Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Monday, 8 December 2014

Anni Dewani’s Family Have ‘More Questions Than Answers’ After Honeymoon Murder Acquittal

The Debrief: British millionaire had been extradited to face trial in South Africa, but the case has now been thrown out…

Anni Dewani’s family have left court with ‘more questions than answers’ after the case against her then-husband Shrien Dewani has been thrown out of the Western Cape High Court. Here’s your need-to-know on the high-profile case:

Anni and Shrien were on honeymoon in South Africa in 2010, following their wedding in India, when their cab was hijacked as they visited a township. Anni was shot and killed by Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni.

Zola Tongo, the cab driver, was accused of being involved with the murder, and as part of his plea deal, said that Shrien had offered him R15,000 (£1,380, according to the exchange rates of 2010) to kill Anni.

Then it all got complicated.

Shrien returned from the holiday to Bristol, where he owns a care home, and had to be extradited to face charges of organising Anni’s murder. After the home secretary Theresa May gave permission for his extradition, psychiatric issues were argued as the reason why he couldn’t return to South Africa. Then, Mngeni, died in a prison hospital after developing a brain tumour.

Oh, and did you know Shrien’s family hired Max Clifford to be their publicist? He helped pen Shrien’s statement shortly after Anni’s murder: ‘I searched high and low for my perfect partner… why would I want to kill her?’

The argument the prosecution put forward was that Shrien was gay (he told the court he was ‘bisexual’ when he took the stand after it emerged in court that he’d been using male escort services and maintaining a Gaydar dating profile), and that he wanted Anni dead in case she was disappointed with him or would tell his religious family. 

Francois Van Zyl, Dewani’s defence lawyer, managed to successfully argue that the prosecution’s case against him was ‘flimsy’ and should be thrown out on the basis that the testimonies of the three men convicted of killing Anni were inconsistent. Judge Jeanette Traverso said they were ‘so riddled with contradictions, mistakes, lies and inconsistencies that I can all but ignore them.’

Anni’s siter, Ami Denborg, had this to say following the ruling which means that Shrien can never be tried again for the charge of orchestrating his wife’s death: ‘All we wanted was to hear all the events – the hope of finding that out has kept us as a family going. We feel that right has been taken away from us.

‘We feel really, really sad because we never heard the full story of Shrien. We just wish that Shrien had been honest with us and especially with Anni.

‘We’ve had four years of sleepless nights – will we ever be able to sleep? This is a really sad day for us and we hope no other families will have to go through what we’ve been through.’

And Anni’s aunt, Nina Hindocha, gave this statement, reports The Guardian: ‘Anni was very, very special… to all who knew and loved her.

‘With the end of the case against Shrien Dewani, our family returns home with more questions than answers, and more sleepless nights. We will always live without ever knowing the complete events which led up to Anni’s death.’

However, there is some tiny hope of justice for Anni’s family as they look to whether Shrien can now be sued in the UK courts system: ‘We will now go through this case with our lawyers to confirm whether we can file a lawsuit against Shrien Dewani in the United Kingdom.’

You might also be interested in: 

READ MORE: Anni Dewani’s Sister Is Wearing Her Clothes To Court

READ MORE: ‘Honeymoon Murder’ Suspect Shiren Dewani Will Be Extradited To South Africa

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Tags: South Africa