Dewani's male escort went to police

2014-10-28 14:44
Shrien Dewani in the dock at the Western Cape High Court. (BBC, Twitter)

Shrien Dewani in the dock at the Western Cape High Court. (BBC, Twitter)

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Cape Town - Gay escort Leopold Leisser approached the police in 2010 after he saw on television that one of his clients Shrien Dewani had been arrested and accused of killing his wife Anni, he told the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Leisser, aged 43, was called back to testify on condition that he not go into detail about something Dewani disclosed to him in a conversation, as per a court ruling.

The man who refers to himself as the "German Master" on his website was dressed in a charcoal suit and brown tie. He testified in English with a German translator sitting next to him, just in case.

He previously testified that he and Dewani met three times in 2009 and 2010, and that Dewani was the first of his clients to sleep over at his house. They had intended to meet again but never got around to it.

Dewani is accused of Anni's murder during their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, conspiracy to commit these crimes and defeating the ends of justice.

Dewani claims the couple were hijacked as they were being driven through Gugulethu in a minibus on Saturday, 13 November 2010.

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 conspired with others to stage the hijacking in return for R15 000.

Leisser said he and Dewani texted each other in June 2010. In August that year they kept in contact via text messages and gay dating website Gaydar.

"At some point, it may have been in August or September, he said he is going away in the middle of October for four to five weeks", Leisser said.

"He also told me the nature of the travel. He was getting married. I was a bit surprised why he was online and I even asked him should you not be arranging your wedding or marriage?"

£18 000 for speaking

Leisser noticed at the start of December that Dewani's Gaydar profile had been deleted. He sent him a text message asking if everything was okay, because he knew his client wanted to meet him again.

"He just responded that he is very, very busy and he will be in touch again", Leisser said.

A few days later, he was in Ireland when he saw the news broadcast of Dewani's arrest.

"First of all, I didn't think anything bad of it. I thought oh my God, I knew that guy."

He contacted the police in England on 7 December and they interviewed him a week later. Leisser handed over his mobile phone records to the police and a sketch of his apartment.

He asked a friend for advice and was put in touch with a media agency. He was later interviewed by The Sun journalist Nick Parker.

Leisser was paid £18 000 for speaking out and the media agency received £7000. The escort explained that his expenses totalled £5000 a month and it was necessary to be paid for the stories.

"I had to shut down my profession for a while. There was no other income for four months."

On 14 December he was handed a letter from Dewani's lawyers stating that everything he was claiming was a lie and that Dewani had never had contact with him.

The stories were published on 15 and 16 December 15 2010.

Given the opportunity to cross-examine the witness, the defence said they did not have any questions.

Leisser was excused from the stand.

Anni and Shrien Dewani were married in a customary Hindu ceremony, which is not legally recognised. The Hindocha family has requested that Anni therefore be referred to as Anni Hindocha. News24 will heed this request.

Read more on:    anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  dewani trial

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