Honeymoon murder suspect 'suffers mental-health relapse'

Honeymoon murder suspect 'suffers mental-health relapse'

A British man wanted in South Africa over the honeymoon murder of his wife has suffered a mental health relapse, a court has heard.

Shrien Dewani (aged 33) is being treated at a hospital in Bristol for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but Westminster Magistrates' Court heard last month his condition had "improved significantly".

Dewani's 28-year-old wife Anni was shot when a taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010.

Clare Montgomery QC, for the defence, said on Wednesday that doctors had taken Dewani off the anti-anxiety medication which was helping him most with his condition after a bad reaction.

"We may have taken one step back having taken two steps forward," she said.

But despite the setback, the court heard that a full extradition hearing is still expected to go ahead in July.

In view of Dewani's condition, he has been sectioned for a further 12 months under the Mental Health Act.

It also emerged on Wednesday that the defence made proposals last month for Dewani to make a voluntary return to the African country, although the details of the offer were not discussed in court.

Under the South African government's current plans, if Dewani is extradited he will be assessed upon arrival for mental health issues.

If he is considered at risk, he will be taken to the psychiatric unit at Valkenburg Hospital in Cape Town, before being sent to the city's Goodwood prison.

Hugo Keith QC, representing the South African authorities, told the court they were happy for a defence expert to visit Valkenburg to assess its suitability.

He said he would need to take instructions on whether a similar inspection of Goodwood was possible.

Mr Keith argued that the South Africans would "trip over their corporate toes" to make sure that Dewani receives the right psychiatric support if he is extradited.

Chief magistrate Howard Riddle rejected a request from the defence to put back the full extradition hearing so a specific expert could visit Valkenburg in August.

"I am very, very reluctant to delay this case any further," he said.

The full extradition hearing is expected to start on July 1.

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