Accused was first client I allowed stay over, says escort

Shrien Dewani: Denies the murder of his wife in 2010.

A gay male escort said the millionaire businessman accused of murdering his wife was the "first ever client" he allowed to stay at his home.

Leipold Leisser, 43, & told the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town, South Africa, Shrien Dewani asked him to “sleep over” after their meetings.

Adrian Mopp, prosecuting, explained to the court Dewani had disclosed to Leisser that he was about to be engaged to his wife Anni, and could not find a way out without being disowned by his family.

Dewani is accused of Anni’s murder during their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010. He has pleaded not guilty to the five counts against him, maintaining the couple were victims of a hijacking on November 13, 2010.

Mopp said it was not in dispute that Dewani paid for Leisser’s services on September 18, 2009, February 4, 2010, and April 17, 2010, and that the two had email communication.

Leisser told the court that at their first and second meeting, Dewani went to Leisser’s home and slept over.

“It was unusual and in fact he was the first ever client I allowed to stay at my home. He asked me to sleep over.”

Pieter Botha, defending, interrupted and asked what the relevance of the evidence was.

Deputy judge president Jeanette Traverso also asked what the relevance was, having earlier refused evidence related to Dewani’s sexuality, ruling it was irrelevant.

Mopp said he was trying to show the court the context of Dewani’s relationship with his wife Anni.

Judge Traverso said it was known Dewani spent nights with Leisser and that he slept with other men.

She said that when it came to evidence “of this nature” she always thought twice before admitting it.

Judge Traverso said Dewani had previously broken off another engagement and asked Mopp to argue why she should allow the evidence.

Mr Mopp said the court would eventually be confronted with the question of why Dewani would commit such a crime and that this evidence would assist it.

Judge Traverso said both the state and defence should provide her with written arguments on why the evidence should or should not be admitted.

It is alleged that Dewani conspired with others to stage the hijacking in return for 15,000 rand (€1,080).

Her slumped body was found in the abandoned shuttle taxi in Khayelitsha the following day.

Xolile Mngeni was convicted in 2012 of firing the fatal shot from the front passenger seat of the hijacked vehicle.

He died from a brain tumour on October 18.


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