‘I want to look into his eyes’
The father of murdered honeymoon bride Anni Dewani was due to arrive in Cape Town on Tuesday to see her killer Xolile Mngeni sentenced at the High Court.
Vinod Hindocha’s overnight flight from England represents a busy 72 hours for the grieving father who Monday attended a London court to hear a provisional date set for the possible extradition of Anni’s husband Shrien back to South Africa to answer murder charges.
Speaking outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court, a visibly exhausted Mr Hindocha said: “Three men have been convicted of Anni's murder and only Shrien has yet to face trial.
“I only want him to answer the police questions and help me as a father to receive closure on this terrible episode.
“Tonight I am boarding a flight to Cape Town to be in court to see for myself the sentencing of Xolile Mngeni who shot my daughter. I want to look into his eyes as he is punished and that will help me a little.
“Mngeni has brain cancer and has stood trial. It shows that the South Africans can treat people who are ill and facing serious charges fairly.”
He added: “I do wonder that two years is a long time to be suffering from post traumatic stress and a lot less serious that a brain tumour, but all I can do is wait for the British Courts to send him back as was decided last year. The delays are slowly killing me. I haven’t slept properly in two years. My heart is broken.”
Mr Hindocha made the trip with son Anish, leaving the UK just hours after Shrien Dewani’s latest court hearing in London. Dewani did not attend the hearing for medical reasons but his family and Anni’s were well represented in the public gallery.
At the hearing District Judge Howard Riddle agreed to loosen his bail conditions, allowing Dewani to attend a new hospital Blaise View in his home city of Bristol because his current one, Fromeside, was too loud and hindering his recovery from depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Psychiatrists for the South African government - which is seeking Dewani’s extradition - and his have both agreed that he needed quieter premises to speed up treatment.
At yesterday’s hearing his lawyer Clare Montgomery said Dewani had become a ‘husk’ of a man who was scared of driving and had flashbacks of a bad-breathed man holding a gun as on the night he claims he was hijacked with Anni in Guguletu in November 2010. Anni, 28, was later found murdered in the back of their taxi for which three South Africans have now been convicted. The latest, Mngeni, will be sentenced on Wednesday.
Hugo Keith, lawyer for the South African government said Dewani had not been a perfect patient at Fromeside and spent most days sitting in a disused camper van in a hospital car park praying or playing on a computer. He said: “He is a product of his own medical situation. He sometimes actively discourages treatment, is rude and discourteous to staff and is also critical and dismissive.”
Dr Paul Cantrell who was called by the Dewani family said he was recovering from depression but the PTSD was still severe. He was optimistic that Dewani would make some kind of recovery by the middle of next year, possibly allowing him to return to South Africa to face trial.
Ms Montgomery agreed: “We hope and believe on the evidence he will recover, in which case there is no battle at all apart from ensuring there are appropriate conditions for him in South Africa. At some point he will became fit to plead, he will no longer require medical treatment and all that will be required is some reassurances on the conditions in which he will be held.”
District Judge Howard Riddle agreed to vary Dewani’s bail to allow him to stay at either hospital with conditions that he continues treatment and is only allowed to leave the premises with the permission of his doctors and accompanied by a nominated person.
His bail surety remained at £250 000, police continue to hold his passport and he remained under curfew from 10pm to 6am.
After discussions with both parties he agreed that Dewani's mental condition would be reviewed again next April ahead of a provisional full extradition hearing on July 1.