Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reporter Dan Neeling batting for the DEWANIS , how much has this hack been paid to try and gain the sympathy vote? Since when has a reporter been judge and jury? Neeling can think as he pleases BUT he seems to have forgotten Anni and her family...I wonder if this had been Neelings sister he would be so quick to jump to the defence of 'oh so sweet Shrien Dewan'..of course Dewani is scared who would'nt be..but he had plenty of mouth on his return to England could not wait to tell his versions to the SUN,,,,both of them, lets not forget...NO he goes back to SA and sorts this out...Nice try Clifford but Anni comes first.

A reporter who has come to know Shrien Dewani well since his wife’s murder reveals here why he thinks the witnesses and evidence against him are flawed. His findings make fascinating reading
When Shrien Dewani was rushed to hospital on Sunday rumours spread that he had taken a deliberate overdose.

 Yesterday, as he returned home, his family issued a statement ­saying he had simply had a bad reaction to sleeping tablets. ­Nevertheless, it’s fair to say that the 31-year-old care-home owner from Bristol is at the lowest point of his life.

Widowed just days into his marriage and then accused of murder, he is suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, has lost almost two stone and has become fragile due to depression.

It is just 100 days since the events in a South African township that distorted his life out of all recognition.

 The story of how Shrien Dewani and his bride Anni, 28, were hijacked – and she shot dead – on honeymoon in Cape Town is now well known. Many people, it seems, think he was involved, echoing the views of South Africa’s chief of police, Bheki Cele, who called Dewani a “monkey” who “came all the way from ­London to murder his wife”.

I was the first person to interview Dewani after the horrific events of November 13 last year. I remain the only reporter to have spoken to him unsupervised and since our 45-minute chat two days after the hijacking, I have dedicated myself to the story.

 I have attended every court hearing, read every official document and talked to everyone involved in the case. There is no other reporter who knows the case as well as I do.

So it has been with a growing sense of disquiet and anger that I have seen the traumatised widower I met three months ago turned, in the eyes of the world, into a killer.

 On the evidence I have seen, not only is Dewani unlikely to have killed his wife but he could be the victim of an injustice.


A nni was kidnapped by two gunmen while be- ing driven with her husband through the township of Gugulethu – a dirt-poor sprawl of brick and tin shacks near Cape Town airport – on their way back to their hotel from a meal out.

Swedish-born but of Indian extraction like her husband, she was killed with a single bullet to the neck from a Chinese-made 7.62mm calibre Norinco pistol. Shrien survived after – he says – being pushed out of the VW Sharan taxi about 20 minutes after it was taken.

It is this unusual circumstance that has led Cape Town police to question his version of events. In South Africa it is unheard of for hijackers to let witnesses survive.

The only reason the killers would ditch him was so they could rape Anni but police say there was no sign of sexual assault. The implication is that he must have hired the killers.

But from what I have uncovered about the police case, it seems highly unlikely that any criminal court – British or South African – would agree. “It’s so weak that, as it is at the moment, I doubt it would get anywhere near an English criminal court,” says one of the lawyers involved.

The South Africans seem to have based their case on the ­testimony of the suspects themselves. Their star witness is Zola Tongo, the 31-year-old father-of-five currently serving 18 years in prison after he admitted arranging the hijacking.

Tongo has signed a confession claiming that Dewani approached him at the airport and asked ­ him to find a hitman to murder his wife.

H OWEVER, Tongo is a self-­confessed liar. The fourth charge against him, which he admitted, is “obstructing the administration of justice” by lying to the police.

As Thabo Nogemane, lawyer for another of the subjects, told me: “Tongo was sentenced for lying under oath so obviously his credibility is not good at all.” What’s more, he received at least seven years off his sentence for providing his “helpful” testimony.

Question marks also hang over the prosecution’s second witness, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, one of the two hijackers. Even though he has no previous convictions he is described by the South African police as being one of the hit men in this case.

The other witnesses include a hotel worker who allegedly put Tongo in touch with the killers, plus two men who the police claim hid the gun afterwards. All of them have been offered so called “204 immunity”, meaning that if they testify against Dewani, they won’t be punished.
So much for the “witnesses” – what about the physical evidence?

The main element seems to be CCTV footage of Dewani meeting Tongo four days after the murder and handing over an envelope of money. Why would the grieving widower do such a thing unless he had commissioned the crime?

I’ve met Shrien Dewani. I’ve spoken to his family, his colleagues, his friends and his enemies. My assessment of the man, who is awaiting an extradition hearing later this year, is that while he likes to appear self-assured and worldly he is actually woefully naïve.

He grew up in one of Bristol’s wealthier suburbs, he attended private school – where he was a senior prefect – and he works for his father. As such, he was totally unprepared for the real security concerns of modern South Africa: a place where on average 52 people are murdered a day.

When I spoke to him and asked whether he suspected his taxi driver of having set up the hijacking, he replied: “Initially I had a lot of suspicion… but by the end of it I quite liked him.”
If the guileless Briton was taken in then isn’t it possible that he could have fallen for a sob story a few days later and agreed to pay Tongo the fare they had agreed?

Talk about the Dewani case in South Africa and you risk getting into an argument.

 People here are angry at the violent crime that plagues their country and at being reminded of it by foreigners. They are keen that their country – reborn after the horrors of apartheid – should not be a place where tourists get killed by cab drivers.

By speaking out in support of Dewani I know I risk ridicule if he is eventually found guilty.

 I don’t know everything about the events of November 13 nor do I know the full extent of the police investigation. It could be that detectives have some incontrovertible piece of evidence up their sleeves. His supporters, on the other hand, think that the case against Dewani has more to do with protecting South Africa’s tourism industry.

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