Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chloe Spelling ' It's been a disaster'

Shrien Dewani 'may be prepared to return to South Africa for murder trial'

The husband of murdered honeymooner Anni Dewani may be prepared to return voluntarily to South Africa to stand trial, a close friend said.

Anni Dewani (left) and Shrien Dewani
Anni Dewani (left) and Shrien Dewani Photo: GEOFF PUGH
Bristol businessman Shrien Dewani, who is accused of ordering his wife's murder, has so far resisted attempts to extradite him.
Mrs Dewani, 28, from Sweden, was shot when the taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town on November 13.
A friend of Mr Dewani told BBC Inside Out West the 31-year-old has not ruled out returning to South Africa to clear his name if certain guarantees can be made.
They include being given bail up to the point of final appeal, if one is needed, as well as freedom of movement to help him build his defence case.
Hasmukh Velji Shah, who was said to be speaking with the support of the Dewani family, said: ''There are certain issues and questions and guarantees which must be answered and given, such as if Shrien had to go to South Africa, would he be given bail?
''It is for Shrien's legal team and the South African authorities to discuss this and agree a mutually agreed programme.''
Mr Shah first met Mr Dewani when he was a student at the University of Manchester and said he thinks of him as family.
He told the programme that Mr Dewani, from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, is confident he can clear his name if he stands trial.
Mr Shah said the Dewani family were looking for answers to a number of questions before deciding whether the businessman would return to South Africa voluntarily.
The revelation that Mr Dewani may negotiate a return to South Africa comes as a holidaymaker who befriended Mrs Dewani said the couple were acting "strangely" while on their honeymoon.
Chloe Spelling, 23, met the couple while staying at the same luxury safari camp near South Africa's Kruger national park.
"They weren't at all flirtatious. They never kissed. It seemed like Anni was more smitten with Shrien," she told the News of the World.
Miss Spelling, from South Africa, said she was puzzled by Mr Dewani's "odd" response during a conversation shortly after his wife's death.
She said: "I told him 'I'm really sorry about Anni', but all he said was 'It's been a total disaster from start to finish'.
"I thought it was an odd thing to say and I couldn't understand how calm he was. I thought 'This man doesn't sound upset'."
Mr Dewani has been accused of ordering a hit squad to kill his new wife during their honeymoon in Cape Town.
His wife was found dead in the back of an abandoned cab with a bullet wound to her neck after cabbie Zola Tongo drove the newlyweds to the dangerous Cape Town township of Gugulethu.
His vehicle was hijacked and he and Mr Dewani were ejected before Mrs Dewani was driven off and killed.
In a plea bargain with the South African authorities, Tongo claimed Mr Dewani offered him 15,000 rand (£1,400) for the killing.
Tongo, 31, from Bothasig, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and perverting the course of justice.
Xolile Mnguni, 23, and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25, who are charged with murder, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances, will appear before Wynberg Regional Court on February 25.
The South African authorities have requested that Mr Dewani be extradited from the UK to answer the allegations in court.
Mr Dewani, who is currently on bail and living at home in Bristol, is due to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on January 20 for the next stage of the extradition process.
* Inside Out West is on BBC One in the West of England at 7.30pm tonight and on BBC1 HD across the rest of the UK.