Anni Dewani murder trial: Family 'just wants to know what happened'

Anni Dewani murder trial: Family 'just wants to know what happened'
Anni Dewani with husband Shrien. Picture: PA

The uncle of honeymoon murder victim Anni Dewani has said her family "just wants to know what happened" when she was killed in South Africa.

The trial of her husband Shrien Dewani will begin in Cape Town tomorrow.

He is accused of ordering Anni's death as they travelled through a township in November 2010.

He claims they were kidnapped at gunpoint.

Seven members of Anni's family have arrived in Cape Town for the start of the trial tomorrow, nearly four years since the 28-year-old model was shot in the neck as she travelled through the township with her husband.

Her uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said the family’s wait for justice has been “agonising”, and that they just want answers so they can mourn properly.

But he would not comment on whether Anni’s loved ones would welcome Dewani back into the family should he be found innocent of all charges.

Speaking on the eve of the trial, Mr Hindocha, 54, said: “We have been let down for four years by the justice system.

“We have been to every court case, in England and South Africa, thinking: ’How can we come to a closure?’ Now we know we are coming to an end.”

Dewani, 34, is due to appear at Western Cape High Court after receiving treatment at Valkenberg Hospital since April.

The millionaire businessman, from Weston-on-Trym near Bristol in England, was extradited from the UK to face trial charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice.

Dewani is accused of paying three men to kill his new bride during the couple’s honeymoon in November 2010, two weeks after their lavish £200,000 wedding in Mumbai.

Before his extradition, Dewani was detained in a hospital in Britain for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Hindocha, who lives in Sweden where Anni grew up before moving to Britain aged 18, said: “Finally now we can have a court case that doesn’t focus on well-being or mental health or the justice systems – it will be about Anni.

“We just want to know what happened.”

He said the family had not spoken to the care home entrepreneur since he was arrested.

Asked if the 34-year-old would be welcomed back into the family in the event of an acquittal, Mr Hindocha said: “That’s speculation. We just want to know what happened. Whatever the outcome, we are ready. We want closure so we can mourn properly.”

Up to seven members of Anni’s family are due to attend various stages of the hearing, including her father Vinod Hindocha and mother Nilam Hindocha – the latter having recently undergone radiotherapy for cancer.

Anni’s uncle said: “It hasn’t been easy for her (Mrs Hindocha), it’s been a very stressful period for us all travelling from one court to another with no real knowledge of the justice system in the UK or South Africa.

“There are too many questions. We need to be there in court and sort this out.”

Prosecutors argue that Dewani conspired with Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife.

Taxi driver Tongo, Qwabe and Mngeni are already serving jail terms in connection with the murder.

Dewani claimed he and his wife were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi in November 2010.

The couple had been on honeymoon in the country. He was released unharmed, but his wife’s body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot dead.

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