Drama expected when court hears how UK tourist murdered in South Africa

08:21, December 06, 2010      

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Explosive revelations about the murder of UK honeymoon bride Anni Dewani in South Africa on Nov. 13 will emerge in court on Monday, the Sunday Times newspaper in Johannesburg reported on Sunday.

The case has attracted international media attention amid claims that Dewani's widow, Shrien, exploited South Africa's reputation for crime by orchestrating the murder.

The couple's hired vehicle was hijacked in Gugulethu, near Cape Town and later found in nearby Khayelitsha. Both are among the areas worst hit by crime in South Africa.

The Sunday Times said the taxi driver at the heart of the case, Zola Tongo, will reveal all on Monday.

The newspaper said Tongo will name a fourth suspect - who is yet to be arrested.

Late on Saturday Tongo was on the verge of signing a plea agreement that would see him plead guilty, turn state witness and tell all. In South Africa witnesses who help the state to secure a prosecution can receive immunity from prosecution.

Tongo and two alleged hijackers are due to appear in the Wynberg Regional Court in Cape Town to face charges of kidnapping, murder and robbery.

The South African Sunday Times also reported that the couple was not legally married.Although the couple had held an elaborate wedding ceremony in India in early November attended by more than 300 guests, the marriage was reportedly not formally registered.

Tongo, 31, was driving the newlyweds when they were hijacked in Gugulethu. Tongo and Shrien Dewani, 30, were released unharmed, but Anni was shot once in the neck and her body was left behind in the abandoned VW Sharan.

Tongo, a chauffeur at a limousine-hire service who was moonlighting at the time of the attack, was arrested a week later and offered to turn state witness.

Tongo's lawyer, William da Grass, said: "My client will make a full disclosure to unburden himself.

The idea is to put his statement in the public domain when he appears in court." Da Grass said that if the plea bargain process was completed as planned, "the circumstances surrounding Dewani's death will become patently clear . . . (and) will end the speculation and rumor-mongering."

Shrien Dewani has vigorously denied being a suspect in the case.

The millionaire businessman, from Bristol in the UK, contributed to the mystery around the murder by giving contradictory accounts of what happened. He said it had been Anni's idea to drive into the township late on a Saturday night - but then attributed the idea to Tongo.

Dewani hired top UK spin doctor Max Clifford, who has accused the South African media of spreading lies about his client.

Dewani also hired top Johannesburg lawyer Billy Gundelfinger on a watching brief. This week the lawyer withdrew his services.

Two suspects in custody -- Xolile Mngeni, 23, and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25 -- have accused police of torturing them, but have yet to lodge formal complaints with South Africa's Independent Complaints Directorate.

The Sunday Independent newspaper in Johannesburg reported that these two men's lawyers Vusi Tshabalala and Thabo Nogemane said they would raise the matter in court. This could lead to delays in the case with a trial-within-a-trial to test the admissibility of any confessions obtained by the police.

The Sunday Independent reported that there was speculation in the UK on the whereabouts of Dewani, and whether he was in South Africa for a court appearance.

However the Sunday Times in Johannesburg said Dewani's publicist Clifford had refused a request by to interview Dewani, saying he was under sedation at home in Bristol, UK.

Source: Xinhua


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