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Cape Town - In an impromptu move, the State called Anni Dewani’s father, Vinod Hindocha, to testify and confirm in the Western Cape High Court that the woman killed during a staged hijacking in Khayelitsha almost two years ago was indeed his daughter.
State advocate Adrian Mopp told the court that because Anni’s identity was being disputed, the prosecution decided to call her father to the stand.
Frowning, Judge Robert Henney asked Xolile Mngeni – the man on trial for her murder – why her identity was in dispute.
“I do not deny it, I even saw her face on TV,” Mngeni responded.
Hindocha, 63, of Sweden was called nonetheless and testified that his daughter, Anni, married Shrien Dewani according to Hindu rights on October 28, 2010.
On November 14 that year, he travelled to Cape Town after hearing his daughter had been killed the day before.
It is alleged that Shrien masterminded his wife’s murder and recruited three men to have her killed during a staged hijacking in Gugulethu.
Shrien and taxi driver Zola Tongo were thrown out of the vehicle en route to Khayelitsha. Once there, Mngeni shot and killed Anni, his former co-accused Mziwamadoda Qwabe testified last week. Qwabe is serving 25 years in jail for his role in the murder and Tongo 18 years after he too pleaded guilty to the crime.
Two days after the murder, Hindocha viewed his daughter’s body and accompanied her body back to the UK. About three weeks later, Hawks investigating officer Captain Paul Hendrickse showed Hindocha a watch. Hindocha had identified it as the Giorgio Armani watch that belonged to his daughter.
When asked to confirm his daughter’s cellphone number, Hindocha reached for his cellphone, where the number was still saved, and read it into the record. He also has Shrien’s number saved on his cellphone.
While cross-examining Hindocha, Mngeni’s lawyer, Matthews Dayimani, expressed sincere condolences to Hindocha for his loss.
Dayimani then asked Hindocha whether he approved of his daughter’s marriage to Shrien.
Mopp interjected, objecting to the questioning, saying it was irrelevant and that he did not know whose rights Dayimani was serving, those of his client or those of the private individuals who were paying his legal fees.
Dayimani responded that there was a witness statement that indicated Anni wasn’t happy with the marriage from the onset.
Judge Henney allowed the question. When Hindocha was asked if he approved of their marriage he said: “Yes, why should I not?”
After court, Hindocha who is heading back to Sweden, thanked the SA authorities for their professionalism in handling the case. “And the last thing I will say is, I beg of Shrien to come here and give us the answers.”