‘Dewani never wants to return to Cape Town’

Shrien Dewani with his wife Anni.

Shrien Dewani with his wife Anni.

Published Dec 1, 2010


Shrien Dewani, the widower of murdered honeymoon tourist Anni Dewani, does not want to return to Cape Town ever again.

This is what Max Clifford, the British public relations specialist Dewani has hired, told the Cape Times on Tuesday in a telephonic interview from London.

“The last place in the world he ever wants to go to again is Cape Town. But in order to help police ... he’ll do so,” Clifford said.

It was not yet clear if and when Dewani, 30, would return to Cape Town and, according to Clifford, the police have not requested his return.

Clifford said Dewani was currently staying at his home near Bristol under a doctor’s supervision as the strain of his wife’s murder and the media speculation about it had affected his health.

“He’s been through so much trauma and shock as you can imagine.

“He was madly in love with someone and very, very happy. That was destroyed in a minute. It turned into the worst nightmare in a minute.”

Clifford said media reports suggesting Dewani was a suspect in his wife’s murder were false and had taken a toll on Dewani and his family.

“It’s obviously made a horrible nightmare even worse. So many lies have come out of South Africa that (the family is) getting used to it.”

Reports saying Dewani’s marriage to Anni had been arranged were false as were reports Dewani had taken out a life insurance policy on his wife, meaning he would have received a large sum of money if she died, Clifford said.

He said the relationship between Anni’s family, the Hindochas, and the Dewani family had not been negatively affected as some newspapers had claimed.

“On Saturday, Anni’s father phoned Shrien’s father and apologised for all the comments he never said, but which appeared in the papers.”

Clifford said the South African media was reporting “one lie after another day to day” and he was not sure who the source of the inaccurate information was.

“You tell me. You’re there.”

He did not say anything negative about British newspapers. “According to my sister, who lives in South Africa, it’s very predictable. Billy Gundelfinger (Dewani’s Johannesburg-based attorney) says this is the way (the media) does it in South Africa.”

Clifford had received more than 200 requests from reporters wanting to speak directly to Dewani, but was currently speaking on his behalf. “When he’s well enough he’ll speak. And definitely to South African reporters.”

Dewani was not keeping in touch with South African police and was relying on Gundelfinger to keep him up to date. “Police have just contacted him to say ‘you’re not a suspect’,” Clifford said.

On Tuesday, colleagues of Charlotte Harris, a British attorney Dewani has hired along with Gundelfinger, referred queries to Clifford. Gundelfinger has not yet responded to queries or returned calls.

On Monday, Anni’s father Vinod Hindocha spoke about his daughter, but refused to defend or attack Dewani.

That day, three men accused of killing his daughter, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25, Xolile Mngeni, 23, and Zola Robert Tongo, 31, appeared in the Wynberg Regional Court, where the case was postponed to next Monday.

Details about a plea agreement involving Tongo, who was driving Shrien and Anni Dewani when they were hijacked, are expected to emerge then. Police are reportedly looking for a fourth suspect, but are refusing to comment.

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