We are thugs, Henning killer tells court

2012-11-28 21:02
Willem Pieterse (Picture: Beeld)

Willem Pieterse (Picture: Beeld)

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Pretoria - Asked what he and Ambrose Monye's right-hand man had in common, convicted murderer Willem Pieterse told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria: "We are both thugs".

"You can see it. Body language, the way you talk. Those things say a lot," he testified on Wednesday in the murder trial of Monye, who is a former Nigerian Olympic athlete, and Andre Gouws.

They are accused of killing Pretoria mother Channelle Henning, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to procure an illegal firearm and ammunition, possession of an illegal firearm and possession of ammunition. They have pleaded not guilty.

Two men on a motorbike shot and killed Henning, 26, while she was driving her car in Faerie Glen, Pretoria East, on 8 November 2011, shortly after dropping off her child at a creche.

Pieterse said he was introduced to Monye by the right-hand man, whom he knew by the name of "Sly".

Pieterse and fellow former police officer Gerhardus du Plessis have claimed that Monye hired them to carry out the shooting and promised them R10 000 each.

Both accepted a plea bargain and were convicted in December last year of murder, conspiracy to murder, possession of an unlicensed firearm, and possession of unlicensed ammunition. Each was sentenced to 18 years behind bars.

Pieterse said he met Monye for the first time on 14 October 2011.

"This is a dead man walking," Monye had said of a man who owed him money, Pieterse testified.

He told the court that he, Monye, and Sly assaulted the man at the Voortrekker Monument on the night they met. Pieterse said he pushed his knife under the man's nose.

"I told him he must smell how close he was to death. Then I pushed him."

Asked if he would do it again, Pieterse said: "No."

"If I think things through, there are many things in my life I wouldn't have done."

Pieterse talked of his daily drug use. "I used Cat [the drug methcathinone] every day." He used Cat for about two years and before that he used crack cocaine.

He said he had not used Cat in almost a year. "[I don't miss it] at all. In the beginning I did."

Pieterse also testified about his three previous convictions.

"It was for theft, assault and robbery... No, I'm not a murderer for hire, except for this time," he said, referring to Henning's murder.

At the end of Wednesday's proceedings Pieterse barked at Monye and Gouws when he headed back down to the cells.

Gouws got a fright, but laughed it off. "There are big Rottweilers at the prison."

The trial was postponed until Thursday, when cross-examination continues.

- SAPA

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