News / 15 December 2011, 07:24am / YOLANDE DU PREEZ
The two men sentenced on Wednesday for the murder of Chanelle Henning are to help the State with its case and have agreed to testify in any future proceedings.
Details of the plan to kill Henning emerged in the Pretoria Regional Court on Wednesday as Gerhardus du Plessis and Willem Pieterse confessed to the murder as part of a plea bargain agreement with the State.
Du Plessis and Pieterse, who were responsible for carrying out the hit, pleaded guilty to murder, possession of an unlicensed firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition on Wednesday.
They were each sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for the murder, five years for possession of an unlicensed firearm and three years for the unlawful possession of ammunition. The sentences will run concurrently.
For Du Plessis and Pieterse, the motive behind the killing of the young mother and teaching assistant in Faerie Glen was established to be financial gain, but neither the reason for the killing being ordered, nor the identity of the mastermind have been revealed.
A statement read by prosecutor advocate Gerrie Nel told of how Pieterse had introduced Du Plessis to Ambrose Monye.
Monye allegedly told Pieterse he had a “job” for him and had someone who wanted a “person to be taken out” and that he would introduce him (Pieterse) to the person.
Later, Monye introduced Pieterse and Du Plessis to André Gouws – a former Sunnyside police officer and apparently a friend of Henning’s estranged husband – at an Engen garage in Walker Street. Gouws had allegedly been following Henning in the fortnight prior to her death.
After the meeting Du Plessis and Pieterse said they followed Gouws on Pieterse’s motorbike to Faerie Glen. There Gouws pointed out where Henning lived and where she would drop off her five-year-old son at nursery school. Documents containing addresses and directions were handed to Pieterse by Gouws.
Pieterse was also given R600 by Monye to buy a firearm. But he and Du Plessis spent the money and later got a firearm from Preshan Singh, a friend and co-worker of Gouws’s.
After a failed attempt to locate the address on the document, Pieterse and Du Plessis met Gouws at a pizza outlet in Sunnyside.
Gouws, they said, wanted the job done on the weekend of November 5 and made it clear to Pieterse and Du Plessis that he did not want Henning’s young son to be hurt.
This is when Gouws apparently received a call from an unknown man who informed him: “The bitch has the baby this weekend”, leading to their putting off the plan.
That weekend, Pieterse and Du Plessis had a disagreement and Du Plessis decided he was not going ahead with the planned hit.
Du Plessis heard later that Pieterse had attempted to carry out the hit on Monday (November 7), but it was unsuccessful due to a mishap with his motorbike.
Du Plessis later received threats that he and his family would be killed if he did not go ahead with the job as agreed.
On the morning of November 8, Pieterse and Du Plessis went to Faerie Glen on Pieterse’s bike and waited for Henning to drop off her son at nursery school.
Du Plessis got off the bike with the .38 special revolver in hand, approached Henning’s car and fired two shots at her.
Du Plessis and Pieterse left the scene on the motorbike.
Later that day, Pieterse informed Monye, who was at court standing trial on a murder charge, that the job had been done.
Several mitigating factors were taken into account by the court before sentencing.
Magistrate Anton Klopper said in both cases, compelling and substantial circumstances existed.
Mitigating factors for Pieterse included the hearing disability of his 16-year-old daughter, who is unable to read and write, and his addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Mitigating factors for Du Plessis included the fact that he handed himself over to police, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after attending to a scene as part of his duties as a constable where an infant was murdered and he is addicted to drugs.
Klopper said Pieterse and Du Plessis had expressed utmost remorse for their offences. - Pretoria News