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Dewani’s sex life under scrutiny

Shrien Dewani is seen in the Western Cape High Court. File photo: Nardus Engelbrecht

Shrien Dewani is seen in the Western Cape High Court. File photo: Nardus Engelbrecht

Published Dec 9, 2014


London/Cape Town - Dramatically cleared of killing his new wife on their honeymoon four years ago, Shrien Dewani will on Tuesday fly home to Britain on a private aircraft chartered by his wealthy family.

But the one thing he has craved all his life - respectability - will prove elusive now.

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For his secret gay double life, particularly his penchant for violent sex with rubber-clad male prostitutes, will now face renewed scrutiny as his dead bride’s family plot legal action over his sordid private life.

Vinod Hindocha, the father of Dewani’s murdered bride Anni, has retained a London legal firm to sue his son-in-law for keeping secret the fact that he was gay, saying it meant the couple’s wedding was “false”.

“Which father in the world, including me, would allow their daughter to marry a person who sleeps with men?” he said. “The whole wedding was a drama and was false.

“I am going to sue him for that - not just for the money, but for the loss of my daughter.”

The family believe they have grounds for suing Dewani for leading Anni into marriage without revealing his sexuality, and for compensation for the money the Hindocha family spent on the three-day-long, £200 000 wedding.

They are furious, as are prosecution lawyers, that the issue of Dewani’s sexuality was dismissed as irrelevant by the judge at the start of the trial on the grounds that this was not in dispute, leaving the prosecution without a motive to prove murder.

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Yet, until the case began, Dewani had always vehemently denied rumours that he was a promiscuous homosexual, and had spared no expense to keep the truth out of the public domain. Having hired Max Clifford, the disgraced publicist, on a retainer of £30 000 a month within days of being named as a suspect for the murder in 2010, Dewani ordered Clifford to suppress details of his homosexual double life.

After the Daily Mail contacted Clifford over allegations that Dewani had hired rent boys, the publicist - now serving eight years in prison for sexual assaults - insisted there was “no truth at all” in the claims.

Clifford said: “Shrien Dewani has never had a sexual relationship with a man in his life - not ever.”

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Clifford added that he had been “inundated” with calls from young women saying they had slept with Dewani. He also threatened legal action against The Sun newspaper for printing claims of an affair by a gay prostitute called “the German Master”.

It was only on the first day of the trial when, as a series of witnesses prepared to testify he was gay, that Dewani admitted he was “bisexual” in a three-sentence statement read to the Western Cape High Court.

His sexuality had been a key aspect of the prosecution case. But Judge Jeanette Traverso ruled that this evidence was irrelevant because of Dewani’s admission.

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Crucially, this meant prosecution lawyers could not allege Dewani had plotted to have his wife killed because he was secretly gay.

Certainly, lurid tales of gay sex, bondage clubs and trysts in hotel rooms with rent boys were not something that the accused ever wanted to emerge. For appearance and status have always meant a lot to Shrien Dewani.

He grew up in a strict, respectable home, the son of a magistrate who ran a nationwide network of care homes, and had a property empire worth millions in Bristol.

Indeed, the family were considered so important in their home of Westbury-on-Trym that other worshippers would wait until they arrived before starting prayers at the Hindu temple where they were grandees.

After going to Bristol Grammar School, where he worked hard and got good grades in his A-levels, he studied for a BSc at the Manchester University Institute of Science and Technology, where he became general secretary of the National Hindu Students’ Forum.

After graduating, he trained as an accountant and worked for Deloitte before joining his brother in the family business as a financial director. Even then, all the time he was hiding a secret.

For by his early 20s, he had joined a gay dating website called Gaydar, using the name “asiansubguy” - a reference to the fact that he liked to be submissive during sex with men.

He used the same username to take out a £50-a-year premium membership of another gay dating site, Recon, which describes itself as the “world’s largest hook-up site for men into fetish gear”.

And he became a regular at the notorious Hoist nightclub in South London. Yet his strict family and religious background meant he kept the truth about his sexuality secret. There was also, increasingly, pressure on him from his parents to get married, particularly after Preyen, his elder brother, settled down.

Shrien struggled in relationships with women. In 2008, he was introduced to a tycoon’s daughter called Rani Kansagra. They were engaged within three months, but split up soon afterwards.

Three months after that relationship collapsed Dewani was introduced Anni Hindocha, a Swedish engineering graduate, whose family had fled Uganda during Idi Amin’s bloody rule, and built up a business and a new life four hours from Stockholm.

On a visit to see her cousin, Sneha, in Luton in 2009, she was introduced to Shrien by mutual friends. He invited her to see the Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre in London.

The pair continued to see each other, spending alternate weekends in Bristol and Stockholm. Shrien proposed to Anni at the Paris Ritz with a £25 000 diamond ring after flying his girlfriend out from London by private jet in 2010. Behind the scenes, however, the relationship was in turmoil. Dewani and Anni rowed repeatedly and broke up several times during their 18-month courtship because of his “controlling” behaviour and lack of sexual interest in her.

Her cousin Sneha Mashru, who was close to Anni, said: “Anni felt embarrassed and hurt, and we both felt it was weird. Anni and I speculated that maybe he was a virgin or perhaps just being proper.”

Mrs Mashru added that Dewani was always “very critical” of Anni’s appearance.

Anni even broke off their engagement at one point. But Mr Hindocha says Dewani’s father phoned him and pleaded that Anni could “not do this” as it would bring the Dewani family’s reputation “down to earth” if he had a second failed engagement.

So Mr Dewani instructed his eldest son Preyen to get Shrien to be more affectionate, and Anni finally agreed to marry him, despite significant “misgivings”.

Throughout their relationship, he had begun secretly meeting Leopold Leisser, known as the “German Master”, paying £400 for the first of several sex sessions four months after he started going out with Anni.

Anni and Dewani’s rows continued. Even as they planned the wedding in India, they argued over the colour of decorations, the theme for functions and the style of clothing.

At one point, Anni texted her cousin: “Fighting a lot with Shrien. Wish I never got engaged. Everyone tells me how fortunate I am... absolutely sick.” Yet when the £200 000 wedding finally did go ahead at the five-star Mumbai Marriott set on the banks of Lake Powai, there were few public signs of tensions as 300 guests watched Shrien and Anni dance to the hit Bollywood song Pehla Nasha - First Love.

But after they went to the honeymoon suite, there was little romance. Shrien scolded Anni for not folding her clothes and spent the night on the sofa, their marriage un-consummated.

“Crying has become my new hobby,” Anni told a friend in one text. She also told friends she was already considering divorce before they left for their fateful honeymoon in South Africa.

Anni’s father, Vinod, said when he last spoke to her by phone on the afternoon of November 13 she said she had a “lot to tell him” and needed to speak to him when she returned the following Tuesday.

They never spoke again. Later that night, Anni was shot dead after their car was hijacked in a township outside Cape Town, apparently on a sight-seeing tour because, according to Dewani, she wanted to see “the real Africa”.

Hours after her body was found, police found Dewani had logged on to Gaydar, the gay dating site, from the luxury hotel where they had been staying in Cape Town.

Ashok Hindocha, the uncle of Anni, told the Daily Mail: “We couldn’t care less if someone is gay or not.

“But Shrien was determined to marry a beautiful heterosexual girl because he is so vain that he had to have a trophy wife. Whatever else happened, by marrying her knowing that he was gay, he had already ruined her life. For that we can never forgive him.”

Daily Mail

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