Henning murder accused ‘a danger to society’

2012-01-24 16:29
A man accused of arranging the murder of Pretoria mother Chanelle Henning had tumultuous relationships with two former spouses.

Andre Gouws allegedly fired shots at his first ex-wife in 1994, investigating officer Captain Petrus van der Spuy testified in the Pretoria Regional Court.

His second wife, who lives in Free State, obtained an interdict against him in 2007 after a spate of “threatening and manipulative” text messages.

Van der Spuy said Gouws’ debt collecting business appeared to be almost non-existent.

He said Gouws had told a prospective client he collected debts for his clients by taking pictures of debtor’s families and children and then sending the photographs to extract the debt.

Van der Spuy described Gouws as “a danger to society and (who) does not respect the country’s laws”.

The officer was giving evidence in opposition to a bail application by Gouws.

He testified that phone records indicated Gouws had sent Henning’s estranged husband, Nico, two text messages on the day Henning was murdered.

Police picked up the messages from detailed billing records obtained from the cellular phone company, but they had been deleted from Gouws’ phone.

Last week, the court was told that Gouws was called from Nico Henning’s phone on the weekend before the murder.

In the trial of former policeman Gerhardus du Plessis and Willem Martinus Pieterse, the court heard the caller instructed Gouws to postpone the hit scheduled for that weekend because “the bitch had the baby this weekend”.

Du Plessis and Pieterse were convicted on December 14 of the murder and jailed for 18 years under a plea-bargain.

The Hennings had the son, aged five at the time of his mother’s murder.

The couple had previously been embroiled in a custody dispute, which Chanelle won.

According to Gouws’ affidavit, read to the court by his lawyer, he intended pleading not guilty to the charges when the trial starts.

He said he was severely assaulted when he was arrested, and again later during his detention.

Today, however, Van der Spuy told the court that Gouws refused to vacate his cell to allow prison warders to conduct a standard search.

He said the warders had used the “necessary means” to get him to vacate his cell.

In his affidavit, he stated he was the custodian for his 70-year-old mother to whom he gave financial support.

However, Van der Spuy said today that investigations had revealed that Gouws’ mother lived with his sister in Port Elizabeth and had done so since last month.

Prior to that, according to the detective, she lived in Alberton, east of Johannesburg, up until the sale of her house there.

Van der Spuy said that Gouws’ mother had given the money to her son. “The money is gone,” he said.

Chanelle was shot by two men on a motorbike while driving in Faerie Glen in the east of Pretoria on Tuesday of November 8 2011, moments after she dropped off her son at the Morning Star Montessori creche.