Man accused of Dewani killing prepared for long trial

Man accused of Dewani killing prepared for long trial

A man accused of being hired by newlywed Shrien Dewani, from Bristol, to kill his bride on their honeymoon in Cape Town has denied the charge and is going for the "long haul", a court has heard.

Xolile Mngeni, who has a brain tumour, is accused of killing Anni Dewani, 28, in an apparent car hijacking in the impoverished Gugulethu township in November 2010.

Mngeni appeared at Western Cape High Court where he denied murder, kidnapping, robbery and illegal possession of a firearm.

He also refused to make any formal admissions meaning the case will probably be lengthened with prosecutors having to prove each fact.

Judge Robert Henney said: "My goodness, so he's going for the long haul."

Mr Henney warned Mngeni, who sat calmly beside his lawyer, that the murder charge carried a life sentence "because of the manner in which it was planned".

The Swedish victim was shot dead after the car she was travelling in with her husband was hijacked. Dewani, who the authorities want to extradite to South Africa, was ejected from the vehicle and Mrs Dewani's body was found later.

So far, two men have admitted their roles in Mrs Dewani's murder and claimed her husband orchestrated the killing. Mziwamadoda Qwabe was jailed for 25 years and taxi driver Zola Tongo was jailed for 18 years after saying Dewani offered him 15,000 rand (about €1,485) to arrange the killing and make it look like a carjacking.

Dewani, a care home owner, is due at Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 18 when an update will be provided on his medical condition. He is currently in the care of medics after being diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In Tongo's plea bargain confession he alleged Dewani had previously arranged for someone to be killed in a fake hijacking in South Africa.

On Wednesday, a witness who was given immunity from prosecution and whose identity was kept secret for fear of reprisals, said a person believed to be Dewani had previously organised a hit to look like a hijacking.

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