Murdered bride’s husband locked in extradition battle
The British newlywed accused of hiring a hitman to murder his bride was remanded in custody last night as South African authorities fought to extradite him.
Wealthy businessman Shrien Dewani (30) was released on £250,000 bail with an electronic tag and curfew by a judge at City of Westminster Magistrate’s Court.
But the decision was dramatically over-ridden before he could walk free after representatives of the South African government lodged appeal documents.
Dewani will now appear before the High Court where a more senior judge will review whether he should be granted bail.
The Bristol care home owner is wanted over the death of his wife Anni (28), who was found dead in the back of an abandoned taxi with a single bullet wound to her neck on November 13.
Driver Zola Tongo has accused him of offering to pay 15,000 rand (£1,400) for her murder and ordering it to appear like a bungled carjacking as they drove through a notorious township.
The court heard the spotlight of suspicion turned on Dewani when police questioned why he did not use an airport-to-hotel shuttle service.
Investigators also thought it strange that Tongo had taken the couple to Gugulethu, a notoriously dangerous area, to view a restaurant that closed at 9pm.
They were suspicious too of the fact that neither Dewani nor the taxi driver were injured, having been robbed and forced out of the vehicle.
Outlining the alleged sequence of events, Ben Watson, for the South African government said Tongo hired a killer through a middleman and set up an ambush on the main route out of Gugulethu.
The court heard that although Tongo had promised 15,000 rand to the alleged hitmen, Xolile |Mnguni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, they were only given 10,000 rand.
Clare Montgomery QC, representing Dewani, said her client was accused by a group of self-confessed robbers and murderers desperate to escape a life sentence.
She branded the case against him “flimsy” and suggested it was cooked up to defend the reputation of South Africa as a tourist destination.
Dewani was initially told he could be released on bail subject to a string of strict conditions, including a £250,000 surety, that he wore an electronic tag and observed a curfew.