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Dewani case hitman accepts plea bargain

AFP/The Local · 8 Aug 2012, 12:32

Published: 08 Aug 2012 12:32 GMT+02:00

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Mziwamadoda Qwabe pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping, robbery, and illegal possession of a firearm, prosecutor Eric Ntbazalila told AFP.

In his plea bargain Qwabe stated that he had been recruited by fellow suspect Zola Tongo to take part in a "job in which a husband wanted his wife killed".

The couple were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010, when she was killed in a murder that prosecutors say was set up to look like a botched carjacking in a vehicle driven by Tongo.

"The agreement was that Zola and the husband would be unharmed and that the deceased would be kidnapped, robbed and killed," said the statement.

It was meant to "appear like a random criminal act".

Qwabe stated that Shrien Dewani was let out of the car before his wife was robbed of her possessions and shot dead with a single bullet.

He said his third co-accused Xolile Mngeni, who has a malignant brain tumour which has so far prevented him from standing trial, was the one who fired the shot.

The businessman from Bristol, west of London, had claimed that he was forced out of the car window during the hijacking.

Prosecutors hailed the plea agreement as a step toward firming up the case against Dewani.

"It's a positive step for the prosecution because we are now a step closer to getting information on what happened on that day, which will shed some light on the role played by Shrien Dewani," Ntabazalila said.

Dewani returned to Britain with his wife's body days after the killing, but was later arrested and South Africa is awaiting his extradition to stand trial in Cape Town.

Britain has approved his extradition but on March 30 the London High Court temporarily halted the process, citing mental health grounds.

Story continues below…

His lawyers said he was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression and argued the 32-year-old's life could be at risk if he were extradited.

He has strongly denied arranging the contract killing of his 28-year-old Swedish-born wife.

Qwabe said he was "willing and prepared to testify in any subsequent criminal prosecution instituted in regard to this conspiracy".

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:09 August 8, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
25 years in jail as a reward for a plea bargain. Now THAT's a legal system that believes in holding people accountable for their heinous acts.

Wonder how long Dewani can use depression as an excuse to avoid his day in court.

In any case there is presumably some meager solace for the family of the victim in knowing that, if guilty, Dewani will have to deal with the consequences of the South African legal system, rather than the comparatively trivial sentencing that is typical for perpetrators of violent crimes in Sweden.
13:34 August 8, 2012 by Rishonim
Now that's a proper sentence. Had this happened here, (Sweden) he would have received no more than two years in the slammer.
13:48 August 9, 2012 by Flutterbye
Of course we are not allowed to comment on this case in the UK press so will say my bit here.

25 years in jail and I do not imagine SA prisons are the holiday camp they are in the UK.....good.

Now Dewani is crying "depression" yea right....and our joke of a legal system protects him, if he has nothing to fear he would go back to SA and plead his case.

Also who in their right mind goes to a SA township in daylight let alone at night, if the trip was so innocent and they were mugged wouldn't he have been murdered as well as his wife? I mean if left alive he could identify the killers.

This stinks.
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