Extradited Briton Shrien Dewani charged in South African court with ordering wife's murder

After long battle, Shrien Dewani will face charge of killing wife in a staged Cape Town carjacking

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 8:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 1:04am


South Africa yesterday charged extradited British businessman Shrien Dewani with ordering his wife's murder during their 2010 honeymoon in Cape Town and remanded him to a psychiatric hospital.

After losing a three-year extradition fight, Dewani, 34, arrived in South Africa yesterday and was promptly brought to a Cape Town court. He sat expressionless as Judge John Hlophe ruled that he would be remanded to custody at the nearby Valkenberg mental institution.

He said only "yes" when asked by the judge if he could hear what was being said.

"The state and defence have agreed that the matter will be postponed until 12 May and that accused be remanded in custody," said state prosecutor Rodney de Kok. "We have agreed that Mr Dewani will be transferred in custody to the Valkenberg hospital."

Dewani was formally charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating the ends of justice by the country's elite crime-fighting unit, the Hawks.

Dewani denies ordering the killing of his 28-year-old Swedish bride, Anni, in Cape Town in November 2010. He claims the couple were kidnapped at gunpoint during their honeymoon as they drove through the Gugulethu township in a taxi.He was released unharmed, but his wife's body was found shot dead in the abandoned car the next day.

Prosecutors allege Dewani hired South African Xolile Mngeni to kill Anni. Mngeni was jailed for life for the murder in December 2012. Two other men also jailed for the killing claim that Dewani ordered the hit.

Anish Hindocha, Anni's brother, said the delay in extraditing Dewani had been "very frustrating" but expressed hope that he would finally see justice for his sister.

"It has been very difficult for my family," Hindocha said. "We are just focusing on this case at the moment and it is hard to even start to make the grieving process for Anni yet because there are so many questions."

He went on: "It has been a nightmare. I can't sleep at night, I can't even work. The only focus I have is getting justice for her.

"We hope we get it. Now, today, he is getting extradited and that is one step closer towards what we are seeking for her, that is justice for her."

Members of Anni Dewani's family are planning to attend the trial. Hindocha said supporters had offered them free accommodation in South Africa.

"People are being very, very supportive," he said.