Pretoria - He was ashamed about his involvement in the murder of young Pretoria mother Chanelle Henning, Ambrose Monye told the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.
Monye, a former Nigerian Olympic athlete, followed in the footsteps of his co-accused, businessman Andre Gouws, and confessed his role in Henning's murder. Both at first claimed they had nothing to do with the murder, but had a change of heart after their conviction.
Henning was shot in her car from the back of a motorcycle shortly after dropping her child off at a crèche in Faerie Glen, in the east of Pretoria, on November 8, 2011. She was embroiled in a custody battle with her husband Nico Henning at the time of her death.
He was arrested last year shortly after Gouws told the high court that his friend Nico Henning had offered him R1 million to have his wife killed and he had in turn offered Monye R50 000 to find killers for the job.
The killers, Gerhardus (Doepie) du Plessis and Willem (Tattoo or Pike) Pieterse, are serving 18-year jail sentences after pleading guilty to the murder.
Monye said in a statement Gouws had at first told him Nico Henning wanted drugs planted in his wife’s car, but later told him Henning wanted the woman dead.
According to Monye, Henning was never formally introduced to him and knew how to keep a distance between himself and the killers.
“Before 8 November 2011, I only knew that Doepie and Tattoo would be doing the killing. (They) worked for me.
“Andre (Gouws) said the friend was stinking rich. The friend is very cross with the wife and that she is costing him too much money and that she was whoring around.
“So the friend will pay very good money. I will get R50 000 immediately after the job has been done and then even more at a later stage. I knew that Andre will not make a deal if he could not come up with the money as Andre knew my reputation, I would deal with Andre and his stinking rich friend in my own way.
“I told Pike and Doepie about the hit and said they should follow Andre on his bike who will show them the deceased’s house. I did not know a child was involved nor did I know the details as to how it was to be done. I knew Andre was going to show them the house and I said to Andre that I will see you afterwards.
“After the murder and while I was at court, I met with Andre who promised to pay the money that he owed me for letting my guys do the job. I knew Doepie and Pieterse would do the job as they were very hard-up for money. The five of us were equally guilty of the murder.
“I knew Doepie and Pike were going to kill the deceased. They worked via me. I was the middle man. Andre was the one who reported to Nico Henning. I never met him (Nico) but I was 100 percent sure that the idea did not come from Andre.
Today, as I look back, I am ashamed of what I did. Having been part of all this, I regret it and I am sorry. In the rough world where I was working, I lost sight of reality,” Monye said.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued that, although grim, the State had to accept that Monye and Gouws’s about-turn deserved credit. However, he said both men made a living out of crime, were a menace to society and should be sentenced to at least 20 years' imprisonment.
He described the two as arrogant and callous. Both were parents but were callous enough to kill a child's mother because she had become an inconvenience.
“Society demands that the court protects them from those people who assume to have the right to decide who should die and when. Society demands that the courts protect them from people who exploit court time, creating deceit about what they did and in the process cold-heartedly besmirched the name of the deceased.
“No parent should receive a dreaded phone call informing them that their child had been gunned down. No child should be deprived of the love of a mother whilst growing up. No child should be dropped off at a crèche and then be taken up into foster care,” he said.
Nel admitted that without the accused, the case against Henning would be much weaker, but said the State was confident that they would find enough corroboration for their versions to strengthen the case against Henning.
Monye and Gouws will be sentenced on Wednesday.