| 6.5°C Dublin

Family of murder victim Anni 'want the truth' as they consider new action

The family of honeymoon murder victim Anni Dewani will decide after Christmas whether to launch a civil action against her husband Shrien, who was cleared by a South African judge of arranging the death of his new wife.

Dewani is free to return home to the UK after Judge Jeanette Traverso dismissed the case against him, describing evidence from a key prosecution witness as being "riddled with contradictions".

The collapse of the trial in Cape Town left his wife's family devastated, and Anni's uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said they were exploring the possibility of legal action in the bid to find answers.

The family waited four years for the case to be brought against the 34-year-old businessman from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, who had been accused of staging the carjacking in which she was gunned down.

Mr Hindocha said the decision to halt the trial before Dewani gave evidence meant there were "holes to be filled" in the story about his niece's final days.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We want to know the truth, what happened to Anni."

Drawing on evidence that Dewani had secret relationships with gay men in the months before his marriage, Mr Hindocha said: "Srhien Dewani has lied to us from day one."

He said a decision on how to proceed will be taken after the family spend Christmas together at their home in Sweden.

"We wanted the truth and we didn't get it," he said. "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."

Asked about the prospect of a legal case in the UK, he said the family were "looking at all the options presented to us".

"But for now, we would just like to gather the family back here in Sweden over the holidays, the Christmas holidays are coming up. We will make some kind of decision right after the holidays."

Dewani heaved a sigh of relief in court as the judge dismissed the case against him, and bolted from the dock as the case was over. He left the court a short time later via a side gate, declining to comment.

hijacked

Three men - Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and gunman Xolile Mngeni - have already been convicted for their part 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 also face justice, having previously been granted immunity by the state.

Prosecutors said bisexual 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.

Judge Traverso said chief prosecution witness Tongo's claims about the murder were "riddled with contradictions" and "highly debatable".

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy