South African police slate honeymoon murder suspect
The chief of the South African police has branded Shrien Dewani, the British businessman accused of paying for the murder of his wife on honeymoon in South Africa, a “monkey” for allegedly thinking it would be easy to kill his new bride in the country.
General Bheki Cele told South African media: “One monkey came from London to kill his wife here. He thought we South Africans were stupid. Don’t kill people here.”
His spokeswoman said the quote, attributed to the national commissioner of the South African Police Service by the Star newspaper, had to be seen in context.
Meanwhile Dewani’s sister-in-law has said he committed an “unforgivable” crime if the allegation is true.
Annis Denborg’s sister, Ami, refused to be drawn on whether her family thought the millionaire care home owner was behind the murder in South Africa on November 13.
However she said that if he was found guilty, “then what he has done is unforgivable”.
She told The Times: “You can’t just kill somebody. It is scary. What the hell was he thinking?”
The 30-year-old bridegroom faces extradition to South Africa after being charged with conspiracy to murder his wife on November 13 just two weeks after the couple married.
South African authorities are preparing their appeal against a judge’s decision to grant Dewani bail. The appeal will be heard by a High Court judge in London on Friday.
Shrien, from Bristol, was initially granted bail but the decision was overruled at the eleventh hour on Wednesday when the South African government said they would appeal against the decision to release him.
Zola Tongo, the taxi driver who alleges he was contracted by Dewani to organise the murder has also accused him of trying to organise a similar attack on a previous visit to South Africa, the hearing yesterday was told.
He told the court how Dewani had earlier “arranged for someone to be killed in a fake hijacking”.
His wife, 28, was shot dead after two gunmen ambushed the couple’s cab as they were driven through an impoverished township to see the ‘real Africa’.
The killers were allegedly organised by Tongo. Both he and Mr Dewani were released unharmed in the attack.
As part of a plea bargain, the driver later told police he had arranged the killing for Dewani.
The court heard that investigators have questioned why Dewani did not use an airport authorised shuttle service - hiring Tongo instead on a freelance basis - and why Tongo had taken the couple to such a dangerous area when the restaurant they wanted to visit there was in fact closed.
Tongo claims he and Dewani agreed an ambush point in Guguletu township and that he later sent the businessman a text message reminding him about the fee.
Tongo alleges he received a reply from Dewani which stated the money was “in an envelope in a pouch behind the passenger seat”.
If this was proved by phone records, it would be the only solid evidence to emerge in the case.
The victim’s father Vinod Hindocha is currently in Cape Town, having flown here to witness Tuesday’s court hearing for Zola Tongo.
He spent Wednesday touring the townships where Anni was abducted and murdered.
Asked how he felt about his former son-in-law, the 61-year-old said: “Shrien says he is not guilty and that he would like to explain himself. That would be very nice. At the end of the day, it’s not really about what you or I think. It’s about what the court thinks. I am waiting to hear what the court thinks.”
The magistrates court in Westminster heard that Mr Dewani withdrew £800 from a Cape Town cashpoint the day before the murder.
It was told that with £200 he withdrew a few days earlier, it added up to 10,000 rand (£1,000) used to “pay for the assassination of his wife”, the court was told.
Clare Montgomery QC, representing Dewani, say the allegations have been dreamt up to defend the reputation of South Africa as a tourist destination as it would “seriously damage the reputation of South Africa if it were merely the work of a local gang”.