State withdraws murder charges against Nico Henning

2016-10-10 11:41
Murder accused Nico Henning and his lawyer Piet van Wyk outside the Pretoria High Court after the State withdrew its case. (Mpho Raborife/News24)

Murder accused Nico Henning and his lawyer Piet van Wyk outside the Pretoria High Court after the State withdrew its case. (Mpho Raborife/News24)

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Pretoria – The State has withdrawn its case against Nico Henning, the Pretoria businessman accused of murdering and conspiring to murder his wife Chanelle.

The announcement came as a shock to the gallery, as the trial was expected to begin on Monday.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court that the State was not in the position to proceed with the matter and had subsequently withdrawn its charges against him.

Henning, who was dressed in a black suit and white shirt, spent less than five minutes in the dock.

Afterwards, Henning’s lawyer, Piet van Wyk, told reporters that they had "taken note" of the State’s decision.

"We thoroughly hope and believe that Mr Henning and [Chanelle's] family will continue with their lives now.

"We know that the prosecuting team is well experienced. We have all the reason to believe that they are well prepared, consulted thoroughly and we take note of their thorough decision not prosecute."

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku could not immediately be reached for comment.

The reasons for the withdrawal were not immediately clear.

Chanelle Henning, 25, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting near her son's crèche in Faerie Glen on the morning of November 8, 2011.

The couple were estranged and in the process of a divorce and an acrimonious custody battle at the time.

The two hitmen, former policeman Gerhardus du Plessis, and Willem Pieterse, are currently serving 18-year prison sentences after pleading guilty to the murder.

Contract killers

The middlemen, former policeman Andre Gouws and former Nigerian Olympic athlete Ambrose Monye, were in 2015 sentenced to life imprisonment for their roles in the killing.

Henning handed himself over to the police shortly after his former friends Gouws and Monye, who initially denied any involvement in the murder, had a change of heart and made full confessions to the police.

The State alleged in the charge sheet that Henning had requested Gouws to assist him in his quest for custody and promised to pay him.

The plan was allegedly, at first, that Gouws should plant drugs on Chanelle Henning, but Nico Henning allegedly later conspired with Gouws to have his wife killed.

The State also alleged that Henning had provided intimate details about his wife's movements and also discussed with Gouws places where she could be "executed".

Gouws in turn allegedly enlisted Monye's services to recruit contract killers.

Monye allegedly obtained the services of Du Plessis and Pieterse to kill Chanelle.

After Gouws pointed out Chanelle's house and workplace and the child's school, Du Plessis fired the shots which killed her while on a motorbike driven by Pieterse.

Read more on:    nico henning  |  chanelle henning  |  pretoria  |  crime

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