Honeymoon murder suspect 'desperate to escape marriage'
A businessman arranged his wife's murder on their honeymoon six months after telling a friend he had been forced into marriage and "needed to find a way out of it", a court heard yesterday.
Shrien Dewani (31) allegedly said that his family would disown him unless he agreed to settle down with 28-year-old Anni Hindocha.
They married last October in a Hindu ceremony in Mumbai and went on their honeymoon to South Africa.
Mrs Dewani was murdered in an apparent "carjacking" in Cape Town on November 13.
The South African authorities believe that Mr Dewani arranged the killing of his Swedish-born wife and want him to go on trial. He denies any involvement.
The alleged motive was disclosed on the first day of his extradition hearing at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London, watched by Mrs Dewani's father, Vinod, who had flown in from Sweden.
Hugo Keith, for the Republic of South Africa, said a witness was prepared to testify about Mr Dewani's reluctance to get married. He told the court that Mr Dewani met the man in September 2009 and confided in him in April last year.
Mr Keith said: "He said although she was a nice, lovely girl whom he liked, he could not break off the engagement because he would be disowned by his family. He went on to say to the witness that he needed to find a way out of it."
Mr Dewani is fighting the extradition attempt, saying he could be tortured in prison and would not get a fair trial.
The court heard that Mr Dewani allegedly asked Zola Tongo, the driver jailed for 18 years for his role in the killing, if he could find a hitman.
Mr Keith said: "Tongo understood that Mr Dewani wanted to have a woman killed. He indicated that he would be prepared to pay 15,000 rand (€1,530).
"The killing would be designed to look like a random carjacking, that Tongo and Mr Dewani would be ejected unharmed and the victim robbed and murdered."
The couple's car was stopped in Gugulethu township by two men, Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe. Tongo and Mr Dewani were bundled out while Mrs Dewani was killed with a single bullet to the neck.
Mr Keith said: "Police were suspicious. It seemed strange that neither Tongo nor Mr Dewani were injured and that the couple had chosen to see a township that Tongo knew was dangerous."
Mngeni and Qwabe were arrested and will go on trial next month. They identified Tongo, who named Mr Dewani. (© Daily Telegraph, London)