Murder probe takes shock turn
There has been a dramatic breakthrough in the police investigation into the Gugulethu hijacking and murder of foreign tourist Anni Dewani.
- Her husband, British tycoon Shrien Dewani, is returning to South Africa within days, escorted by the British police.
A well-placed police source said that Dewani, 30, was on his way back for “an identity parade and to point out crime scenes”.
- And yesterday, a third suspect, a 31-year-old man from Cape Town, was arrested as police pulled out all the stops to solve the high-profile case that has made international headlines. The arrested man will appear in the Wynberg Regional Court tomorrow.
- Two other men were taken for questioning by police yesterday.
- It is understood the driver of the taxi shuttle, who was hired by the British couple and picked them up at the airport, has turned State witness. The driver’s lawyer, William da Grass, yesterday confirmed there had been “further developments”.
His client was taken in for questioning on Thursday and only released on Friday morning. Da Grass told Weekend Argus that he could “not whisper a word as I would be in serious trouble”.
These developments come in the wake of the Weekend Argus report yesterday that investigators believed the murder was a planned hit and an “explosive revelation” was imminent.
Police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk said yesterday, “Police are working around the clock to ensure the perpetrators of the crimes are brought to book. Detectives have also seized a firearm this week which could be linked to the crime. Several leads are currently being followed.”
Xolile Mngeni, the first suspect, was arrested 48 hours after the fatal hijacking and a second suspect, from Khayelitsha, was arrested on Thursday and is also due to appear in court tomorrow.
British tabloid The Sun reported on Friday that Shrien Dewani’s company, PSP Healthcare, a British healthcare company he runs with his brother and father, is R70 million in debt.
The hijacking of the Dewanis triggered thousands of comments and messages of condolence on Facebook and has made headlines around the world.
Swedish-born Anni Dewani was of Ugandan-Asian descent. She was a part-time model and an engineer. Anni and Shrien were married in Mumbai, India earlier this month. They were on the Cape Town leg of their honeymoon when they were hijacked at about 11pm last Saturday after apparently deciding on a whim to turn off the N2 from Somerset West to check out Gugulethu’s nightlife.
Shrien Dewani told UK newspapers last week: “Anni grew up in Sweden, and she felt as if the area around this hotel (they were staying at the Cape Grace Hotel at the V&A Waterfront) was just like at home: so clean and safe, and maybe a bit sterile. She had never been to Africa before, so she suggested that we should have a look at the ‘real Africa’.”
Police say at the start of the hijacking the criminals dropped off the driver and later dropped Shrien Dewani off in Harare, Khayelitsha. His wife was found murdered early on Sunday morning. She had been shot at least three times.
Shrien Dewani said in an interview: “I don’t want to go into detail about what happened during the attack, because I will probably start crying. But they were so cold. They put a gun in my ear and pulled back the trigger – it really was the stuff of movies. The men kept on saying ‘We are not going to hurt you. We just want the car’.”
Anni Dewani’s father, Vinod Hindocha, said: “There are no words to describe her. She was a dream woman, the most beautiful woman you can imagine.”
Her husband’s family has set up a website for friends and family to raise money for a residential school for tribal children in India and have already received almost £3 500 (about R35 000) in donations.
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