Dewani wife’s family considers civil action

Mr Dewani had been in South Africa since April, after being extradited from the UK. Picture: AP
Mr Dewani had been in South Africa since April, after being extradited from the UK. Picture: AP
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Former murder suspect Shrien Dewani has left Cape Town after being cleared of plotting his wife’s death on their honeymoon four years ago.

Mr Dewani, 34, made no comment as he walked hurriedly through Cape Town International Airport flanked by an ­entourage and surrounded by a media scrum.

The millionaire businessman faced a barrage of questions from reporters as he headed for the boarding gate.

He was thought to be flying to Dubai rather than taking a direct flight to the UK, from where he was extradited in April.

On Tuesday, Judge Jeanette Traverso cleared Mr Dewani after ruling that the prosecution case alleging the bisexual care home boss had arranged the death of his wife Anni was flawed.

That ruling prompted an angry response from Anni’s family, who are now considering whether to launch a civil action against her husband in the UK. Judge Traverso dismissed the case against Mr Dewani, describing evidence from a key prosecution witness as being “riddled with contradictions”.

But Anni’s family said the ­decision left many questions ­unanswered as it meant Mr Dewani would not have to give evidence or face cross-examination.

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The family waited four years for the case to be brought against the businessman, from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, who had been accused of staging the carjacking in which his wife was shot dead.

Anni’s uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said halting the trial before Mr Dewani gave evidence meant there were “holes to be filled” in the story about his niece’s final days.

He said: “We want to know the truth, what happened to Anni.”

Drawing on evidence that Mr Dewani had secret relationships with men in the months before his marriage, Mr Hindocha told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Shrien Dewani has lied to us from day one.” He said a decision on whether to launch a civil action would be taken after the family had spent Christmas together at their home in Sweden.

“We wanted the truth and we didn’t get it.

“We went to South Africa with a lot of questions, to seek for answers; now we are coming home with more questions and more sleepless nights.

“That is not fair, this is not justice, Anni did not get a fair trial in South Africa.”

Mr Dewani heaved a sigh of relief as the judge dismissed the case against him. He left a short time later via a side entrance, declining to comment.

Three men – Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and gunman Xolile Mngeni – have already been convicted for their parts in Anni’s murder, which happened when the Dewanis’ chauffeur-driven late-night tour of a township was hijacked.

Monde Mbolombo, a self-­confessed “middle man” who set up the murder, may now also face justice, having previously been granted immunity by the state. Prosecutors said Dewani had long planned to get out of the relationship to Swedish-raised engineer Anni, 28, and arranged a carjacking on their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010, in which he would escape unharmed and Anni would be killed.

But Judge Traverso said chief prosecution witness cab driver Tongo’s claims about the murder were “riddled with contradictions” and “highly debatable”.

Mr Dewani, who was extradited this year to face trial, listened intently as key evidence against him was criticised by the judge.

The ruling ended a four-year wait for Mr Dewani and his family to clear his name – a period which included lengthy spells in mental health units, lurid allegations about his private life and fighting extradition from the UK.

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