Tuesday, May 3, 2011

'Honeymoon killer told rent boy of his marriage doubts'


A businessman arranged his wife’s murder on their honeymoon six months after telling a male prostitute he had been forced into marriage and “needed to find a way out”, a court heard yesterday.

Shrien Dewani and his wife Anni, who was murdered last November in Cape Town Photo: PA
Shrien Dewani, 31, allegedly told the escort from Munich that his family would disown him unless he agreed to settle down with 28-year-old Anni Hindocha.
The Dewanis married last October in a Hindu ceremony in Mumbai and went on their honeymoon to South Africa. Mrs Dewani was killed in an apparent “carjacking” in Cape Town on Nov 13.
The South African authorities believe that Mr Dewani arranged the killing of his Swedish-born wife and want him to go on trial.
The alleged motive was disclosed on the first day of his extradition hearing at Belmarsh magistrates’ court in south east London, watched by Mrs Dewani’s father, Vinod, who had flown in from Sweden.
Hugo Keith QC, for the Republic of South Africa, told the court that Mr Dewani met the man, who he said was willing to give evidence, in September 2009 and confided in him in April last year.
Mr Keith said: “He said although she was a nice, lovely girl whom he liked, he could not break off the engagement because he would be disowned by his family. He went on to say to the witness that he needed to find a way out of it.”

Sources said the man willing to give evidence has claimed that Mr Dewani paid him for sexual intercourse on three occasions. He has given a statement to South African police. Mr Dewani denies any involvement in his wife’s death, and denied that he met the man.

Mr Dewani is fighting extradition, saying he could be tortured in prison and would not get a fair trial. He has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and is being cared for at a medium secure unit in Bristol, where he lives. He was bailed for the rest of the three-day hearing to return to the clinic.

Mr Dewani allegedly asked Zola Tongo, the driver jailed for 18 years for his role in the killing, if he could find a hitman. Mr Keith said: “Tongo understood that Dewani wanted to have a woman killed. He indicated that he would be prepared to pay 15,000 rand, about £1,375.

“The killing would be designed to look like a random carjacking, that Tongo and Dewani would be ejected unharmed and the victim robbed and murdered.”
The couple’s car was stopped in Gugulethu township by two men, Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, the court was told. Tongo and Mr Dewani were bundled out while Mrs Dewani was killed with a single bullet to the neck. Her body was found the following morning.

Mr Keith said: “Police were suspicious. It seemed strange that neither Tongo nor Mr Dewani were injured, that the couple had chosen to see a township that Tongo knew was dangerous.”

Mngeni and Qwabe will go on trial in June. They identified Tongo, who named Mr Dewani, who was held in Britain on Dec 7. The hearing continues.