Murder case of Swedish honeymooner postponed

Murder case of Swedish honeymooner postponed
The murder case of three men accused of killing a Swedish honeymooning tourist was postponed in Cape Town on Monday for a week to allow further investigation and finalise a plea bargain with one of the accused.

“The matter is remanded until next Monday,” magistrate Jackie Redelinghuys told the court, ordering the three suspects back into custody.

The three are charged with murdering 28-year-old Anni Dewani after hijacking the taxi in which she was travelling with her British husband on November 13 on the outskirts of Cape Town.

William da Grass, attorney for one of the accused Zola Tongo, told the court that negotiations for his client to agree to a plea bargain turn state witness could be finalised by Monday. Tongo was the driver of the vehicle in which the couple were abducted.

“The possibility exists…that we may possibly conclude these negotiations and the plea bargain come the next appearance,” Da Grass told the Wynberg regional court.

Newlywed husband Shrien Dewani was released unhurt on the outskirts of Cape Town, but his wife was kidnapped and shot dead. Her body was later found in the hijacked vehicle in an impoverished township neighbourhood.

She was also robbed of a Giorgio Armani ladies wristwatch, a white gold and diamond bracelet, a handbag and a BlackBerry mobile telephone, the charge sheet states.

Tongo, along with Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25 and Xolile Mngeni, 23, are charged with murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and kidnapping.

The charge sheet states that “the murder was planned or premeditated and committed by a person, group of persons or syndicate acting in the furtherance of a common purpose of conspiracy.”

If negotiations with the state are successful, Tongo’s attorney said his client’s plea and sentencing could take place on Monday. A police identity parade took place at the weekend but Dewani did not attend, local media reported.

“My client has not been asked to come to South Africa. He has not been asked to participate in an ID parade and he is not in South Africa,” Billy Gundelfinger, a South African lawyer acting for Dewani told South Africa’s Sunday Times.

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