Hubby’s lawyers to say Indian-origin woman shot accidentally

Sunday, December 19, 2010

LONDON - Lawyers hired by a honeymoon murder accused, Indian-origin British businessman Shrien Dewani, say they have evidence suggesting his newly-married wife was “accidentally” killed during a carjacking incident in Cape Town.

Anni, a 28-year-old engineering graduate of Ugandan-Indian descent from Sweden, was killed in Cape Town Nov 13 when two men hijacked the car she and Shrien were travelling in. Shrien was let go by the attackers.

Dewani allegedly offered a taxi driver 1,400 pounds to arrange for Anni to be shot dead in a staged carjacking, according to claims outlined by a prosecutor in South Africa.

Now Shrien’s lawyers would claim Anni was shot dead accidentally by her abductor as he tried to rape her, The Daily Telegraph reported.

This would help to falsify the theory that Anni was executed by hitmen hired by Shrien.

Ballistics and forensics experts commissioned by Dewani’s defence team have found that the single bullet which killed Anni passed first through her hand and then into her neck, severing an artery.

The autopsy also shows Anni’s killer had at one stage grabbed her leg, suggesting she may have struggled and that the gun may have gone off accidentally.

“There is a clear grip mark on her lower leg and the wound doesn’t look like an execution style one. It looks like the gun could have been accidentally discharged in circumstances where they were threatening to rape her,” a legal source said.

This evidence will be used in the British courts to try and block South Africa’s attempts to extradite the 30-year-old businessman.

The lawyers will also argue that Dewani will not receive a fair trial in South Africa following a number of prejudicial comments.

A close relative said: “Shrien has been rocked by people in senior positions in South Africa with influence and power referring to him as a monkey, a murderer and evil.”

“Comments by these people have not added to the confidence we should have in the administration of justice in South Africa. We are fearful of lots of things and the actions of those around us are compounding and adding to that fear.”

The relative said claims that the two men accused of murdering Anni confessed only after being beaten and tortured. One of the men claimed to have had a plastic bag pulled over his head during questioning. This has only added to Dewani’s concerns about being forced to return to South Africa to face trial.

Dewani’s relative suggested the businessman was being set up to preserve South Africa’s reputation among tourists.

“Tourism is obviously a huge revenue stream for the South Africans and I would expect them to do everything possible to protect that revenue.”

“I think this whole thing has turned into something much bigger than anyone ever expected and the sad thing is it has distracted from the real truth which is Anni has been taken away from us and we don’t know why or what happened,” the relative said.

“Shrien is devastated. He can’t sleep he is getting playbacks of what happened and he is conscious his future has been taken away from him.”

Dewani’s family has also released video footage of the couple enjoying their first dance at their wedding in October as further evidence that the couple were “madly in love with each other”.

The minute-long compilation shows Dewani and his new bride smiling and laughing together.

The family says it is further proof there were no marital problems which could have led Dewani to have his bride murdered.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

will not be displayed