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CRIME

Police probe Dewani case link to 2007 murder

South African police are investigating a possible link between the murder of Swedish newlywed Anni Dewani and the 2007 killing of a local doctor under similar circumstances, media reported on Sunday.

Police probe Dewani case link to 2007 murder

The Sunday Times said Dr. Pox Raghavjee, was found shot dead in his car in Bhisho, a small town in the Eastern Cape region, in 2007, but nothing was stolen from him.

However, his widow, Heather Raghavjee, who travelled to Cape Town to comfort businessman Shrien Dewani after the murder of his wife Anni last month, said allegations of a link between the two killings were baseless.

“National police commissioner Bheki Cele confirmed yesterday that police were probing links between the 2007 killing of an Eastern Cape doctor to Anni’s murder,” said the Sunday Times.

Dewani was killed in a poor suburb outside Cape Town, after a taxi she was travelling in with her husband was hijacked during their honeymoon. The hijackers released Dewani and made off with his wife. Her body was later found with a single bullet to her neck.

Dewani’s publicist Max Clifford has dismissed the possibility that his client is implicated in the murder of his wife or that of Raghavjee. Heather Raghavjee on Sunday expressed shock at the allegations in a statement issued by Clifford.

“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 today. There is absolutely no substance in these allegations, and my heart goes out to the young lad,” said the statement.

Clifford earlier lashed out at the claims, branding them “flimsy and ridiculous.”

“If it wasn’t so tragic it would be a farce, a comedy. 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,” he 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,” he added.

One of the men who had been arrested for the killing, Zola Tongo, turned state witness and implicated Dewani in his wife’s murder. He claimed that he was approached by the Briton whom he met at Cape Town airport and promised 15,000 rand ($2,175) “to remove someone off the

scene.”

Tongo’s plea bargain documents reveal that the attack was in fact part of a plan devised together with Dewani to conceal the murder. He claimed that Dewani mentioned he had arranged a fake hijacking in the country before.

Police have also seized three sets of CCTV footage showing two separate meetings at a Cape Town hotel between Dewani and Tongo and records of text messages between the two men, which were exchanged before the murder, said the paper.

According to a Sunday Times special report, Dewani conned a luxury game lodge where the couple stayed before travelling to Cape Town to give him a discounted rate.

He pretended to be a travel consultant in order to qualify for a special accommodation rate at Chitwa Chitwa lodge, near the famous Kruger National Park. He paid 3,000 rand for three nights instead of a fee of 36,000 rand.

Dewani has denied any involvement in his wife’s murder after his arrest in Bristol last week.

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CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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