Honeymoon murder: Anni Dewani was 'shot dead accidentally' by her abductor
Anni Dewani, the bride murdered on her honeymoon, was shot dead accidentally by her abductor as he tried to rape her, according to expert evidence commissioned by her husband’s legal team.
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By Robert Mendick and Stewart Maclean in Cape Town
9:00PM GMT 18 Dec 2010
Lawyers will argue that the analysis helps to disprove the theory that Mrs Dewani was executed by hitmen hired by her husband Shrien Dewani.
Instead, it backs up his version that Mrs Dewani’s murder was the result of a carjacking gone wrong.
The new evidence comes as a close member of Mr Dewani’s family broke their silence to tell of their fears the millionaire will not receive a fair trial in South Africa.
Video footage of the couple enjoying their first dance at their wedding at the end of October was released to The Sunday Telegraph as further evidence the couple were ‘madly in love with each other’.
The minute-long compilation shows Mr Dewani and his new bride smiling and laughing together.
The family says it is further proof there were no marital problems which could have led Mr Dewani to have his bride murdered.
It is also understood that expert advice from ballistics and forensics experts commissioned by Mr Dewani’s defence team shows the single bullet which killed Mrs Dewani passed first through her hand and then into her neck, severing an artery.
The post mortem also shows Mrs Dewani’s killer had at one stage grabbed her leg, suggesting she may have struggled and that the gun may have gone off accidentally.
A legal source said: “There is a clear grip mark on her lower leg and the wound doesn’t look like an execution style one.
"It looks like the gun could have been accidentally discharged in circumstances where they were threatening to rape her.”
The evidence gathered by Mr Dewani’s legal team will be used in the British courts to try and block South Africa’s attempts to extradite the 30-year-old.
They will also argue that Mr Dewani, a businessman from Bristol, will not receive a fair trial in South Africa following a number of prejudicial comments made by South Africa’s national police commissioner, who branded him a “monkey [who had come] from London to kill his wife here”.
A close relative told The Sunday Telegraph: “Shrien has been rocked by people in senior positions in South Africa with influence and power referring to him as a monkey, a murderer and evil.
"In comparison with this country it would be almost unheard of for senior politicians and members of the police force to refer to anybody in these terms and that is difficult to understand.
“Comments by these people have not added to the confidence we should have in the administration of justice in South Africa. We are fearful of lots of things and the actions of those around us are compounding and adding to that fear.
The relative added: “The evidence they [the South Africans] have provided is flimsy and implausible in the extreme. To have him vilified and treated as guilty is disgusting.”
The relative said claims that the two men accused of murdering Mrs Dewani confessed only after that had been beaten and tortured – one of the men claimed to have had a plastic bag pulled over his head during questioning – had added to Mr Dewani’s concerns about being forced to return to South Africa to face trial.
The main evidence against Mr Dewani appears to be a signed confession from taxi driver Zola Tongo who received a reduced jail term of 18 years after striking a plea bargain.
He has accused Mr Dewani of arranging the murder of his 28-year-old, Swedish-born wife on Nov 13.
The relative questioned how Tongo could afford his lawyer’s legal fees when he was supposed to be so impoverished he had accepted just £95 (1,000 Rand) as part of his deal to hire two contract killers on Mr Dewani’s behalf.
Tongo’s aunt Nokwanda Siga-Tongo appeared to question why Tongo would have organised the murder for so little money.
“He was the most successful person in our family – he had his taxi job and was doing extra work on the side too,” said Mrs Siga-Tongo.
“Why would he do this for 1,000 rand? It doesn’t make sense and we are sure something is not right in the story.”
Mr Dewani’s relative suggested the businessman was being set up to preserve South Africa’s reputation among tourists.
The relative said: “Tourism is obviously a huge revenue stream for the South Africans and I would expect them to do everything possible to protect that revenue.
“I think this whole thing has turned into something much bigger than anyone ever expected and the sad thing is it has distracted from the real truth which is Anni has been taken away from us and we don’t know why or what happened.
“Shrien is devastated; he can’t sleep he is getting playbacks of what happened and he is conscious his future has been taken away from him.
"This is the girl he fell in love with and had mapped out a future with. Every effort is now being made to make sure the truth comes out and his name is cleared.
"The legal team are looking at a whole category of stuff. No stone will be left unturned.”
The Dewani family have been horrified by a series of smears that appear designed to damage Mr Dewani’s reputation.
The police have so far been unable to suggest a motive – at least publicly – for why he might have wished to have his wife murdered.
Detectives have in their possession CCTV images which they claim shows Mr Dewani having meetings with Tongo before the murder and then handing over a bag of cash three days after it.
But the family point out that at that stage Tongo was not a suspect and Mr Dewani was paying him for driving the couple in the area.
They point out the improbability of Mr Dewani recruiting a taxi driver to help assassinate his wife within an hour of landing in Cape Town.
Other claims levelled against Mr Dewani and used as ‘evidence’ of his guilt include a claim the couple had rowed on their honeymoon flight – which is denied.
It is also suggested Mr Dewani had changed money in Cape Town on the black market at a pawnbrokers’ to hide his payments to the assassins. It now transpires changing money in such places is commonplace.
Police have even suggested a link to another murder in South Africa three years ago – even though Mr Dewani had never been to South Africa until his honeymoon.
Heather Raghavjee, whose husband was murdered in a carjacking in 2007, said yesterday reports of a connection between the crimes were “hurtful and disrespectful”.
The South African police, who failed to find her husband’s killers, have not contacted her in more than a year.
Leopold Leisser, a German-born, gay escort, has sold his story to a tabloid newspaper in which he claimed that he had had sex with Mr Dewani three times – although on the dates in question Mr Dewani has gathered evidence to show he was not in Birmingham or London where the encounters are supposed to have taken place.
He is planning to sue for libel over the claim. Mr Leisser, whose hotel consultancy business has debts of £27,000 according to accounts lodged at Companies House, refused to comment.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/8211596/Honeymoon-murder-Anni-Dewani-was-shot-dead-accidentally-by-her-abductor.html