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Not much interest in Dewani’s hometown

British businessman Shrien Dewan prepares to leave South Africa at Cape Town International Airport. File photo: AP

British businessman Shrien Dewan prepares to leave South Africa at Cape Town International Airport. File photo: AP

Published Dec 13, 2014


London - Father Andre Hart, vicar of Westbury on Trym based at Holy Trinity Church, said the Dewani case had not been a major talking point in the Bristol community.

Hart, who is originally from Cape Town, said: “People have views on it, but the case has rumbled on for so many years that it’s run out of steam until this week.

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“The family aren’t that well known in the community and of course they’re Hindu and not Christian so I wouldn’t see them in church. They keep themselves to themselves, but it hasn’t really been a big talking point in Westbury, largely because they’re not that well known here.”

Rasik Patel, chairman of the Bristol Hindu Temple where Shrien Dewani’s family prays, said the 2 000-strong community in the city were relieved he had been cleared.

“We were all supporting him, and the wider Bristol community. It has been very stressful for the family and all those involved in the case, but now it is over and Shrien is coming home.”

Patel said the Dewani family were regular attendees at the temple, although not Shrien in recent years. He added: “It’s a big relief for them and we’ll be planning a welcome for them at some stage. The boy can now recover from this and get on with his life.”

Chris Allen, news editor at the Bristol Post newspaper, also said the story had not grabbed the attention of local people. He said some Bristolians thought he had “got away with something”, but couldn’t understand why it had not generated much interest.

He said: “This morning (Thursday) white paint was thrown at the front of his house so maybe that shows how some people think – but not sure if that’s the majority.

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“Looking at the reaction to the story on our Facebook page, it seems some people think he had something to answer. But generally it hasn’t prompted a groundswell of reaction and I don’t know why that is because it’s an interesting case.

“He wasn’t really well known in Bristol and lives in a suburb called Westbury, so I’m not sure if that many people in the city identify with him.”

Local councillor for Westbury, Geoffrey Gollop, said local people were pleased that justice had been done and Dewani was returning home, but questioned the lengthy extradition procedure. He said: “Obviously there’s been a lot of interest in the case, especially since it was such an awful death.

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“But you have to question why he went through the long extradition process when various arguments were put forward and when it gets to court, the case falls apart?”

He added: “I’m not sure if the community made a judgment, they were just waiting to see the outcome.”

Independent Foreign Service

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