It has been nearly three years since we heard of Anni Dewani’s murder, which took place during her honeymoon with husband Shrien Dewani, and still the case remains open. Dina Patel investigates.
On 13 November 2010, Shrien and Anni Dewani were kidnapped at gunpoint in Gugulethu, a township near Cape Town. Western Cape police claimed that the couple’s driver was made to leave the car before two men drove off with the vehicle with both Mr and Mrs Dewani inside.
Whilst Mr Dewani, 30, was released unharmed, Anni’s body was found in the back seat of the car in Lingelethu West, with injuries to her head and chest.
On December 7 2010, the Dewani’s taxi driver – Zola Tongo – claimed he was offered 15,000 rand by Mr Dewani to kill his wife and was jailed for 18 years for his part in the killing. Another accomplice, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, also pleaded guilty to murder and was handed a 25-year prison sentence.
Shortly after Mr Qwabe’s sentencing, a third suspect, 26 year old Mr Mngeni, was also convicted of firing the shot which killed Mrs Dewani and was sentenced to life in prison.
Mr Dewani was arrested on December 8 on suspicion of conspiring to murder his wife. Since the arrest, Anni’s family has pleaded for Mr Dewani not to resist extradition to South Africa and to clear his name if he is innocent.
Unfortunately for those seeking answers, Mr Dewani’s extradition was delayed in February 2011.
In April 2011, Mr Dewani was moved to Bristol’s Fromeside Clinic, a medium secure NHS hospital where he was under supervision 24 hours a day. For the next couple of months, Mr Dewani avoided extradition due to his illness.
Meanwhile, Mrs Dewani’s family handed a petition to the Home Office to call on the home secretary, Theresa May, to grant the South African government’s request to extradite Mr Dewani to South Africa to stand trial. An order was signed by Theresa May on 26 September 2011.
Over the next few months however, the extradition of Mr Dewani was further delayed on the grounds of his mental health. Mr Dewani’s lawyers have been avoiding a trial in South Africa and have said they will launch a bid to take his case to the Supreme Court.
The most recent news on the case came in the form of a BBC documentary aired last month. The BBC Panorama documentary suggests the shooting could have happened by mistake during a struggle and has since raised doubts over South Africa’s investigation into Anni’s murder.
Mrs Dewani’s family have since formally complained to the BBC about the programme, claiming any attempt to cast doubt on the case against Mr Dewani will only undermine an impending trial.
Anni’s uncle, Mr Ashok Hindocha, argued: “This should be a case for the legal process in South Africa and we cannot see why the BBC has declared itself as judge and jury without allowing us to contribute to the debate. We would like a right of reply on the programme on what your ‘verdict’ is.”
With the constant delays, Shrien Dewani’s lawyers are now planning to ask the Crown Prosecution Service to proceed with a prosecution to limit further delays. This will take place on 22 October, nearing the third anniversary of Anni Dewani’s murder.