Dewani did not attend a Hindu ceremony to bless his wife

By Drum Digital
06 November 2014

Shrien Dewani did not attend a Hindu ceremony to bless his wife Anni's body before it was returned to the United Kingdom, the Western Cape High Court heard.

Shrien Dewani did not attend a Hindu ceremony to bless his wife Anni's body before it was returned to the United Kingdom, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

Prosecutor Adrian Mopp asked Captain Vinesh Lutchman, who was appointed the family's liaison officer, what explanation the British businessman gave him for not attending the ceremony on November 16, 2010.

"His explanation was that he was going to the mall to do shopping," Lutchman said.

Lutchman is the State's 13th witness and helped the family after Anni was killed in Gugulethu, Cape Town.

Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo and others to kill Anni while they were on honeymoon on Cape Town in November 2010.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, murder, and defeating the ends of justice. He claims the couple were hijacked as Tongo was driving them through Gugulethu in his minibus on Saturday, November 13.

He was released unharmed and Anni was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.

The State alleges he paid R15,000 to stage the hijacking.

He maintains that Tongo helped him arrange a surprise helicopter trip for Anni for R15,000.

Lutchman told Mopp that Dewani never mentioned a helicopter trip in all the time they spent together, nor that there was R15,000 in Anni's handbag which was stolen the night of her murder.

He said he would have told his superior about the large amount of money and that it would have changed the angle of their investigation to focus on the hijacking having been arranged.

The Hawks took over the investigation after her body was found.

Lutchman accompanied Dewani to the morgue on November 15 to identify her body.

The next morning he arrived at the hotel to take both fathers, Prakash Dewani and Vinod Hindocha, to a funeral parlour to view the body. A Hindu ceremony was performed at the mortuary.

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