'No substance' in Dewani claims
Published 12/12/2010 | 03:22
The widow of a man murdered in South Africa whose case has been linked to honeymoon killing suspect Shrien Dewani has said that allegations against him had no substance.
Heather Raghavjee, whose husband Dr Pox Raghavjee was killed in a carjacking three years ago, said her heart went out to "the young lad".
British newlywed Mr Dewani is accused of hiring a hitman to kill his bride Anni on their South African honeymoon and has also been linked to the murder of Dr Raghavjee. South African national commissioner general Bheki Cele has said police are investigating a link between the wealthy businessman and the murder.
Dr Raghavjee died in King William's Town, Eastern Cape, but the case reportedly remains open.
Publicist Max Clifford, who represents Dewani, has dismissed the possibility his client was implicated in either murder and issued a statement from Mrs Raghavjee, which said: "I am very upset myself, and particularly for Shrien and his family, for the awful accusations that have emerged from South Africa, concerning the murder of my husband three years ago. Shrien Dewani is suffering from the tragic murder of his wife, which is made even more painful for him by horrible totally false accusations that have come out of South Africa. There is absolutely no substance in these allegations, and my heart goes out to the young lad."
Mr Clifford has said Dewani, from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, met Mrs Raghavjee in South Africa after the murder. But he said they had never previously met and Mrs Raghavjee had made the journey at the request of her daughter-in-law Alvita Raghavjee, who lives in the Bristol area and knows the Dewani family.
"Heather Raghavjee flew from King William's Town in South Africa to Cape Town to try to comfort the family at the request of her daughter-in-law Alvita, who lives in the Bristol area and knew the Dewani family," Mr Clifford has said. "She had never met Shrien before in her life. But she experienced what he experienced when her husband, Dr Pox Raghavjee, was shot dead in a carjacking three years earlier."
The PR guru added: "How flimsy and ridiculous this whole thing is. If it wasn't so tragic it would be a farce, a comedy."
Dewani, 30, was released from Wandsworth Prison on bail on Friday after his family came up with £250,000 security. He is wanted by South African police for conspiracy to murder Anni, 28, who was killed after their taxi was seized by gunmen.
Taxi driver Zola Tongo accused Dewani of offering to pay 15,000 rand (£1,400) for his wife's murder and ordering it to appear like a bungled carjacking as they drove through the notorious township of Gugulethu. Tongo's allegation formed part of a plea agreement drawn up with prosecutors at Western Cape High Court where he was jailed for 18 years last week for his part in the killing.