'He did it for money'

17 February 2012 - 02:54 By PERTUNIA RATSATSI

ANDRÉ Gouws killed Pretoria mother Chanelle Henning for financial gain, a prosecutor argued yesterday.

Chanelle Henning. File photo.
Chanelle Henning. File photo.
Chanelle Henning. File photo.
Chanelle Henning. File photo.

During his closing arguments in Gouws's bail application, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the only benefit to Gouws wasfinancial.

Nel argued that Gouws, a close friend of Henning's estranged husband, Nico - and who had been following her for months before the murder - had been paid to kill her.

"What could he benefit by spying on the deceased unless he was paid for his efforts?

"He is a jobless, penniless and homeless man. We are dealing with a penniless person who killed a young mother on her way to earn a salary," Nel said.

"Based on his financial status, he killed her because he knew that he would get paid for it. If this man arranged the killing on his own, then he is a wicked man."

Henning was shot dead after dropping off her son at a preschool east of Pretoria on November 8. She and her husband were in the middle of a divorce and a battle for custody of their four-year-old son.

Gouws, a former policeman, was arrested with former Nigerian Olympic athlete Ambrose Monye, former policeman Gerhardus du Plessis, Willem Pieterse and Preshan Singh.

Pieterse and Du Plessis admitted to Henning's murder. Singh, who provided the gun used, was released on R5000 bail in November.

Monye allegedly ordered the hit and Gouws allegedly pointed out where the young mother lived and worked, and the school her son attended.

Nel said Gouws had been in financial difficulties. He had made only two bond repayments in 2011 and his work as a debt collector was non-existent.

He said Henning's murder was a cold-blooded assassination.

"Based on the evidence we have, Gouws was the mastermind behind the murder because he arranged it. The question remains: Why did he kill her?"

Giving testimony earlier, investigating officer Captain Petrus van der Spuy said Nico Henning was the only person who could have benefitted from his wife's murder.

Gouws had allegedly paid R10 000 into Monye's bank account.

Gouws has testified that the money was payment for a ring for his girlfriend, but Nel said it made no sense that he would pay R10 000 for a ring when he could not afford his bond repayments.

Bank account records show that Gouws withdrew R44 000 on the day of the murder. Nel said he used this to pay Monye for the killing.

"Cellphone signals show he withdrew the money and went to Sunnyside [in Pretoria], and Monye was also in Sunnyside.

"He went to Sunnyside to pay Monye for the job."

Nel said a conviction and long-term imprisonment were not avoidable and Gouws knew that.

Gouws's lawyer, Anel Jacobs, said the state's case was weak and its only evidence was given by "doubtful self-confessed drug addicts and alcoholics who committed other crimes".

"The state was trying to coerce Gouws to enter into a plea agreement," said Jacobs.

The case was postponed to March2 for judgment.