Monday, October 13, 2014

South Africa: The Nagging Question is...Why Did Shrien and Anni Dewani Even Marry?

According to the BBC, a convicted killer has denied shooting and killing newlywed Anni Dewani, 28, on November 13, 2010, in a hijacked vehicle as she and her husband toured a South African township.

Bristol businessman Shrien Dewani, now 38, is on trial in South Africa charged with arranging his wife's murder.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 29, has already been imprisoned for his part in Mrs. Dewani's death, but insisted he was driving and did not pull the trigger on that fateful day.

Shrien Dewani denies any involvement in the killing in Gugulethu, Cape Town.

The hearing in Western Cape High Court also heard Dewani describe himself as a single gay man on a dating website.

Defense lawyer François van Zyl said that all the evidence pointed to Qwabe pulling the trigger, not his accomplice Xolile Mngeni, who is serving life in jail for the murder of Anni Dewani, a 28-year-old Swedish national.

Van Zyl said Qwabe was "most probably standing at the left rear door, pulling her (Anni Dewani) with your right hand, threatening her with the pistol against her chest."

Qwabe disagreed and continued with his version that he was driving the vehicle when he heard the shot being fired.

Qwabe is serving a 25-year jail term and taxi driver Zola Tongo 18 years.

Van Zyl then told the court that Tongo's statement characterized two men walking towards his vehicle at the intersection that night and both had firearms.

He said the first man, Qwabe, got into the driver's seat and pushed him to the passenger seat while the second man got into the back with the couple.

Qwabe denied this version of events, saying there was only one firearm.

COMMENT: Perhaps I'm too old to fully understand why people get married, yet at a time when every component of a person's lifestyle is privy to discovery prior to marriage, was Anni Dewani, a Swede, truly unaware that Shrien Dewani was gay and bisexual as she prepared to walk down the aisle?

Van Zyl told the court it would have been impossible, on Qwabe's version, for Mngeni to have shot Anni Dewani from the front passenger seat as his right arm measures 55.5cm (22in) from hand to elbow but the distance between the front and back seats was 80cm (31in).

"He couldn't have reached Mrs. Dewani...to fire the shot," said Van Zyl.

The court was shown Qwabe's glove from the night of the shooting which had later tested positive for primer residue.

Qwabe said his glove could have picked up primer residue because the space in the car was very small and the windows were closed. He said he had also picked up the bullet casing afterwards.

Van Zyl said the location of the residue was consistent with firing a gun, not picking up a bullet casing.

He told the court experts would testify that someone was either sitting next to Anni Dewani when the shot was fired or that someone was standing at the rear door from the outside, grabbing her and threatening her.

The court also heard Dewani was a member of dating website Gaydar, and his profile indicated he was looking for a single gay man, a single bisexual man, a gay couple or a group.

Giving evidence, the site's former digital product manager Simon Johnson said Dewani had paid £60 (US$96.44) to upgrade the profile from a guest to member for a year in March 2010, and had visited the site in the days leading up to his wife's murder in November.

The trial continues.

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