UK man who blamed Cape Town for the death of his bride flies in to face the music
A palpable sense of justice and righteousness permeated the Cape High Court today (8 April) when British businessman Schrien Dewani finally appeared to begin the process of answering charges that he hired hit men to kill his young bride, Anni.
Dewani landed in Cape Town from London this morning after a three-and-a-half year battle to avoid extradition.
In a city and a country in which violent crime is endemic, the circumstances surrounding Anni’s murder have caused particular outrage because Dewani is alleged to have sought to deliberately camouflage his involvement in the murder by blaming it on Cape Town’s violent environment. Plausible, perhaps, but untrue, investigators say.
If he is convicted for Anni’s murder, Dewani will also be guilty of deliberately tarnishing Cape Town and South Africa’s reputation.
Dewani’s version of the November 2010 events is that he and his wife Anni were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi. His wife’s body was found in the abandoned car the next day. Dewani claims to have been evicted from the car prior to his wife’s shooting.
Three men, who have already been tried and sentenced for their involvement in the murder, all claimed they were carrying out Dewani’s masterplan, for which they received payment.
Dewani made a brief appearance before Cape Judge President John Hlophe just after midday today charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice. The matter was postponed until 12 May.
It was agreed that Dewani would be held in a single occupancy room in the general psychiatric unit at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for medical treatment. He is said to be suffering the effects of post traumatic stress disorder.
Joining him in court today were members of his family, who released a statement claiming that Dewani had returned to Cape Town to clear his name.
Outside court, members of the ANC Women’s League bayed for truth and justice.