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Honeymoon murder: Indian-origin couple not officially married  

Shrien & Anni Dewani


Honeymoon murder: Shrien Dewani to be extradited to South Africa

London, Aug 10, 2011: Shrien Dewani, the husband of Indian-origin woman Anni Dewani, who was murdered while on their honeymoon in Cape Town, will be extradited to South Africa to stand trial, a British court has ruled.

Anni, 28, an engineer from Sweden, and 31-year-old Shrien were ambushed by two armed men in their taxi during their honeymoon in November last year. Dewani was forced out of the car unharmed but his wife was found shot dead the following day.
South African police believe Dewani paid the taxi driver to have Anni killed and make it look like a carjacking.
Dewani, a businessman from Bristol who is undergoing psychiatric treatment at a mental health hospital, has argued he was mentally unfit to stand trial. Hugo Keith, representing the South African authorities, said there was a chance Dewani's condition would improve and his illness should not prevent his extradition in any case, the daily Telegraph reported.
District Judge Howard Riddle of the Belmarsh magistrate's court announced Tuesday that he will sanction Dewani's extradition.
Dewani's lawyers claim that if jailed, he would face inhumane conditions in South Africa's overcrowded jails. The South African government has also assured that Dewani would only be held in healthy prisons. It also guaranteed a single cell with a lavatory and hot and cold running water. Zola Tongo, the taxi driver, has been sentenced to jail for 18 years after he confessed taking part in the murder of Anni. He named Dewani as the mastermind.

Anni Dewani's killer down with cancer

London, July 13 (IANS) An alleged killer of Indian-origin woman Anni Dewani, who was murdered during her honeymoon in South Africa, is on his death bed with brain cancer, a media report said. Xolile Mngeni, 23, is said to have shot dead the 28-year-old Anni on the orders of her newly-married husband Shrien, a businessman based in Bristol. The alleged hitman is crucial to the case against murder suspect Shrien, sources said. Mngeni had brain surgery a month ago but it failed to stop the growth of the tumour and he may have only days to live, they said. South African prosecutors fear Mngeni may die before they can question him in a Cape Town court next month. Prosecutor Vusi Tshabalala said: 'I will only know on the day of his appearance if he will be in court.' Mngeni originally told police he was involved in the contract killing plot, but later retracted it claiming he confessed under police


Husband plotted Indian woman's murder with text messages

London, July 12: The husband of Indian-origin woman Anni Dewani, who was killed during her honeymoon in South Africa, plotted her murder by sending phone text messages even as his wife sat next to him in the taxi, the driver has claimed.

Shrien Dewani plotted his wife's death as she looked at their honeymoon photos, The Sun reported.

Zola Tongo - the South African taxi driver - said the Indian-origin British businessman sent a message assuring him he would be paid for organising a 'hit' on the 28-year-old Anni.

All three were in Zola's taxi near Cape Town when the text messages were sent as Anni browsed pictures on her camera, the driver's lawyer told Channel 4's 'Dispatches' programme. Dewani, 31, a resident of Bristol, denies involvement in the murder. He is fighting extradition to South Africa......IANS/

Dewani murder suspects say police tortured them for confession  

London, Feb 18, 2011: Two South African nationals, accused in the carjack murder of Indian-origin woman Anni Dewani during her honeymoon in Cape Town, have now claimed that the police tortured them for their confessions.

Mzwamadoda Qwabe, 26, said he was punched and kicked as he was arrested, then beaten with a heavy torch before he signed his confession, the Daily Telegraph reported.

In the confession, he said he was told by the couple's taxi driver "the husband (Shrien Dewani) wanted the wife killed and (we) had to make it look like a carjacking and robbery".

His account was similar to that given to police by Zola Tongo, the taxi driver, who testified in court that he and his accomplices were paid 15,000 rand ($2,100) by Shrien, 31, a businessman from Bristol, to kill Anni.

Tongo was also able to lead police to the casing for the bullet used in the murder, and the murder weapon itself.

Another accused Xolile Mngeni, 23, has alleged he was suffocated with a plastic bag before signing a statement admitting his involvement in the killing.

The 28-year-old Anni, an engineer from Sweden, was found dead on the back seat of the taxi the day after the attack Nov 13. She had been shot once in the neck.

Her husband, Shrien, is now facing extradition to South Africa to face charges of organising the murder - a claim he strongly denies.

Qwabe's lawyer, Thabo Nogemane, said his client had an alibi and had nothing to do with what happened.

"I am instructed that some unknown police officer assaulted him by means of a big torch. He was hit all over his body. He said the statement was a suggestion put to him by the police," he told The Guardian.

"They already had the allegations so they told him: 'Just sign here.' I wouldn't refer to it as a confession, just a statement."

Vusi Tshabalala, lawyer for Mngeni, said his client had also been abused and suggested police resorted to "irregular methods" because of the pressure they were under to solve the high-profile case.

"In the process of interrogating him, police would physically assault him with fists and use a plastic bag to suffocate him. He was frightened," he said.

Swedish-born Anni's uncle Ashok said the slow progress of the judicial process was "torture".

"It's like salt in the wounds that opened up with her death. We wake up in the mornings thinking of Anni and by the end of the day we're still waiting for answers. We need closure," he said.

"There is no joy left in our family. It must be the same for the Dewanis. Why doesn't he just end everyone's suffering, including his own, by voluntarily getting on a plane to South Africa? That is my big question at the moment."...IANS/


South African cops say motive behind Indian-origin bride's murder found  

London, Jan 19, 2011: The investigators probing the murder of an Indian-origin woman who was killed during her honeymoon in Cape Town have discovered the motive behind the killing, the South African police chief has said.

South Africa's chief of police ­General Bheki Cele said that investigators knew why Shrien Dewani, 31, allegedly took out a contract to kill his wife Anni in November last year when the couple was on their honeymoon tour.

According to British newspaper the Daily Express, the official declined to reveal the alleged evidence but said it is set to emerge at an extradition hearing in London Thursday.

Shrien was said to be "deeply hurt" by the allegations, the daily said.

Shrien's spokesman Max Clifford was quoted as saying: "This is the most powerful man in the South African police. This clearly demonstrates why we are concerned about what would ­happen to Shrien if he goes back to South Africa. What chance does he have of justice when the chief of police has condemned him?"

The claim comes after Shrien's friends said he was considering returning voluntarily to South Africa to stand trial over his wife's death.

Swedish-born Anni, 28, was shot dead Nov 13 after ­gunmen hijacked their taxi as the couple drove through a notorious township in Cape Town.

Shrien, a millionaire from Bristol, has repeatedly denied allegations he staged the kidnap and paid their driver Zola Tongo 1,400 pounds for the crime.

Tongo, 31, was one of three men arrested in connection with the murder. He later made a plea bargain with prosecutors, claiming in court he had arranged for the gunmen to stage a carjacking after the victim's husband offered him 1,400 pounds to murder his wife. Tongo was jailed for 18 years.

Shrien's family members and friends claim police targeted him to detract attention from the country's appalling crime rate.

General Cele told South ­Africa's station: "We are very satisfied with the facts we have. Until we are out there in court, we can't put out there what is our motive. We are having this hearing in the UK and if it needs to come out there, it will be fine. I don't think it will be really proper for me to come out with a motive here."

A South African police spokesman said: "We have a very strong case. We are confident we have everything we need for the ­extradition hearing."

General Cele is an outspoken ­figure, a career politician who had no policing experience before ­taking his post last year. After Shrien was named as a suspect, the policeman described him as a "monkey who came from London to kill his wife here".

Clifford said: "He has already branded Shrien a 'murdering ­monkey'. Now he has tried and convicted him. You can understand why the family are so apprehensive about what awaits them if they go back to South Africa.".....IANS/



Hubby's lawyers to say Indian-origin woman shot accidentally  

London, Dec 19, 2010: Lawyers hired by a honeymoon murder accused, Indian-origin British businessman Shrien Dewani, say they have evidence suggesting his newly-married wife was "accidentally" killed during a carjacking incident in Cape Town.

Anni, a 28-year-old engineering graduate of Ugandan-Indian descent from Sweden, was killed in Cape Town Nov 13 when two men hijacked the car she and Shrien were travelling in. Shrien was let go by the attackers.

Dewani allegedly offered a taxi driver 1,400 pounds to arrange for Anni to be shot dead in a staged carjacking, according to claims outlined by a prosecutor in South Africa.

Now Shrien's lawyers would claim Anni was shot dead accidentally by her abductor as he tried to rape her, The Daily Telegraph reported.

This would help to falsify the theory that Anni was executed by hitmen hired by Shrien.

Ballistics and forensics experts commissioned by Dewani's defence team have found that the single bullet which killed Anni passed first through her hand and then into her neck, severing an artery.

The autopsy also shows Anni's killer had at one stage grabbed her leg, suggesting she may have struggled and that the gun may have gone off accidentally.

"There is a clear grip mark on her lower leg and the wound doesn't look like an execution style one. It looks like the gun could have been accidentally discharged in circumstances where they were threatening to rape her," a legal source said.

This evidence will be used in the British courts to try and block South Africa's attempts to extradite the 30-year-old businessman.

The lawyers will also argue that Dewani will not receive a fair trial in South Africa following a number of prejudicial comments.

A close relative said: "Shrien has been rocked by people in senior positions in South Africa with influence and power referring to him as a monkey, a murderer and evil."

"Comments by these people have not added to the confidence we should have in the administration of justice in South Africa. We are fearful of lots of things and the actions of those around us are compounding and adding to that fear."

The relative said claims that the two men accused of murdering Anni confessed only after being beaten and tortured. One of the men claimed to have had a plastic bag pulled over his head during questioning. This has only added to Dewani's concerns about being forced to return to South Africa to face trial.

Dewani's relative suggested the businessman was being set up to preserve South Africa's reputation among tourists.

"Tourism is obviously a huge revenue stream for the South Africans and I would expect them to do everything possible to protect that revenue."

"I think this whole thing has turned into something much bigger than anyone ever expected and the sad thing is it has distracted from the real truth which is Anni has been taken away from us and we don't know why or what happened," the relative said.

"Shrien is devastated. He can't sleep he is getting playbacks of what happened and he is conscious his future has been taken away from him."

Dewani's family has also released video footage of the couple enjoying their first dance at their wedding in October as further evidence that the couple were "madly in love with each other".

The minute-long compilation shows Dewani and his new bride smiling and laughing together.

The family says it is further proof there were no marital problems which could have led Dewani to have his bride murdered..........IANS/
Fifth suspect held in South Africa honeymoon murder  

London, Dec 12, 2010 The South African police have picked up a fifth suspect for questioning in the murder of an Indian-origin woman while honeymooning in that country, a media report said Sunday.

Former hotel worker Monde Mbolombo has been named in the documents as a suspected fixer in the killing of bride Anni Dewani, the Daily Express reported.

Driver Zola Tongo, 31, jailed for 18 years for admitting his part in the plot, claimed that Mbolombo put him in touch with a hit-man.

Mbolombo, who until Nov 30 worked at the Protea Hotel Colosseum in Cape Town, has turned state witness. This move came after British-born millionaire Shrien Dewani, 30, was granted 250,000-pound bail in London.

Dewani, an India-origin man, posed for pictures outside the family home Saturday in Bristol. He denies any part in his wife's death Nov 13.

Swedish-born Anni, 28, was found shot dead the day after two men ambushed Tongo's taxi, dumping him and Dewani.

Mzwamadoda Qwabe, 26, and Xolile Mngeni, 23, face trial for murder, robbery and kidnap...IANS/NRIpress.ccom


Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani gets bail  

London, Dec 10, 2010: Shrien Dewani, an Indian-origin man based in Britain accused of hiring a hitman to kill his bride while on honeymoon in South Africa, was granted bail, a media report said Friday.

The South African authorities want to extradite wealthy businessman Shrien Dewani, 30, for conspiracy to murder his newly wed wife Anni, 28.

She was found dead in the back of an abandoned taxi in a Cape Town township with a single bullet wound to her neck November 13.

Lawyers for the South Africans argued that there were substantial grounds for suspecting Dewani would not surrender for an extradition hearing later this month if he is allowed bail.

However, High Court judge Ouseley Friday disagreed with their accusations and allowed the Bristol care home owner's bail application, reported.

Dewani, who is held at London's Wandsworth prison, is now due to be released from custody on stringent bail conditions and the payment of a 250,000-pound cash surety.

Dewani, from Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol, faces electronic tagging, home curfew and having to report daily to the police.

'Man paid money to have his Indian-origin wife killed'  

London, Dec 7, 2010: A British businessman, whose Indian-origin wife was shot dead while the couple were on honeymoon in South Africa, paid to have her killed, a South African court has heard.

Shrien Dewani allegedly offered his taxi driver 1,300 pounds to have his newlywed wife Anni killed, the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town, South Africa, has heard, the Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday.

Anni, the 28-year-old engineering graduate of Ugandan-Indian descent from Sweden, was killed in Cape Town Nov 13 when two men hijacked the car she and her Indian-origin British husband were travelling in.

The dramatic twist came as state prosecutor Rodney de Kock outlined the terms of a plea bargain deal agreed with Zola Tongo, the taxi driver hired by Shrien to drive the couple around Nov 13.

He told the court: "The alleged hijacking was in fact not a hijacking, but part of a plan of subterfuge which Shrien Dewani, the husband of the deceased, and the accused had designed to conceal the true facts, to wit: that the deceased was murdered at the instance of her husband."

Shrien, 30, and his wife were driving back to their five-star hotel in central Cape Town when they agreed to take a detour through Gugulethu, which is one of Cape Town's most impoverished townships.

But within three minutes of leaving the motorway, two gunmen hijacked the taxi.

According to Shrien, after they had robbed the couple of all their valuables, the men kicked him out of the taxi. His wife's body was discovered several hours later in the back of the abandoned taxi.

Three men have so far been arrested in connection with the incident. Besides the 31-year-old driver, the other two are Xolile Mngeni, 23, and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25.

The three South Africans have been charged with murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

De Kock said that Tongo had first taken the couple from Cape Town International Airport to the Cape Grace Hotel on the City's waterfront Nov 12, the day before the killing.

After their arrival, Shrien allegedly told Tongo to procure a hitman to have "a woman" killed for 15,000 rand (about 1,300 pounds).

In a confession read out to the court, Tongo said: "After we arrived at the hotel, Shrien Dewani approached me alone and asked me if I knew anyone that could 'have a client of his taken off the scene'."

"After some discussion with him, I understood that he wanted someone, a woman, killed.

"He said he was willing to pay an amount of 15,000 rand. Shrien Dewani said he had US dollars and could pay in US dollars."

"We agreed that Shrien Dewani and I would be ejected from the vehicle and that the female occupant had to be killed," Tongo claimed.

"I also knew that the deceased would be kidnapped, robbed and murdered... after Shrien Dewani had been ejected from the vehicle in accordance with the plan," said Tongo.

Tongo was jailed for 18 years and is expected to give evidence against Mngeni, 23, and Qwabe when they go on trial next year.

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority declined to comment on whether it would now be seeking Shrien's extradition.

Shrien's spokesman, Max Clifford, said: "It's ludicrous and outrageous to suggest that Shrien had involvement whatsoever in his wife's death."

"We were warned to expect what has happened today because our South African lawyers said this is often how cases develop there. I spoke to Shrien a short while ago and he is beside himself." ...........IANS/

London, Dec 4, 2010 In a new twist in the killing of an Indian-origin woman in South Africa during her honeymoon tour, the victim's father has revealed that the couple's wedding was yet to be registered.

Anni, 28, was found dead after she was abducted by two gunmen while travelling in a taxi along with her partner Shrien Dewani in Western Cape. The British couple flew into South Africa for their honeymoon.

But the lavish 200,000-pound "marriage" they went through in Mumbai in November in the presence of 300 guests was never officially registered there or anywhere else, the Daily Mail reported Saturday.

The newspaper said it has confirmed with the British high commission in India that the union was never registered, and therefore would not have been recognised in either Britain or Sweden.

From his home in Sweden, Anni's father said: "My wife and I are Anni's closest relatives - not Shrien. She was not formally married to Shrien."

"According to the authorities (in Britain and Sweden), Anni was still Miss Hindocha when she died. The marriage registration was not going to happen until March next year, when Anni had her birthday in Britain and they switched rings, which is our custom."

A letter, sent this week to the Mail from people claiming to be Anni's friends, asked troubling questions about Anni's late-night abduction in a dangerous black township of Gugulethu, several miles from their Cape Town hotel.

Shrien said that nine hours earlier he was thrown out of the "back window" of the same taxi at gunpoint and left, bewildered and alone, to sound the alarm.

One friend of Shrien whom the couple invited to India says: "It was a lavish event at an expensive hotel which has lawns running down to a lake. Guests flew in from London with Shrien and Anni. Everyone believed they were a couple made for each other."

On the flight back home to London, it appears the couple were not on speaking terms. A woman claiming to be an air hostess on the flight has said that Anni looked unhappy and was in tears.

"One of my colleagues brought her some tissues," she recalls. "The couple did not speak one word to each other during the nine-hour flight. We all noticed and found this strange."

The disturbing account was posted on a website and written under the hostess's first name.

People are asking two questions -- could a grown man fit through the rear passenger­window, as Shrien says he did? And having been through such an ordeal, how come his clothes were not torn, or his shoes dirtied?

A letter received by the Mail, and signed by "the devoted friends and acquaintances of our beloved Anni", says she knew Nigeria and Kenya well, contradicting Shrien's suggestion that she had never been to Africa before.

"It is beyond comprehension that Anni ­suggested seeing "the real Africa" in such a dangerous area at such a late hour," says the ­letter. "She was an intelligent and smart girl."

The letter, sent by post, was unsigned, but ­written in perfect English and typed out.

It adds: "We believe the South African investigation may be a whitewash, and Anni's demise is highly mysterious."

Shrien, an accountant, has not been called back to South Africa by police to attend an identity parade of three local men who have now been charged with kidnap, robbery and murder.

South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper recently reported that Shrien Dewani "will be arrested and charged" in connection with Anni's murder if he returns to the country.............IANS/

Honeymoon murder: Husband won't return to South Africa for probe

London, Nov 26-An Indian-origin man whose newly-wedded wife was murdered while they were honeymooning in South Africa, would not return to that country, his publicist said Friday after a media report claimed he was wanted by the police for questioning.

A South African newspaper claimed Friday that detectives want the millionaire businessman, 31, to return to Cape Town for questioning over the killing of his 28-year-old bride.

Shrien Dewani, who flew into South Africa from Britain with his wife Anni Dewani for their honeymoon, will not return to that country, the Daily Mail reported citing his publicist Max Clifford Friday.

Clifford said: "This poor man has been through a living nightmare. To be clear, Shrien has not been told that he is being considered a suspect."

"In fact, the police have told him he is not a suspect. He has told the police he will cooperate fully with their investigation and, of course, he will do so."

Clifford added: "Every day we are hearing more bogus claims and lies. It has been said Shrien will return to South Africa but I can tell you he is at home and under sedation after the shock he has been through."

Dewani had told the world media how he was dragged away screaming from his wife after being attacked by gunmen as they visited a Cape Town township Nov 13.

She was found dead on the back seat of the vehicle the next day, four days into the couple's honeymoon.

The Mail & Guardian has alleged that suspicions have swung towards the groom and added that the National Prosecuting Authority would begin extradition proceedings if the Bristol-based care home boss refused to fly back for questioning.

The claim follows days of speculation over the circumstances which led to the Dewanis being hijacked as they were taken on a late-night detour through the Gugulethu township.

Dewani has insisted that he was the innocent victim when two gunmen held up their taxi around 11 p.m., before forcing the driver out of the vehicle.

The trained accountant said he was also later thrown out of the Volkswagen Sharan and that the hijackers then drove off with his wife.

Friends earlier this week said he feared being "set up" by South African police who were under political pressure to pin the murder on someone outside of the country.

Three men have since been arrested and charged over the tragedy, including the taxi driver.

The newspaper claimed suspicions over the Briton's alleged involvement in the murder were increased when a post-mortem examination revealed Anni Dewani had not been sexually assaulted.

Officers were reportedly also puzzled about the relatively
low value of items stolen from the couple.

The paper quoted an unnamed legal source who also questioned why the entrepreneur had not returned to South Africa to pick his alleged attackers out of an identity parade.

The source said: "If I was him, I would be hotfooting it over on a plane to identify them."


NRI Dewani, British honeymooner hijacked and murdered
in South African township was not sexually assaulted

Johannesburg, Nov. 17, 2010
Satnam Kaur

South African police said:

  • After post-mortem, there is no indication of sexual assault
  • She was shot to death after took the taxi

South Africa arrests man for killing Indian-origin woman on honeymoon  

Pretoria, Nov 17, 2010

In a major breakthrough, the South African police have arrested a man involved in the brutal murder of a newly-wed Indian-origin woman who was in the country with her husband for their honeymoon.

The couple who flew into the country from Britain was abducted in a taxi in which they were travelling before the woman was murdered.

The police Wednesday formally arrested a 26-year-old man after he was detained for questioning Tuesday in connection with the case, BuaNews reported.

Police spokesman Captain Frederick Van Wyk said the man will appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court Thursday.

Anni Dewani and her husband Shrien Dewani were honeymooning in the Western Cape when they were hijacked while heading to Gugulethu Saturday night.

The couple were in a taxi owned by a shuttle service company when they were attacked by two armed men at an intersection.

The driver was forced out of the vehicle and the gunmen sped off with the couple still inside the vehicle.

At some point, Shrien Dewani was also forced out of the vehicle, who later alerted police about the hijacking.

A search for the hijacked vehicle led police to Lingelethu West, where Anni Dewani's body was found on the back seat of the vehicle.

Van Wyk said a post-mortem was carried out Monday and her body was released to family members Tuesday.

Details of the post-mortem would only be released once it was presented as evidence in court, he added.

Police are still on the hunt for another suspect. Van Wyk appealed to people to help the police if they have any information related to the case.....NRIpress/IANS





Shrien and Anni Dewani in their wedding day in India

  • In a confession read to the Western Cape high court, Tongo, 31, who has become a state witness in the investigation into the murder on 13 November, claims Dewani paid him 1,000 rand (about £92) for staging a car jacking that would end in the murder of his wife in a township.

    But Tongo, who claims he had initially been offered 5,000 rand for organising the killing, was found guilty of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder and obstructing justice. Judge John Hope sentenced him to 18 years in prison.