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Boxes containing files, documents and photographs have been confiscated by the Hawks and officials of the National Prosecuting Authority from Nico Henning’s Pecanwood home and one of his businesses nearby.
In January, it emerged during testimony by investigating officer Captain Peet van der Spuy in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court that Nico Henning was one of the primary suspects in the investigation into the murder of his estranged wife, Chanelle.
Last week, in an indictment handed to Andre Gouws – one of the men accused of murdering Chanelle – Henning prominently featured in the State’s case against Gouws and co-accused Ambrose Monye.
Cellphone records show Gouws sent two SMSes to Henning on the day of Chanelle’s murder.
Henning remains free.
Five of Henning’s properties were searched on Thursday in what was described by Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela as “part of an ongoing investigation”.
It is unclear what officials were looking for, but it is suspected they were looking for anything that could link Henning with the killers.
The search of Henning’s luxury Hartbeespoort property was to have begun at 9am, but officials arrived to find no one home.
Henning, who apparently spent Wednesday night in Pretoria, arrived about an hour later to find several members of the Hawks waiting outside his home. After entering the house, he was seen talking on his cellphone while pacing the front of the house. He later began filming officials as they continued their search.
A Pretoria News team who gained access to the estate were asked to leave immediately.
Estate security was adamant the team had entered the estate under false pretences and informed the team they would be escorted out if they did not leave immediately.
The team then moved to Henning’s business property a few kilometres away. Henning runs a concrete business from there and shares the property with an educational play group.
When he arrived about three hours later, in his black Toyota Prado, he tried to dodge the media by using a side entrance. He was followed closely by a convoy of officials. Climbing out of his vehicle, he soon disappeared into the building and was not seen again.
Two young men, thought to be part of Henning’s legal team, arrived a few minutes later and also disappeared into the building.
Van der Spuy was seen about two hours later carrying a box containing items confiscated from Henning’s office. Other properties searched yesterday included his Rustenburg home as well as two airplane hangars – at Kitty Hawk and Aviator’s Paradise.
Officials left the property shortly after 5pm. Henning remained inside and was not seen again.
Chanelle, a teaching assistant, was shot and killed in Faerie Glen on November 8 shortly after dropping her young son off at crèche.
It is alleged that Henning and Chanelle were engaged in a battle over who would get custody of their five-year-old son.
Five men were arrested for their alleged involvement in her murder shortly afterwards. Gouws and Monye face five charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, and conspiracy to get a firearm and ammunition. They are to go on trial in the Pretoria High Court in November.
Witnesses due to testify in the trial include staff of the Morning Star Montesorri Pre-Primary school, cellphone experts, and Gerhardus du Plessis and Willem Pieterse. Du Plessis and Pieterse pleaded guilty to murdering Chanelle and are serving 18-year jail sentences after entering into plea agreements with the State.
Preshan Singh, who allegedly supplied a firearm to Monye, is engaged in plea negotiations with the State.