weight.
But advocate Matthys Combrink, for triple-murder accused Henri van Breda, put it to him that it was also about the seriousness of their relationship, and Reade-John agreed, saying her parents wanted them to "turn it down" ahead of their exams.
Two days after the murders, the then-Somerset College pupil's phone was confiscated by police and conversations he had with members of the family were downloaded.
Dinner table spat
The Western Cape High Court on Thursday heard details about a conversation between Reade-Jahn and Marli which took place on January 10 2015, following the argument in the Van Breda home.
Marli had told him about the spat at the dinner table.
He responded: "And finally I know I told you I would tell you everything I always feel or am doing and right now I feel like I want to murder the people that are around you at the moment and I am inches away from losing it with them and breaking down completely.
"But I am being strong to help you and support you babe xxxx. Pls I can call you whenever you need me. Don't let me sit in the dark like this babe [sic]."
In his testimony, he described the message as a mistake and that he "wasn't thinking".
"It was not the right things to say to comfort her. It wasn't directed to mean anything," he told the court.
Axe used to kill
The axe -- exhibit one in the trial -- looked very similar to the one he had seen at the Van Breda house, Reade-Jahn said.
The one he remembers was black, 40-50cm long with a light brown handle, black top and silver blade. The one in evidence is green.
He said Martin had bought the axe in 2014 and he had seen it a few times in the family's garage.
The Reade-Jahns and Van Bredas were family friends, and he and Marli had been dating at the time. He had "loads of conversations" with Henri and visited the house often.
He said he found out about the murders when he messaged Marli on the morning of January 27 2015 and didn't get a response. When he tried to phone, it went unanswered, as did phone calls to the rest of the family.
Reade-Jahn testified he asked his mother, who worked in Stellenbosch, to go to the family home and "see if everything was all right". The family visited often and had been given an access card by the Van Bredas.
After going to the scene, his mother came to his school to tell him what had happened, Reade-Jahn said.
The trial resumes on Monday.Suggest a correction