Chanelle: Murder accused was at work
Pretoria - One of the five men arrested in connection with the murder of Pretoria mother Chanelle Henning was granted bail on Wednesday.
Pretoria Regional Court Magistrate Kirro Pillay released Preshan Singh, 24, on R5 000 bail.
Pillay cited "exceptional circumstances for his [Singh's] involvement in the charge", but imposed stiff bail conditions.
Singh was surrounded by smiling friends and relatives before being whisked away in a Mercedes Benz.
An affidavit submitted to the court by Singh's lawyer, Keneil Muthray, outlines his involvement in the crime.
Singh said in the document: "The state has very little or no information to suggest that I was involved in the murder of the deceased."
He said he bought a gun in November for R400 from a Mr Schoeman for his personal protection.
"A work colleague and friend, Martin Pieterse [his co-accused and also known as Willem], requested to use the firearm and I gave it to him. The gun was handed back to me a few days later and I gave it to Gerry Venter to keep.
"On November 15, my residential place was visited by approximately 10 armed men claiming to be members of the specialised Hawks unit who instructed me to lie down and began severely beating me by kicking [me] all over my head and body".
The firearm was confiscated and Singh was arrested.
The weapon is believed to be the one used in Henning's murder on November 8.
"My being kept in custody would mean that I would lose my employment which would have devastating consequences for myself and my family and would leave my family destitute," he said.
Singh also attached a letter from his employer, a Mr Sweeny, confirming he was at work on the day of the shooting.
He worked as a machine lubricator at Nampak paper in Rosslyn.
State prosecutor, advocate Gerrie Nel, did not oppose bail despite the seriousness of the charges being faced by Singh.
"It is not only a decision of this prosecutor but it is what we agreed with a team of experts including policeman involved in the matter," he said.
In granting bail, Pillay told the court there was no evidence to suggest Singh, the sole bread-winner of a family of three, would abscond the next court appearance set for January 17.
Among other conditions, Singh was ordered to report to the Hercules police station in Pretoria West every Wednesday and Sunday evening.
The magistrate instructed him not to make any contact, directly or indirectly, with three State witnesses - Shalom David Khan, also known as Sly or Rudeboy; Venter; and Schoeman.
He was told not to change his residential address in Pretoria without requesting permission from the investigating officer.
Singh does not have a passport.
Henning, 26, was killed in a drive-by shooting while driving home after dropping her son at a pre-school in Manitoba Drive, Faerie Glen, Pretoria.
On Tuesday Singh appeared in court with former Nigerian Olympic athlete, Ambrose Monye, 37 and Andre Gouws, 47.
The other co-accused, suspended Pretoria police detective Gerhardus du Plessis, 34 and Willem Pieterse had appeared earlier in the same court and are currently negotiating a plea deal with the State.