Rentboy is key Dewani witness

2011-05-07 16:47

The evidence of a sado-masochistic male prostitute, known as The German Master, looks to be South Africa’s trump card in proving that Shrien Dewani had a motive to kill his wife Anni.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials revealed in the Belmarsh Magistrates Court in London this week that they may use the evidence of sex worker Leopold Leisser if Dewani is extradited to stand trial in South Africa.

Leisser was not mentioned by name at Dewani’s extradition hearing, but it is understood that a statement made by him is contained in a bundle of legal papers served on Dewani and his legal team by the NPA.

For the South African legal team, advocate Hugo Keith QC referred to an affidavit they had obtained from a “significant witness”, but added he did not wish to talk about the nature of the statement or the witness.

The witness, widely reported by the British press to be Leisser, will testify that Dewani had told him he was engaged or about to be engaged, Keith told the court.

“He said although she was a nice, lovely girl who he liked, he could not break out of the proposal to get married because he would be disowned by his family. He went on to say to the witness that he needed to find a way out of it.”

This is the first hint of a motive for the allegations that Dewani had planned his bride’s murder in a staged hijacking while on honeymoon in Cape Town in November last year. Leisser’s statement will also strengthen rumours that Dewani is secretly gay.

Leisser allegedly contacted Scotland Yard when he recognised Dewani from news stories and subsequently sold his story to British tabloid, The Sun.

Birmingham-based Leisser, who was born in Munich, Germany, also indicated to other journalists he would tell his story in exchange for money after the trial.

In an interview with The Sun, Leisser alleged that Dewani paid him a total of about R13 000 for sex on three occasions in 2009.

Dewani has consistently denied he is gay and has threatened to sue Leisser and The Sun for defamation.

The 39-year-old Leisser still runs his German Master website, calling himself “Europe’s leading S&M escort”.

If Dewani was aware of the ripples caused in court by this disclosure, he gave no indication. He appeared to be muttering to himself in the dock, staring down at his hands.

Dewani was excused from court on Tuesday after barely an hour and returned to the Fromeside Clinic in Bristol, where he is undergoing psychiatric treatment.

Suggestions that Dewani is homosexual will increase his vulnerability in South Africa’s jails and the chances that he will be gang-raped, according to prison experts Sasha Gear and Amanda Dissel, who testified in court this week. They appeared on Dewani’s behalf.

Advocate Clare Montgomery QC, for Dewani, read out comments on social media sites indicating that hardened inmates were “licking our lips” in anticipation of his arrival.

“Mr Dewani you are going to have lots of sex in prison,” another read.

Dewani’s legal team argue that he should not be extradited because he will not be safe in South Africa’s prisons.

They will also question whether he will get a fair trial and will refer to comments made by NPA head Menzi Simelane as well as police commissioner General Bheki Cele, who had called Dewani a “monkey”.

The hearing was postponed to July 18.

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