London - The family of honeymoon murder victim Anni Dewani have spoken of their astonishment after a chance encounter with her husband as he enjoyed a holiday in Kenya.
One of Anni’s relatives spotted millionaire care-home owner Shrien Dewani as he relaxed in a restaurant in Nairobi last week.
Dewani was cleared in December of involvement in his wife’s murder in South Africa while they were on holiday.
“I can’t believe he’s had the nerve to return to Africa, where my daughter died, after consistently claiming that he was too afraid and ill to travel,” Anni’s father, Vinod Hindocha, said on Saturday.
Hindocha said his cousin photographed Dewani, 34, with a cellphone – the first time he has been pictured publicly since he returned to England following the collapse of the case against him in Cape Town.
At the time, 28-year-old Anni’s mother Nilam Hindocha accused him of cowardice and condemned him for leaving her daughter alone with her killers after he allegedly organised a hijacking while they were on honeymoon in 2010.
To the dismay of her family, the trial was halted before the defence had even begun its case, meaning Dewani never took the stand.
The family said the judge’s decision left many unanswered questions as it meant Dewani, who led a double life as a bisexual, would not have to give evidence or face cross-examination over accusations that he staged the hijacking in Khayelitsha.
Since Dewani’s return to England seven months ago, he has kept a low profile, rarely straying far from the family home near Bristol. But according to Hindocha’s cousin, he looked “completely carefree” as he dined with his aunt, Jyoti Badiani, at the Zen Garden restaurant in an upmarket Nairobi suburb last weekend. After their Thai meal, he chatted happily and played with his smartphone.
“My cousin was completely shocked that he’d surfaced in Africa and took the picture thinking none of the family would believe it,” said Hindocha. “It was a complete coincidence and really very strange. Of all places, why would he go back to Africa? Amazing. My cousin also saw him at a shopping mall in Nairobi.”
Dewani spent a week with his aunt and uncle, Shashi Badiani, at their substantial property a few kilometres from the city centre.
On several occasions, he accompanied his uncle to his clinic and office – Dr Badiani also runs a company selling medical supplies – and twice joined his relatives when they went to pray at a nearby Hindu temple.
Mostly, though, Dewani relaxed at their home, enjoying the flower-filled terrace overlooking their garden.