Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Henning hit: cop 'confesses'
Henning hit: cop 'confesses'
PERTUNIA RATSATSI, SIPHO MASOMBUKA and CHARL DU PLESSIS | 17 November, 2011 00:36
Chanelle Henning. File photo.
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The suspected Nigerian druglord arrested with three others in connection with the murder of Chanelle Henning has reportedly confessed to his involvement in the hit.
Those close to the feared alleged drug kingpin, known as "The Debt Collector", said the man was often hired as a debt collector, sometimes with brutal consequences for those who did not pay up.
An underworld insider who once worked for the alleged druglord said: "He had four cases of murder, and several of kidnapping and assault, pending against him. But they have all been [swept under the carpet] because of his connections."
It was reported yesterday that the man had ordered the hit on Henning. The 26-year-old teacher was gunned down after dropping her son at Morning Star Montessori preschool in Faerie Glen, East of Pretoria, on Tuesday last week.
Several intelligence community insiders, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed the motive for the murder was financial, and that a person close to Henning supposedly owed the druglord a substantial sum of money.
Pretoria police constable Gerhardus Petrus du Plessis, 34 - who handed himself over to police on Monday night - has reportedly confessed to pulling the trigger.
Du Plessis appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court yesterday under heavy police guard.
The case was assigned to chief magistrate Desmond Nair, who has in the past presided over high-profile cases, including Judge Nkola Motata's drunk-driving trial and the case involving Blue Bulls rugby prop Bees Roux.
Du Plessis was suspended from duty two weeks ago for allegedly stealing two murder dockets from Hercules police station, where he was based.
He entered the courtroom covering his face with a blue T-shirt.
But Nair, who was not pleased, said: "I've never been in a courtroom where I cannot see the face of the accused." Du Plessis removed the T-shirt.
He is facing charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
The case was postponed to November 23. Prosecutor Andrea Johnson said more time was needed to "procure material evidence that could be lost if the accused were released".
Johnson asked the court to order that Du Plessis be held at Garsfontein police cells instead of at Pretoria Central prison.
Acting Gauteng police commissioner Nobesuthu Masiye said yesterday that a further three suspects, aged between 20 and 34, were arrested on Tuesday.
The alleged druglord is among them.
Masiye said the stolen firearm used in the murder had been recovered, but the motorbike used by the assassins had not been found.
Asked about the alleged druglord, Masiye said: "We can confirm that the victim in this case was never on drugs."
'Upsetting' that cop held in Chanelle case
Suspended policeman Gerhardus du Plessis, who has admitted pulling the trigger in the attack in which Chanélle Henning died, is taken from the Pretoria Magistrate's Court to a waiting police vehicle. (Theana Breugem, Beeld)
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Johannesburg - Constable Gerhardus du Plessis, arrested in connection with the murder of Chanelle Henning, was the 503rd policeman to be arrested in Gauteng since last October, Beeld reported on Thursday.
"It is upsetting that one of our own was taken into custody," said Major General Tebello Mosikili, the deputy provincial commissioner of detective services.
She praised the officers who apprehended the group believed to be connected to Henning's death, and the community for the information provided to the police.
"If we could always have such members of the community who help us with cases, we would not have a problem with crime," she said.
Henning was shot after she dropped her son off at school in Faerie Glen, a suburb in Tshwane, last Tuesday.
Du Plessis, 34, appeared in court in connection with her murder on Wednesday. He has been suspended from the police.
The National Prosecuting Authority said three other people were expected to appear in court on Thursday.
Read more on: police | gerhardus du plessis | chanelle henning | pretoria | crime