Cop confesses to pulling the trigger in Pretoria hit

2011-11-16 15:30

Pretoria - A suspended policeman appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday charged with the murder of a young mother in the Pretoria suburb of Faerie Glen.

Gerhardus Petrus du Plessis, 34, appeared before Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair amid tight security, with at least 10 armed police officers present.

Du Plessis, a suspended detective constable at the Hercules police station in Pretoria, covered his head with an old T-shirt as he arrived in court.

His brief appearance was adjourned to allow him to consult his Legal Aid lawyers.

When proceedings resumed, prosecutor Andrea Johnson told the court Du Plessis had handed himself over to the police shortly before midnight on Monday.


"We have a confession," she said, before the matter was postponed to November 23 to allow the State to gather more evidence.

Gauteng police announced Du Plessis' arrest earlier on Wednesday.

"The 30-year-old arrested on Monday is a police member... [There is] a case under investigation where two murder dockets were allegedly stolen, which carries an automatic suspension," said Major General Nobesuthu Masiye.

Chanelle Henning, 26, was shot dead while driving home after dropping off her son at a pre-primary school in Manitoba Drive last Tuesday.

Witnesses told police that two men on a motorbike overtook her car and fired several shots. One hit her chest, fatally wounding her.

Her car continued moving for about 100m before crashing into a rock on the pavement.

Du Plessis has been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said three others were likely to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

"We are convinced we have enough evidence to sustain the charges. I am sure of that," he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Gauteng deputy police commissioner, Major General Nobesuthu Masiye, said four people had been arrested.

The identities of the other three were not revealed.

Masiye confirmed Du Plessis had been suspended in connection with two stolen murder dockets.

The theft of the dockets took place two weeks before the Faerie Glen murder was committed.

Masiye said the police officer - now known to be Du Plessis - had confessed to being the one who "pulled the trigger".

Ex-husband not a suspect

Shortly after the shooting, police questioned Henning's ex-husband - they had been fighting each other for custody of their child - but he was released.

Masiye said he did not appear to be a suspect.

She said the arrested policeman was a South African, but she would not comment on the nationality of the other three people arrested.

On Wednesday, the New Age reported that two men, including the policeman, had been taken in for police questioning.

The other man had a criminal record, the newspaper reported. It claimed they had been paid by a known Nigerian drug dealer.

Masiye would not confirm this, but said: "The victim was never on drugs".

She said police had recovered the revolver that was used to kill Henning, but the motorbike used in the attack had not yet been recovered.

Further details, including the suspected motive for the killing, could not be revealed as the investigation was at a "very sensitive stage", Masiye said.

This included whether any of those arrested matched an identikit released by the police over the weekend.

  • Kaizer - 2011-11-16 15:38

    Janee ou maat. Jou agterent gaan lekker klap in die tronk jou pateet. Hoop hulle kom jou elke aand by.

      Vicker - 2011-11-16 15:57

      It is a nice thought that Big "Donkey" Bubba is gonna love Du Plessis to bits, every night for the rest of his miserable life. I hope Bubba whispers in his ear afterwards that he must think of a small boy who doesn't have a mother any longer...

  • Shaun - 2011-11-16 15:39

    Old Police Motto - To Serve And Protect New Police Motto - To Assist In Assassinations

      SNG62 - 2011-11-16 16:12

      Come on, let's not taint the thousands of brilliant policemen and women we have with the behaviour of a small minority.

  • Simon - 2011-11-16 15:40

    "paid by a known Nigerian drug dealer". Why is he still out there if he is a know drug dealer?

      Kevin - 2011-11-16 15:55

      That could be any Nigerian

      Guy - 2011-11-16 16:08

      Because the Cops are too busy killing South African citizens...

      Derek - 2011-11-16 16:22

      He has ben arrested. The person who commissioned him to organise the hit is who they want! Motive!?! My money is on the ex

      Wisdom - 2011-11-16 16:48

      they must come clean

      Phil.Kleynhans - 2011-11-16 18:03

      Where does the drug dealer come in. She wasn't involved in drugs. So you put 2 and 2 together and it will come to only 1 person behind it

  • Herman - 2011-11-16 15:42

    Lets see how this plays out, I wonder what the "detectives" on news 24 will say when the motive comes out......

      wesleywt - 2011-11-16 16:44

      They are incredible. They can investigate a crime by reading a newspaper article. We need to get these people on the force.

      Herman - 2011-11-16 20:34

      @wesleywt, I am glad I am not invoved in what ever way with this.......News 24 commentators are the worst ever. Either judgemental or just plain racists!

  • swiid86 - 2011-11-16 15:42

    So why did they kill her? why would a Nigerian drug dealer pay them to kill her this doesn't make any sence

      Phoenix - 2011-11-16 16:13

      Of course it does! Drug debt???

      Marion - 2011-11-16 16:17

      What drug dealers often do when a drug addict has built up a sizable debt with them is either to kill them or hold them hostage until the family comes up with the money. If a Nigerian did pay them could it be that he decided to take Chanelle out as a warning to his 'client'???

      Gareth - 2011-11-16 16:21

      this could be case of mistaken identity.

      Wisdom - 2011-11-16 16:37

      am pis off with the story in New age news paper, how can a Nigeria paid to kill someone who is not even her wife? is very funny because i don't understand how people like to tarnish Nigeria image, they must ask that her husband who is having problem with her and leave Nigeria people alone

      adam.hannath - 2011-11-16 19:32

      why would anyone kill someone who owes them money? that's just retarded, talk about no return business, where you going to get your money then? could be this "known drug dealer" was known by someone else as a stand up bad guy to get stuff done... Cui bono, if the victim was not a user, she could be related to one, or formerly related to one...yes i'm implying the former partner, statistically people are more often killed by their sexual partner. Wisdom, not all Nigerians in SA are drug dealers and not all drug dealers in SA are Nigerian, but as a ratio of populations there is definitely a trend of Nigerian immigrants dealing in banned substances.

      alansmartSnr - 2011-11-17 21:24

      @ Wisdom. What the fug do these Nigerians want in South Africa anyway. They bring no skills, expertise or investments to S.Africa. They not tourists and seems to me they see S.A. as a soft spot for crime. I guestimate that at least 50% of all crimes, spesificaly drug related, have Nigerians involved. Just ask any cop, black or white. Go home and take your tic, coke, whatever with you...after all your nick is "Wisdom"

  • Lorraine - 2011-11-16 15:44

    We salute the guys in blue, hope we will soon know the motive behind Charnelle's murder and it will also give her family closure

      Deon - 2011-11-16 16:00

      Not the killer though, he was also in blue.

      behind.our.smiles - 2011-11-16 18:22

      Salute for what ? The suspect handed HIMSELF in.

  • Anthony - 2011-11-16 15:45

    sounds like his bosses?

  • Martinet - 2011-11-16 15:46

    But WHY? Why must a little boy cry himself to sleep every night now? Will anyone tell us WHY?

      Terri - 2011-11-16 16:20

      I find it strange that the little boy was in foster care a while back when his mom, dad and grandparents were there. Why was his family not allowed to look after him? Even stranger that Nigerians are thought to be involved. Maybe someone had an expensive habit that they could not afford? Maybe life insurance payout's could be the motive and, in turn, the solution to problems..... getting rid of someone not letting you have your own way, being paid for it, settling your debt and you get to keep the kid! Feel very sorry for the little boy - hopefully he won't remember much. What has he been through and seen in his short life? My sympathies to Chanelle's family and friends. No one deserves to die this way.

      Squeegee - 2011-11-16 16:26

      Martinet, this is not CSI, it may take longer than 45 minutes to get to the bottom of it all. Relax - we'll know soon enough.

  • marazor - 2011-11-16 15:46

    I'm glad that for once the killer's name isn't Sipho Ngcobo, but it is Gerhardus Petrus du Plessis

      Herman - 2011-11-16 15:51

      Now why would that be?

      Go - 2011-11-16 15:59

      marazor, can you seriously not come up with anything other than your racists rants on a daily basis????? you are so predictable and tiresome

      Elize - 2011-11-16 16:15

      Wow man you have issues with your color!!

      Lorraine - 2011-11-16 16:31

      Nowadays crime has no race, all races are involved in crime, we should focus on how to combat it, and lets not focus on skin colour.

      Irene - 2011-11-16 16:35

      Kgaogelo ~ Judging by your comments, you'll drink to anything. Your liver's had enough already.

      Jos - 2011-11-16 16:50

      how is that helpful? Someone is dead, it does not matter the description of the killer. What is important is that the killer has been arrested and justice can prevail. Don't be stereo-typical.

      Ramotlhantsweng - 2011-11-16 17:21

      Please grow up, this is a serious matter and a life has been lost, how cold can you be?

      Omnivore - 2011-11-16 21:41

      I kind of have to agree with marazor. At least when the perpetrator is white, it brings some perspective. Yes, humans have a capacity for evil and, no, it's not melanin-related. In SA most of the horrible murders are committed by black people because they are the vast majority. And poverty breeds unhealthy social conditions which lead to unhealthy minds. It's a vicious circle. In Eastern Europe, where similar (though not quite as bad) social conditions prevail, the "barbarians" are white. I hate racism and I do believe all races can be racist towards all other races but, wow, racism is such as childish and stupid position for an informed adult to even entertain.

      Omnivore - 2011-11-16 21:45

      @ Kaizer - Jy is 'n vrot appel. You realise that black people other than the person you disagree with are reading your comments? What message are you sending to them?

      Jan - 2011-11-16 22:20

      you are just a serious bored idiot. Get your brain out of racist gear and try think a bit. It may be a totally new experience for you and could change your life for the better.

  • abrhamtwaksak - 2011-11-16 15:49

    hang em high!!!

  • joeballito - 2011-11-16 15:52

    This would not have happened if the death penalty was still applicable.

      Juan - 2011-11-16 16:03

      If stories like these doesn't give our government pause to rethink the death penalty, really I don't know what will. A mom brutally shot after dropping her child off at school. These bastards do not deserve to breathe.

      jerhone - 2011-11-16 16:15

      the only time this government will address the death penalty is when their own family become stats, not before, only then will they cry themselves to sleep as well

      Ramotlhantsweng - 2011-11-16 17:25

      You can't say that for certain, you are speculating!

      adam.hannath - 2011-11-16 19:34

      if the death penalty was legal...the death penalty is basically an assumption that one legal system is completely infallible. Now, South Africa's legal system might be pretty good (i'm still waiting for Zuma's "day in court" he was calling for) but i somehow doubt it is infallible.

      Charles - 2011-11-17 08:22

      The death penalty in itself is not a deterrent. I wish all the ill-informed people calling for the death penalty would do some research into the effectiveness or not of the death penalty as a deterrent to violent crime. Just one example: Texas in the USA has one of the highest rates of murder in the USA and the death penalty while Massachussets, without the death penalty, has one of the lowest rates of murder. I know this is not really a fair comparison because there is a vast difference in the demagraphics of the two states concerned, but just wanted to bring the point across that the death penalty is not a magic wand that will miraculously get rid of violent crime in this country.

  • kerrimg - 2011-11-16 15:54

    shocking why why why why the cops out there are becoming more criminals it is sick why kill a young women like that what was the reason........ shame on you show your face

      antonotto1981 - 2011-11-16 16:14


  • Glen - 2011-11-16 15:56

    Straaaange indeed this is going to be a good one!!! Cops HAH!!!

  • atomasicchio - 2011-11-16 16:00

    I just want to know why!!!!

  • Marieta - 2011-11-16 16:06

    Hang die bliksem of gee hom vir ons !!

  • jerhone - 2011-11-16 16:10

    hang the bastard

  • Nick - 2011-11-16 16:19

    Glad he has been apprehended. And RIP to the lady. But answer me this - how can you be charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder of the same person? It either is or isn't. Just saying...

      janet.pretorius1 - 2011-11-17 09:58

      One person commits the murder of another. No conspiracy. Conspiracy - involving others, planning, discussing, requiring support to do the deed so that they are guilty as well to a degree - even if they did not commit the deed themselves and did nothing to stop it either. Just a thought.

  • Andre - 2011-11-16 16:23

    Hang em!!!

  • littlegiantn - 2011-11-16 16:28

    Masiye confirmed Du Plessis had been suspended in connection with two stolen murder dockets. The theft of the dockets took place two weeks before the Faerie Glen murder was committed. Hau, this impimpi has been on another payroll ... the druglords'

  • Wisdom - 2011-11-16 16:42

    i thank it will be batter we wait and see the outcome of this case because anything that involve a Nigeria always turn to be a big issue, but if they find out he did it let the justice be done because that is very bad.

  • Sandy - 2011-11-16 16:53

    Dear Lord... what next. Tragic case.

  • SkyMarkyMarkD - 2011-11-16 16:58

    Looks like this pig is also wanted in the USA....

      Grant - 2011-11-16 22:22

      I doubt if it is the same guy. For one thing the middle name 'Petrus' is missing. For another, the suspect was working for the SAPS until 2 weeks before the murder.

  • Roy - 2011-11-16 16:59

    "If" found guilty the s.o.b should be sent to a jail so bad that he would not be able to sleep at all in fear of what other criminals could do to him when they find out that he is a cop. Why did he do it and on who's orders?

  • Omnivore - 2011-11-16 17:11

    I wish we had the death penalty.

  • Winsome - 2011-11-16 17:16

    Am really glad they have the person who did this. What is the story of the missing files I wonder? What files? Wonder if the husband is part of this plot? Ooooohhh The plot sickens!

  • Gail - 2011-11-16 17:18

    This is one weird story. Du plessis has confessed to having killed Henning? Why? What was her connection to Du Plessis who was supposedly on suspension for stealing some other murder dockets.Surely when a policeman is suspended he has to hand over his gun? Nothing adds up here unless maybe Chantelle Henning is a cop too and uncovered Du Plessis's theft Maybe the Nigerian drug dealer had been a suspect in the murder documents stolen? Real life is stranger than fiction in SA.

      Carol - 2011-11-17 16:12

      Just PERHAPS he was hired by Ex ??? You can hire someone in SA to "stage" your demise should you wish to commit suicide !

  • Angry_Youth - 2011-11-16 17:20

    Well done to the SAPS.

      Carol - 2011-11-17 16:15

      Don't agree !!! SAPS should be SUED for undesirable members on their Force ! SA has dusgusting Police Service ! Yes, there are those doing decent job but they are SO few & far between that they cannot keep pace !!!

  • Chanel - 2011-11-16 17:52

    I agree that we should wait for the entire case to be resolved before pointing fingers to people that may be innocent- and yes, I’m referring to Mr. Henning. This entire case smells and its heart ripping what happened to Mrs. Henning. I for one have lived in the same town as the couple and I know that people all over the entire province - that do not even know them personally OR what they even look like - knew about their divorce AND the custody battle… As newspapers has emphasized several times (not that I personally think that the fact that he owns planes – OR WHATEVER - has anything to do with the crime at hand) he is indeed a wealthy BUSINESSMAN (meaning that he is known in business). Many people know him and many know about him, in fact, the same goes for the Saincic family (including Chanelle) who is also very well known and don’t do that bad for themselves either…

  • Chanel - 2011-11-16 17:54

    Most of you know absolutely jack about these people and I can’t say that I know them like the back of my hand either OR what they are capable of. I personally think that IF Mr. H wanted to hurt her (which I doubt with almost certainty – he is not even a suspect at this stage, if even at all, ever!), he would have done something less obvious- don’t you think?- and that we should keep the couple’s reputation in mind and consider the possibility that someone else might have had a motive (whatever it may be) and merely exploited the couple’s personal situation, knowing fingers will be pointed at Mr. Henning, to help bar attention from the real culprit. It is clear that Benjie’s dad (and other family) love him very much and, even if they were separating , still cared enough to be there for their little boy, her grieving family and to be at her funeral to pay his last respects. It must be hard, especially if he turns out innocent, to be “bullied” by community members, to be obliged to share the death of his (once loved -and I believe- still caring for her) wife in such a gruesome way with his boy forever, and finding time to be there for her family, their boy and still cope with her death on his own… I believe justice will prevail – this side or the other. RIP meisiekind – jy was pragtig!!!!

      Jan - 2011-11-16 22:34

      Yes you are right, you dont know the people so please stop assuming things. You would think differently if you knew more about the real happenings on a daily basis as well as the previous aknowedged kidnapping Benjie and threats etc. You call this love ? doubt it very much. Lets just hope the real guilty party gets uncovered and no, the Saincic family are not well off at all.

  • j.c.s.mailbox - 2011-11-16 18:12

    Yes this whole thing is absolute rotten to the bone. Its just unbelieveble that people you dont expect doing such things are doing it!! Getting a murderer for doing dirty job like this... i thought it can only happened in Cicily where the Mafia is roaming during night times.

  • Sandra - 2011-11-16 19:23

    Perhaps Chanelle was a witness to one of the murders, which dockets were stolen by the hitman / suspended Cop. Seems like there might be a link. Sad situation really.

  • sycomachinery - 2011-11-16 20:00

    The moral of the story is that if you commit murder or crime in this country just stay out of the media, if this story did not hit the newspapers, nobody would have bothered to investigate it. Another good example is the Dewani case, same story. There are are many people murdered every day in this country, most murderers get away, but once the media starts reporting about it, the Police have no choice but to do their work, if it goes unnoticed, well then it is just a file lying on someone's desk.

  • emile.eley - 2011-11-16 21:07

    Plaudits to our so-called useless police. Bravo I say, well done.

  • Arthur - 2011-11-16 21:31

    Hang them from a tree in Faerie Glen...mongrels

  • phathuchicos - 2011-11-16 22:48

    Cases where someone hand themselves to police are always full of manga-manga business. I think i will be missing generations and 7delaan for this story as it unfolds.

  • Chirpy - 2011-11-17 07:09

    mmm! Custody battle.. Leaves one wondering doesn't it!

  • Mabel - 2011-11-17 08:11

    Who says the ex didn't pay the crook. We haven't heard why he would kill an innocent womean. My money is on the ex-husband getting the custody he wanted of the child. They say she wasn't on drugs so what else could it be?

  • Mario - 2011-11-17 08:51

    Firstly thank you to the people with heartfelt concerns for the mourning families. Those of you that slander and assume, it is your God given right to have an opinion no matter how it may be frowned upon. God will guide the police and the investigation and the truth will be told. The actual culprit will have to answer one day, whether to the law or to our Heavenly Father. A cry out for all your prayers for the battle happening under the radar of the current media stories. The battle for the placement of little Benji is draining to the family and unfair. The families involved have reached an agreement as to the best solution for his well-being however a certain lady from the court is contesting it and gladly wants him thrown back into foster care, a place of "safety" where he was previously which still gives him nightmares. Unfortunately this person has no concern for him or his well-being. So please give us your prayers so that God can soften her heart and open her eyes to what is best for the beautiful little boy. Media intervention could also help. Let's pray for a resolve so that they can all mourn their loss the way it was intended, together. Thank you.

      Tyron - 2011-11-17 09:53

      god???? what has god got to do with this?? if there were such a thing as god, then this would never have happened in the first place !!!

  • Tyron - 2011-11-17 09:57

    why is everyone so concerned about who, why, how?? what about the child??

  • Erica - 2011-11-17 10:07

    My theory is that the ex-husband owes big money to the Nigerian drug dealer. The dealer threatened to hurt his wife and child if he did not pay up, and when he still didn't get his money, he carried out his threat. This was a message: "First your wife, next is your son, and then you!" You can't get money out of a dead person, so I'm sure this was not Chanelle's debt, but rather her ex-husband's. Maybe that is the reason for the bitter divorce and custody battle and why she fought so hard for custody - she did not want her son around his father with the drugs and dangerous drug dealers.

      dino.ducci - 2011-11-17 15:49

      Hi Erica, This was my thoughts as well. However it could also be a case that Chenelle was involved with the drug dealers in some way. Or she might have threatened her husband about his involvement in the drug business and was going to report them, and the business partners took her out.

  • Thukza - 2011-11-17 11:32

    If this was just another black township girl , it was going to be a cold case soon.She is white, hooray , the whole police station was dedicated into apprehending the criminals.

      alansmartSnr - 2011-11-17 21:56

      @ Thukza.. did you read the artikel. The murderer gave himself over to the fuzz after having spoken to his lawyer. Every one seems to forget this.

  • Nikki Bodenstein - 2011-11-18 21:09

    Thukza....why are you pulling the race card? 99% of news24 articles are about blacks dying in taxi crashes,ANC/ANCYL and Malema. You're being a complete tool and missing the point! Whether she is white/pink/green/black or blue it's still a horrible crime! I wouldn't wish that on anyone! Grow up man!

      Ramotlhantsweng - 2011-11-19 03:02

      These morons that keep bringing race into issues that are really not race-related are just bloody stupid. Crime affects everyone irrespective of colour, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation. The sooner we realise that the better.

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