Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani will board a plane for South Africa tomorrow night after a three-and-a-half year battle – and the world will finally learn whether the mental illness which delayed his extradition is real or faked.
The Mail on Sunday has learned that Dewani is set to enjoy special privileges from the moment he arrives at Valkenberg, a South African psychiatric hospital.
His lawyers have argued that these privileges are necessary to uphold his human rights after the protracted legal battle over his extradition. A private room has been prepared for him and he will even be allowed to pay for his own chef to bring him meals every day. Like other patients on the general ward, he will also be able to take part in group therapy, cooking, belly dancing, and sewing classes and will be allowed a free visit to a beauty salon and barber once a week. But, despite the apparently relaxed conditions, security has been tightened and Dewani’s every move will be watched by investigators determined to prove he is fit enough to stand trial for murder.
Murdered: Anni Dewani was 28 when she was murdered in a remote suburb of Cape Town in 2011.
Dewani’s flight will be met by officers from the elite Hawks police unit and he will be escorted to Cape Town’s High Court to be formally charged with murder. From there, whether he is granted bail or not, he will go to Valkenberg, which houses some of South Africa’s most notorious killers and rapists. Hospital insiders say a private room has been refurbished for him in Ward 4 and he will be under 24-hour observation by a team reporting back regularly to the court. They must decide whether Dewani is capable of going for trial and whether he is aware of the serious nature of the indictment for murder. A report based on their findings will be submitted to the court within 30 days and his hospitalisation period could be extended or a court date set.
Experts told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Any notion that he has been faking illness for the past few years will be minutely examined.
'Medication will be at a minimum so as not to mask his true condition. Dewani will be seen regularly by consultants but it is when he is back in the ward that he will let his guard down and that is often where we get our most useful insights. ‘His attitude to other patients and the staff, even domestic workers, will be crucial to our observation methods.'
A medical source at the hospital told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Frankly it is impossible for him to be genuinely ill for that period, we have never experienced that.’
Dewani denies any involvement in the killing of 28-year-old Swedish national Anni, who was shot as the couple’s taxi was apparently car-jacked in the Gugulethu township in November 2010. The South African government has made clear it is keen to have Dewani declared fit to stand trial for arranging the killing, after three men already jailed for the murder claimed they were offered £1,400 to carry out the crime.