A British millionaire extradited to South Africa accused of murdering his wife on their honeymoon has pleaded not guilty on the first day of his trial.
Shrien Dewani, 34, denies plotting to kill new wife Anni on their luxury getaway to Cape Town in November 2010, as they took a cab ride through a township.
He told the court, through his solicitor, that he was bisexual.
The care home owner, from Weston-on-Trym near Bristol, has always denied paying three men to shoot Anni, days after their lavish €255,000 wedding in Mumbai. He was extradited from the UK to face trial.
Appearing at Western Cape High Court in Cape Town this morning, Dewani denied murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice.
Wearing a dark suit and with his jet black hair greying, Dewani stood and calmly addressed the court and judge Jeanette Traverso, saying: “I plead not guilty to all five counts, my lady.”
Before his extradition, and between months of court hearings, Dewani was detained in a hospital in Britain with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
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.
Dewani was released unharmed, but his wife’s body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot.
The trial is expected to offer harrowing detail on the circumstances surrounding Mrs Dewani’s death.
Members of the victim’s family have travelled from Sweden, where she was raised, to attend the hearing, which is expected to last for around two months.
It is not yet known whether Dewani will be giving evidence in his defence.
The case will not follow that of decorated South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, whose recent televised murder trial was seen as something of a landmark moment for the country’s judicial system.