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Dewani murder map explained

2012-10-17 21:44

Cape Town - The movement of people linked to tourist Anni Dewani's murder were depicted on a large map in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

Crime-mapping expert Peter Schmitz, of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, took the stand in Xolile Mngeni's trial to explain the detailed map of the peninsula area.

Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to robbing, kidnapping and murdering Dewani in Gugulethu on 13 November, 2010, while she was on honeymoon with her husband Shrien.

"I was asked to map the locations of cellphones and calls made before, during and after the commission of this offence," he said.

The expert took the detailed cellphone billings of six individuals, for the period 12 November to 14 November, 2010, and graphically displayed their movements according to the base stations that routed the calls and text messages.

Using different coloured lines and symbols, Schmitz linked cellphone activity between the phones of Shrien, convicted killers Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Zola Tongo, a hotel receptionist middleman who cannot be identified, and two of Mngeni's friends.

The court previously heard Mngeni used his friends' phones during that period because he had lost his own phone.

The colourful lines stretched all the way from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, where the couple were staying, to a restaurant in Strand where they dined shortly before the murder.

It also showed the location where the couple was hijacked and where Dewani's body was found.

Use assumed

The location of Mngeni's Khayelitsha home was enlarged to show numerous calls routed through a nearby base station.

Judge Robert Henney said Schmitz was acting on the assumption that Mngeni was the one who used those phones during that time and not his friends.

"You cannot conclusively say Mngeni indeed used these phones, either to contact the people you are referring to or to send an sms."

The expert agreed he was acting on this assumption.

Qalisile Dayimani, for Mngeni, cast doubt on this assumption. He said the map showed his client was in Khayelitsha on the morning after the murder, which was not true.

"At that particular time, at 10.03 on 14 November, 2010, Xolile Mngeni was at the Waterfront," the lawyer said.

The witness was allowed to leave the stand, and the State closed its case.