Shrien Dewani Trial: 10 Unanswered Questions About The Honeymoon Murder

Shrien Dewani Trial: 10 Unanswered Questions About The Honeymoon Murder


by Zoe Beaty |
Published on

Shrien and Anni Dewani on their wedding day

Finally, after four years in the waiting - and countless hearings - yesterday Shrien Dewani stood for the first time in court accused of arranging his wife's murder. Anni Dewani was shot and killed on November 13 2010, her lifeless body left in a taxi by the side of the road. Dewani claims that their taxi was hijacked out of the blue just days after they were married in a lavish ceremony in Mumbai as the pair travelled down a dangerous road in a township near to Cape Town. However the prosecution say that Anni's murder was a callous plot constructed by Dewani to kill his wife. Anni's family hope the trial, which is taking place at the Western Cape Crown Court and expected to last until late December, will provide long-anticipated answers to the mystery of the honeymoon murder - but what are the questions we're still asking?

**1. What is he charged with?


He is facing trial on five charges relating to the murder of his wife. They are: conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.**


2. Why would he do it?

There have been many questions raised over Shrien Dewani's motive to plot his wife's murder: his sexuality had been under scrutiny until the trial began yesterday and Dewani made a statement saying he is bisexual. The defence had been anticipating evidence from a German sex worker, Leopold Leisler, who claimed he had sessions with Dewani who allegedly confessed to Leisler he was desperate for a 'way out' of his marriage and feared he would be 'disowned' by his family.

His finances have been called into question, as has Anni's happiness in the relationship following rumours that she was crying on the plane over to South Africa and from a series of texts she sent before the wedding saying that she would be 'unhappy for the rest of my life' and, whilst on honeymoon, that 'it has been one day and I feel exactly the same'. But none of these potential motives have proved reliable so far.

3. How and when did he allegedly 'hire' the killers?

It's claimed by taxi driver Tongo that Dewani spoke to him about arranging the murder less than 45 minutes after the couple arrived in Cape Town. He says Dewani approached him about the plot after he picked the couple up at the airport. Tongo alleges that Dewani offered him 15,000 Rand to have his wife killed.

Shrien Dewani in court

*Shrien Dewani at Western Cape Crown Court yesterday [**Rex]

4. Why would the gunmen let Dewani and the taxi driver go unharmed when they would be key witnesses to the crime?

No one knows. Dewani says that they pushed him out of a window, holding a gun to his head, around 40 minutes after the car was hijacked. He's been criticised for not fighting hard enough to stay in the car to protect his wife - but is he a murderer, or simply a coward?

5. What's the key evidence?

There is, apparently, CCTV footage of Dewani speaking to Tongo for a total of 29 minutes before the murder, which prosecutors are alleging was the moment that Dewani sealed the deal. However, it was also claimed by taxi driver Tongo that Dewani had been arranging the murder with him via text message, it was later found that these messages didn't exist.

6. Why did they travel into dangerous areas on the night in question?

Dewani says that the couple changed their restaurant reservations last minute, asking their driver, Tongo, to take them somewhere more casual as they weren’t as hungry as anticipated. Dewani told reporters after Anni’s death that she wanted to visit the townships to see ‘real Africa’, away from their plush hotel. But why would Dewani allow this to happen if he knows the violent nature of South Africa’s townships after dark as he has claimed?

7. Why didn't Dewani stay in the car?

Whilst much criticism has been aimed at Dewani for leaving his new wife with their attackers, he says that he was forced out of the window of the taxi they were travelling in at gun point.** **

8. What about the ring found in the car?

Anni Dewani's family have asked the same question. They released harrowing photographs of Anni's body and the taxi, showing that her £25,000 engagement ring had been left behind on the seat. Anni's uncle Ashok Hindocha told The Sun newspaper last year, 'These pictures tell their own story. If this was a robbery why would they leave behind a £25,000 ring? If she’d been fighting for her life or raped her dress would be dishevelled and she’d be covered in bruises. But the only injury was the single gunshot wound which killed her. Only Shrien is left to tell us the truth...'

9. Who has already been convicted?

The driver of the taxi in which Anni was killed admitted his guilt in the murder by way of a plea bargain and received a reduced sentence of 18 years as a result. Similarly, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, a self-titled hitman, pleaded guilty to her murder in August 2012 and was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. A third person, who also says he’s a hitman, Xolile Mngeni, was convicted of murder following a trial and jailed for life. They all gave evidence incriminating Shrien Dewani to the court. However, lawyers for the three defendants already jailed have made claims that their clients were physically assaulted by police. Mngeni’s lawyer even stated that his client had been suffocated with a plastic bag before signing a statement admitting his involvement in the killing.

10. What happens now?

Jeanette Traverso, the second most senior judge in the Western Cape will be solely responsible for deciding Dewani's fate, since there are no juries in South Africa. But we won't find out her decision until all the evidence has been heard, which could be as late on as mid-December.**


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