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Family in trial plea to Dewani


Anni Dewani's family has broken its silence amid reports the murder trial will collapse

Anni Dewani's family has broken its silence amid reports the murder trial will collapse

Anni Dewani's family has broken its silence amid reports the murder trial will collapse

The family of honeymoon murder victim Anni Dewani have begged her accused husband to "tell the world what happened the night she died", as the case against Shrien Dewani teeters on the verge of collapse.

Tensions between the 34-year-old British businessman and the Hindocha family ratcheted up a notch at a press conference in South Africa this morning, when her brother Anish implored Dewani to take to the witness stand and tell his story for the first time.

It is more than four years since Ms Dewani was shot dead in a rough Cape Town suburb after the taxi she and her new husband were travelling in was hijacked. Three men have been convicted for their roles in the murder.

Prosecutors say Dewani organised the hit himself to get out of the marriage.

The Hindocha family statement, given in the shadow of Western Cape High Court, comes as judge Jeanette Traverso is due to decide on Monday whether to throw out the case against Dewani, following an application from the defence that the prosecution's argument was weak, inconsistent and based on the testimony of unreliable witnesses.

If the case is dismissed, it would mean Dewani would be allowed to return to the UK without giving evidence.

In a statement, Mr Hindocha said: "It would be a terrible development in what has been a four-year wait if we and the people of South Africa are not afforded the full story.

"If they are not given the full facts, and by that I mean Shrien Dewani telling the court his version, then Anni's death will remain on the conscience of South Africa forever."

Reports in South Africa have suggested the case against Dewani is likely to be thrown out before the defence case begins.

The trial had been listed to last until the end of next week, but delays triggered by legal wrangling, witness availability and sickness have hit the case.

The latest delay, of almost two weeks, was prompted by the defence application to the judge.

But the Hind ochas, who have travelled from their home in Sweden to sit through each day's evidence since it began two months ago, said they are confident the trial will continue.

The victim's brother said: "I fully expect the South African trial against Shrien Dewani to continue on December 8 and for his application to end the case to be dismissed.

" Shrien Dewani has insisted all along that he would clear his name and his legal team have promised the court since the trial began dozens of times that he would help the court with his own version of events.

"The phrase 'my client will tell the court' has become like a mantra to the judge, media and members of the public who have attended the Western Cape High Court.

"Well, let's have him tell the court, then. That has been his pledge throughout the trial.

"It would be wrong for him to walk away from South Africa without explaining himself what happened on the night of Anni's murder in this country."

Mr Hindocha said his family appreciated the "fantastic" support they had received from people across the world since her death.

But he said not hearing from Dewani - with whom the Hindochas have barely spoken since he became a murder suspect - would mean " a lifetime of further torture for me and my family, particularly my parents".

He added: "Please allow us the opportunity to demand justice for my sister. Please allow us the full story.

"We don't want to return to our homes in the UK and Sweden carrying any doubts at all about whether Anni's murder received a fair and proper hearing in South Africa.

"We have been promised it for four painful years which have devastated our lives.

"My message is simple: Don't let Shrien Dewani walk away without giving us, South Africa and people all over the world the full story."

Earlier this week, in an interview with Mail Online, Ms Dewani's parents Vinod and Nilam Hindocha said they would not have let her marry British millionaire Dewani four years ago if they had known he was bisexual.

Speaking today, her brother said: "There have been reports that we as a family are planning to take legal action of our own and sue Shrien Dewani after this murder trial is over. This is not the right time to discuss this and it is something we may consider in the future.

"However, our motivation is not, and never has been, financial. We just demand the truth. And we do that with heavy hearts after such along time."

Dewani is on trial for allegedly plotting with cab driver Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and gunman Xolile Mngeni to kill Ms Dewani while they were on their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

He denies all charges including kidnapping, murder and defeating the ends of justice.

Dewani claims the couple were hijacked as Tongo was driving them through Gugulethu in his minibus. He says he was released unharmed and his wife was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.

The state alleges Dewani, who said he had sex with male prostitutes, wanted out of his marriage and conspired with others to stage the hijacking for which he paid 15,000 rand - less than £1,000 at the 2010 exchange rate.

Bristol care home tycoon Dewani maintains the money was because Tongo helped him to organise a surprise helicopter trip for his wife.

Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term while Qwabe is part-way through a 25-year jail sentence.

Mngeni was serving life for firing the shot that killed Ms Dewani, but died in prison from a brain tumour on October 18.