Psychiatrist testifies about Dewani

2013-07-02 18:46
Shrien Dewani (Picture: AFP)

Shrien Dewani (Picture: AFP)

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London - Psychiatrist Dr Ian Cumming went through a series of his reports about honeymoon murder-accused Shrien Dewani in a London court on Tuesday.

The British Press Association reported this included details of an interview where Dewani described the day his wife Anni was shot.

He said the attackers "got really nasty" and recounted how he had knocked on the doors of shacks to raise the alarm.

According to Shrien Dewani his wife was shot when a minibus taxi the couple were in was hijacked in the Gugulethu, Cape Town, in November 2010.

Dewani, 33, and driver Zola Tongo were ejected from the car before Anni Dewani was driven away and killed. She was found dead in the back of the abandoned vehicle with a bullet wound to her neck.

Dewani is accused of orchestrating the death. He is facing extradition to South Africa to stand trial for her murder, in which he denies any involvement.

Cumming told the court that during his four-hour interview with Dewani in 2012, the businessman became tearful when he spoke about Anni and the topic was "emotionally charged".

However, Cumming was able to get "adequate information" from Dewani about what had happened that day and in the run-up to the murder.


Dewani has received treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression since his wife's death, most recently at two units near Bristol.

He tried to take an overdose in 2011, but since then had not spoken directly about self-harm or suicide, the court heard.

He was allowed to use his laptop computer to access the internet at the Fromeside and Blaise View mental health units, and was allowed to walk home, accompanied by a member of staff, for visits daily.

Dewani was also given permission to buy a camper van, which he set up in the grounds of Fromeside, and spent large periods of time in it.

Cumming said: "A large part of the day he was sitting in a camper van in the grounds."

He told the court clinicians could have pushed Dewani more to aid his recovery.

"Sometimes you have to push things a bit with the individual. You have to make them do things that they don't want to. I got a sense of them not doing that. To my mind there could have been more robustness in their approach."

The forensic psychiatrist said legal proceedings had made it more difficult to treat his PTSD.

"With the legal proceedings it makes it more difficult. At the end of the day getting better brings with it the real prospect of going to another country and facing something very unpleasant and very difficult," he said.

Dewani wants case resolved

Dewani had difficulty understanding the court process, but said he wanted the case to be resolved.

"He said to me 'I want to get this sorted out' but he didn't seem to want to take it any further. The initiative on his part wasn't there."

Last year South African Xolile Mngeni was convicted of premeditated murder for shooting Dewani.

Prosecutors claimed he was a hitman Dewani hired to kill his new wife, something Dewani has consistently denied.

Tongo was jailed for 18 years after he admitted his part in the crime. Another accomplice, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, also pleaded guilty to charges over the murder and was handed a 25-year prison sentence.

Members of both Dewani and Anni's families were in court again on Tuesday for the second day of a five-day extradition hearing.

Dewani himself has been excused from attending.

Read more on:    zola tongo  |  anni hindocha  |  shrien dewani  |  cape town  |  honeymoon hijacking

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