Henning murder trial takes new turn

2013-12-05 23:02
Chanelle Henning

Chanelle Henning

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Pretoria - Nico Henning manipulated his best friend and commissioned him to arrange the murder of his wife Chanelle, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

Daan Mostert, for convicted murderer Andre Gouws, 49, asked Gouws if he thought Henning had manipulated him when he allegedly ordered the hit on his wife.

"Without a doubt," Gouws responded.

He said Henning told him how badly his wife's family was treating him, which was "what pulled him in" and made him help his friend.

The court heard that Henning knew Gouws was involved in a custody battle years ago and used that to ask him to paint Chanelle in a bad light.

An emotional Gouws told the court his best friend and friend of 24 years had offered him R1m to carry out the hit so he could get custody of their child. This was to be paid in monthly instalments of R50 000.

"Nico Henning, her husband, approached me to commission me to have her killed, and I took steps to fulfil his wishes," Gouws tearfully read from his affidavit, in Afrikaans.

"Her death is a direct result of the request or commission by Nico Henning."

He said he would testify against Henning and he had decided to tell the truth because it was the right thing to do.

The court was hearing evidence in sentencing proceedings after finding Gouws and former Nigerian Olympic athlete Ambrose Monye guilty of the contract murder of Henning.

Conspiracy

Chanelle Henning, 26, was shot dead in Faerie Glen on Tuesday, 8 November  2011, shortly after dropping off her child at a crèche.

Gouws and Monye had pleaded not guilty to five charges relating to a conspiracy to commit the murder.

The State argued that Monye and Gouws conspired with former policemen Gerhardus "Doepie" du Plessis and Willem "Pike" Pieterse. Du Plessis and Pieterse are serving 18-year prison terms after confessing to their roles in the murder.

On Thursday, another twist in the trial delayed sentencing to 3 February.

Lawyer Matthew Klein, for Monye, indicated Monye wanted to make a confession.

"His confession will come but I can't put him in the dock now," Klein said, asking for a postponement.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the postponement would be an inconvenience, but hearing Monye's versions was in the interests of justice.

Judge Johan Kruger postponed the matter to February 3, but indicated that he was not pleased at how new evidence was coming to light.

On Thursday, Gouws told the court he paid Monye R50,000 to get Pieterse and Du Plessis to shoot Henning because he did not want to kill her himself.

Used drugs

The court heard Nico Henning gave Gouws the idea to use a motorbike to shoot his wife, and that he pointed out the crèche, school, and house to Gouws.

Wearing black tracksuit pants and a turquoise T-shirt, Gouws said Henning had previously asked him to kill his (Henning's) brother after they had a disagreement.

Nel asked Gouws what he intended by coming clean now, ahead of sentencing, and asked if it would benefit him.

Gouws responded: "Not really. I have to stand up before the whole world and say I told half truths.

"The Bible says the truth will set you free, but in this case it will not set me free from jail."

Nel asked if he thought that by implicating Henning he would get a lesser sentence. Gouws said he did not think it would help him. He said that by lying during the trial he committed perjury.

The court heard that Gouws sent Henning an sms saying "Proud of you my friend" after he heard Henning had passed a lie detector test to see if he was involved in the murder.

In his testimony during the trial, Gouws admitted that Chanelle's husband had asked him to watch her to see if she used drugs.

However, on Thursday, Gouws said Henning asked him to plant drugs on his wife and get her arrested to discredit her. Gouws said he had not had contact with Henning since he was arrested.

- SAPA

Read more on:    chanelle henning
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