Dewani arrives back in UK

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Published: Wednesday 10th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Former murder suspect Shrien Dewani has arrived back in the UK after being cleared of plotting his wife’s death on their honeymoon four years ago.

Dewani, 34, left Gatwick Airport through a side entrance which was guarded by police before being driven away in a black people carrier shortly before 7am.

He is believed to have flown in from Dubai rather than taking a 12-hour direct flight from Cape Town to the UK, from where he was extradited in April.

On Monday Judge Jeanette Traverso cleared Dewani after ruling the prosecution case that the bisexual care home boss had arranged the death of his wife Anni was flawed.

Armed police officers were on guard at the airport preventing reporters from approaching the exit used by Dewani.

Wearing a white shirt, jeans and a jacket, he sat in the middle rear seat of the car flanked by a man and a woman.

He is believed to have flown into the UK on an Emirates flight which landed shortly before 6.30am.

Judge Traverso dismissed the case against Dewani, describing evidence from a key prosecution witness as “riddled with contradictions”.

The ruling prompted an angry response from Anni’s family, who are pondering whether to launch a civil action against her husband in the UK.

They said the decision left many questions unanswered as it meant Dewani, who led a double life, would not have to give evidence or face cross-examination.

The family waited four years for the case to be brought against the businessman from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, who had been accused of staging the car-jacking in which she was gunned down.

Speaking on the steps of Western Cape High Court after Dewani was acquitted, Anni’s sister Ami Denborg said the family felt “failed” by the justice system.

Ms Denborg said the family would be “haunted” by the decision. Holding back tears, she said: “We came here looking for answers and we came here looking for the truth and all we got was more questions.

“We waited patiently for four years to hear what really happened to Anni and to hear the full story of what happened to our dearest little sister.

“All we wanted was to hear all the events and the hope of actually finding that out has kept us, as a family, going. Unfortunately we believe that this right has now been taken away from us.”

Drawing on evidence that Dewani had secret relationships with gay men in the months before they married, Ms Denborg said: “We heard that Shrien has led a double life and that Anni knew nothing about it. And we just wish that Shrien had been honest with us and especially with Anni.”

Dewani heaved a sigh of relief as the judge dismissed the case against him. He left court a short time later through a side entrance, declining to comment.

Three men – Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and gunman Xolile Mngeni – have already been convicted for their parts in Anni’s murder, which happened when the Dewanis’ chauffeur-driven late-night tour of a township was hijacked.

Monde Mbolombo, a self-confessed “middle man” who set up the murder, may now also face justice, having previously been granted immunity by the state.

Prosecutors said Dewani had long planned to get out of the relationship to Swedish-raised engineer Anni, 28, and arranged a car-jacking on their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010 in which he would escape unharmed and Anni would be killed.

But Judge Traverso said the claims of the chief prosecution witness, cab driver Tongo, were “riddled with contradictions” and “highly debatable”.

Dewani, who was finally extradited this year to face trial, listened intently as key evidence against him was criticised by the judge.

The ruling ended a four-year wait for Dewani and his family to clear his name – a period which included lengthy spells in mental health units, lurid allegations about his private life and fighting extradition from the UK.

Published: Wednesday 10th December 2014 by The News Editor

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