UK

Dewani couple's honeymoon kiss caught on CCTV

  • 29 March 2012
  • From the section UK

CCTV footage obtained by the BBC suggests the alleged role of Shrien Dewani in the murder of his wife while on honeymoon in South Africa may not be as clear-cut as investigators say.

The video shows Shrien and Anni Dewani kissing hours before the murder and raises questions about the credibility of a key witness who is also filmed.

South African authorities have named Mr Dewani as a suspect in Anni Dewani's murder and applied for his extradition.

Mr Dewani denies any involvement.

He has appealed against his extradition and the High Court will rule on this on Friday.

His family told BBC Panorama that Mr Dewani, who is currently sectioned in the UK under the Mental Health Act, will return to South Africa to answer questions when he is well enough and his personal safety is guaranteed.

Taxi driver Zola Tongo has already admitted his part in the murder and was given a reduced sentence in exchange for testifying against Mr Dewani.

Tongo, the main witness against the Bristol businessman, claims he was hired by Mr Dewani to arrange his wife's execution during a fake car-jacking.

But the CCTV footage calls into question Tongo's version of what happened on 13 November 2010 - the night 28-year-old Mrs Dewani was murdered.

After failing to pick up the couple from their Cape Town hotel at 19:30, Tongo claims Mr Dewani became agitated when he called to say he would be delayed.

Tongo's lawyer, William da Grass, said about that mobile phone conversation: "Dewani demanded to know what the hold-up was and insisted that the act be perpetrated and perpetrated that very day."

The CCTV footage shows Mr Dewani speaking to Tongo while sitting next to Mrs Dewani in the hotel bar. He shows no sign of agitation.

The two men who are alleged to have carried out the hijacking of the taxi later that evening and the murder of Mrs Dewani have both retracted their confessions and are awaiting trial.

Post mortem

Police say Mrs Dewani was not sexually assaulted after her husband and Tongo were ejected from the car and that she died from a single gunshot wound to the neck, fuelling suggestions this was a cold-blooded execution.

But Panorama has gained access to the post-mortem examination report.

It reveals the fatal bullet first passed through Mrs Dewani's left hand before entering her chest, travelling through her body, causing fatal injuries to her neck.

The report said the bullet left what it called "an irregular gunshot exit wound".

When first interviewed by police, one of the accused gunmen said Mrs Dewani's death was an accident, but this has never before been placed into the public domain.

His co-accused told police that the gun fired as Mrs Dewani's handbag was grabbed.

The only independent eyewitnesses to gauge Shrien Dewani's behaviour on the night of the murder were a married couple he met after he said he was forced out of the taxi and left alone in a township back street.

Mrs Dewani was shot dead on her honeymoon

Local government auditor Simbonile Matokazi, who rang the police for Mr Dewani, told the BBC: "When I found out that he was accused, I was a bit surprised because when he told me his story that night, I believed him and I thought that what he was saying was the truth. And it was genuine."

In an interview with the programme, Mrs Dewani's family said if Shrien Dewani is innocent as he claims, he should travel to South Africa and answer investigators' questions.

"If he is innocent, the court will show that and if he's not then he should pay for what he's done," Anni Dewani's sister Ami Denborg said.

In a statement released on Thursday evening, Mr Dewani's family said the programme showed the allegations against him were "deeply flawed".

They said: "Shrien is innocent and is determined to return to South Africa to clear his name and seek justice for his wife Anni.

"Whilst the Panorama investigation is compelling, we believe the correct place to demonstrate Shrien's innocence is in a court of law.

"This can only be done when he is well enough and when his personal safety can be guaranteed.

"The family remain hopeful that the British High Court will block any attempt to extradite Shrien until he has fully recovered and it is safe for him to stand trial, if charged."

Panorama: The Honeymoon Murder, BBC One, Thursday, 29 March at 21:00 BST and then available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer

More on this story

Around the BBC