Dad blames husband for Henning's murder

2013-05-14 14:24
Nico Henning (Picture: Beeld)

Nico Henning (Picture: Beeld)

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Pretoria - Chanelle Henning's father believes her estranged husband Nico is the only person who could have benefited from her murder, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

Andre Gouws, a close friend of Nico Henning, and former Nigerian Olympic athlete Ambrose Monye, have pleaded not guilty to five charges relating to an alleged conspiracy to murder Henning.

Chanelle Henning, who was a teacher's assistant, was shot dead in a drive-by shooting near a crèche in Faerie Glen on 8 November 2011.

Former policeman Gerhardus du Plessis and Willem "Pike" Pieterse are serving 18-year prison terms, after confessing to their roles in the murder.

Henning's father Ivan Saincic testified that he and his wife Sharon believed the only person who could have benefited from their daughter's death was her estranged husband.

"It is definitely the way we feel... He gets custody of the child. He doesn't have to pay maintenance... He's the only person that could benefit from my daughter's death," he told the court.

He and his wife were nonetheless later awarded custody of the child, with Henning paying school fees.

"At the time my daughter was murdered, I don't think Nico Henning thought there was any chance that the child would go to anyone else but him," Saincic said.

Strained relationship

He testified that his daughter and her husband were married for just over four years, but that their relationship was strained for a long time.

"There were always lawyers and psychologists involved in every decision that had to be made as far as custody was concerned," he said.

During the latter part of the marriage, their daughter lived in Pretoria, at times with her parents, and found work at a school in Pretoria.

About 18 months before her murder, she filed for divorce, asking for maintenance and a contribution towards her legal costs.

During that period, Nico Henning brought an urgent application for custody of their child.

"It gave off a huge legal battle. The child was taken away and put in foster care for eight months.

"My daughter and Nico Henning had to go through all kinds of investigations to see who would get the child," Saincic told the court.

"The child was eventually placed in my daughter's custody in December 2010.

"There were a lot of [allegations] of misconduct. That's why the child was placed in foster care.

"... From the first application, there was a constant battle to get money out of Nico Henning.

"He paid her R5 000 per month, out of which she had to pay for her rent, food, and everything else.

"It just got to the point that all of the legal battles were draining the family financially," he said.

Allegations against Chanelle

Saincic said he paid a deposit of R10 000 for a rule 43 application for maintenance on the Friday before his daughter's murder, after Henning's promises of a financial settlement came to nought.

He said Nico Henning had made numerous allegations against his daughter, including that she was lazy and did not do what she was supposed to, but that there were no allegations about drugs.

A final report about custody had still to be made at the time of his daughter's death, because the family could not afford to pay for it.

It later emerged in court that the advocate appointed to draw up the report had said the child should go to their daughter.

Saincic said Nico Henning was self-employed, had a number of businesses, and was involved in construction work.

He was aware that Henning had previously practised as an advocate.

Pathologist Professor Gert Saayman testified that Chanelle Henning died of massive blood loss from a gunshot wound caused by a relatively heavy calibre gun.

She had a gunshot wound to the right upper arm and chest, from right to left, which perforated the aorta and both lungs.

The trial continues.

- SAPA

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