UK widower tells of ordeal

2010-11-23 15:37

The newlywed husband whose bride was murdered on their South African honeymoon spoke to British media today about his ordeal.

Shrien Dewani said he was dragged screaming away from wife, Anni (28), after being attacked by gunmen as they visited a township in Cape Town, the UK-based Press Association reported.

She was found shot dead in the vehicle the next day.

He rejected speculation that he was somehow involved in the incident earlier this month, telling The Sun newspaper: “People who suggest this could not have seen us together.”

Dewani, from Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol, described how he saw an African man hammering on the windscreen of their Volkswagen Sharan taxi during their late-night visit, before gunmen broke into the vehicle.

“I tried to cover Anni with my body. She started to scream and cry out hysterically,” the 30-year-old businessman said.

After shoving their driver in the back, the hijackers drove around at speed and almost lost control, also holding a gun to his head and threatening to kill his wife, he said.

“I was clinging to Anni for all I was worth – begging them to let us both get out of the car together. But they wouldn’t listen.

“They couldn’t get me out because the child locks were activated – so they ended up dragging me struggling and screaming out of the window.”

He added: “Anni was ‘The One’. Her looks, her laughter, her personality, her spirit – everything about her was right for me. Why would I want to kill her?

“Saying I was somehow involved defies logic.”

The couple’s driver on the night, Zola Tonga (31), appeared in court yesterday charged with the murder of Anni.

He and another man, Mzwamadoda Qwabe (26) from Khayelitsha, appeared in the Wynberg Regional Court in Cape Town to face charges of murder and hijacking, the SA Police Service said.

The police said Tonga was in the process of consulting the Director of Public Prosecutions about a possible plea bargain.

The first accused, Xolile Mngeni (23), was arrested on Tuesday last week.

The case was adjourned to Monday while further investigations are carried out.

Anni Dewani’s father has also spoken out in support of his daughter’s husband, whose wedding took place just two weeks before the killing.

Vinod Hindocha issued a statement yesterday, saying: “Further to recent reports in several newspapers I would like to state that my relationship with Shrien is a good one and I love him like a son.

“Whoever did this to my daughter are criminals who need to be caught and put behind bars.

“As a family we want justice to be done, and we feel the South African police should focus on the truth and not be swayed by the tourist agenda.

“I have always supported Shrien and I will continue to do so throughout this horrendous ordeal.”

Dewani and his family are being represented by public relations guru Max Clifford, reported the Press Association.

He said his client had not been asked to return to South Africa to identify the alleged assailants.

“At this stage there has been no request for Shrien to go out to South Africa for an identity parade,” he said in a statement.

“As the primary witness in this ordeal, Shrien is fully co-operating with the South African police on a daily basis and helping them with their inquiries.

“Shrien is currently grieving the death of his new bride Anni and abiding by Hindu rituals post death and trying to come to terms with this awful tragedy.

“He is keen for justice to be done and the criminals caught.”

The honeymooners were hijacked in the Cape Town township of Gugulethu last weekend.

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