I could have said no: Henning killer

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chanelle henning

INL SA

Chanelle Henning. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Faerie Glen - The former policeman who shot dead Chanelle Henning told the High Court in Pretoria on Monday that he blamed no-one but himself for the murder.

“I could have said no, but I didn't,” Gerhardus du Plessis said.

Du Plessis said he did not blame his friend Willem Pieterse for dragging him into the plot to murder Henning.

“We make our own choices. I made my choice and I can't go back on it,” he said.

Du Plessis and Pieterse, who are both serving an 18 year sentence for Henning's November 2011 murder, testified for the State against Andre Gouws and Ambrose Monye.

Gouws, a friend of Henning's estranged husband Nico, and Monye, a former Nigerian Olympic athlete, pleaded not guilty to five charges including murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Du Plessis and Pieterse both claimed they had committed the murder on the instructions of Monye and Gouws.

Du Plessis earlier told the court how he had gunned down Henning in her car in Faerie Glen shortly after she had dropped off her child at a creche.

Pieterse, who had introduced Du Plessis to Monye, drove the motorbike used during the shooting.

Du Plessis said he had almost withdrawn from the plan to kill Henning not because of any moral dilemma but because he was angry with Pieterse, whom he suspected of having an affair with his wife.

He also felt “uncomfortable” about shooting a woman, but admitted this would not have stopped him from carrying out the hit.

Du Plessis decided to go ahead with the hit after Monye threatened to kill his wife, children and dogs.

He said he had killed Henning “for drugs and money” and had never discussed the amount he was supposed to receive for the hit with Monye, Gouws, Pieterse or a “middle man” known as Sly.

“They (Pieterse and Sly) said we had a job to do and they would sort out the money,” he said.

Du Plessis testified that Monye had asked him if he was prepared to commit a murder shortly after they met and offered him money, but he said he first wanted to think about it.

He did not deal with Money again directly, except one morning when Monye insisted that they should “go and do the job”.

He said he and Gouws had met at a pizza restaurant where they discussed various methods to commit the murder.

He had rejected Gouws' suggestion that he should gain access to Henning's complex through a security gate and a second suggestion that he should rent a flat across from her house and shoot her “with a long rifle” as impractical.

This was because too many things could go wrong and because Hennings' child would have been in the flat.

Before Gouws left he phoned a man and asked if he could take the man and a child fishing for the weekend, but the man answered that “the bitch got the baby for the weekend”.

In the end, they had agreed on the plan to shoot Henning at the creche.

Du Plessis denied being suspended from the police. He said he was on stress leave and still receiving his salary when he shot Henning.

He refused to answer questions about his 15 year sentence on a charge of corruption involving a murder docket, saying it was not relevant to the trial.

According to Du Plessis he had reached a plea bargain in that case and believed the 15 year sentence would be served concurrently with his 18 year sentence for the Henning murder.

Counsel for Gouws, Daan Mostert, put it to Du Plessis that his client knew nothing about the murder plot and would deny discussing any murder scenarios with Du Plessis.

“That's his version. He's lying,” Du Plessis answered.

The trial continues. - Sapa


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