• Sweden's news in English

Dewani pleads not guilty as Cape Town trial starts

AFP/The Local · 6 Oct 2014, 17:27

Published: 06 Oct 2014 08:09 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Oct 2014 17:27 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
Dewani told the High Court in a written statement that he considered himself to be bisexual - a pre-emptive strike against possible prosecution plans to portray him as a gay man trapped in an arranged marriage which he ended by hiring hitmen to kill his wife.
Glancing nervously around court and clad in a sombre suit and tie, Dewani told the court he was "not guilty" of charges of murder, kidnapping and obstructing justice.
He fought a three-year legal battle to avoid being extradited from Britain to South Africa, claiming he had mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress.
But he was sent back to South Africa in April, where he was found fit to stand trial for the murder of his Swedish-born bride Anni (nee Hindocha), who was shot dead on November 13th, 2010, aged 28.
In a statement read by defence layer Francois van Zyl, Dewani said he was bisexual but was "instantly physically attracted" to Anni and came to love her.
Dewani claims that he and his bride were hijacked at gunpoint as they drove through Cape Town's impoverished Gugulethu township in a taxi.
Dewani escaped unharmed, but his wife's body was found in the abandoned car the next day.
The court was shown graphic video footage of the crime scene, including images of Anni's body in a short black evening dress sprawled across the car-seat.
This prompted audible gasps from Anni's family, who sat across the courtroom from Dewani's relatives. Both families are of Indian origin.
Three South Africans have been tried and convicted and are serving jail sentences of between 18 years and life for their role in Anni Dewani's death.
Taxi driver Zola Tongo admitted guilt in a plea bargain and claimed that Dewani had offered him 15,000 rand ($1,300) to have Anni killed.
He is serving an 18-year jail sentence and is expected to play a key role in the prosecution's arguments.
Another major witness will likely be a sado-masochism "master" who will claim that Dewani paid him for sex.
Gay prostitute Leopold Leisser is said to have claimed in a statement to British police that Dewani had told him he was getting married to a "lovely girl", but he needed "to find a way out of it".
In his statement to the court, Dewani said: "I've had sexual interaction with both males and females. I consider myself bisexual."
"My sexual interactions with males were mostly physical experiences or email chats with people I met online or in clubs, including prostitutes such as Leopold Leisser."
- Justice and closure -
Dewani said his memory of the exact details of the alleged hijacking had been affected by "the traumatic experience which resulted in the loss of my wife".
He described how two men hijacked Tongo's taxi at gunpoint and ordered them to lie down.
"We were both terrified and we immediately complied with his demands. "Anni was screaming," as the men took their money, phones and a ring, he said.
Story continues below…
"The next thing I remember, they were both shouting at me to get out. I pleaded with them to let us both go. They refused."
He said the men told him they would leave Anni at the police station and ordered him out of the car with a gun to his head.
"I tried to open the door but it would not open. I recall the window opening. I recall hitting the ground and the car speeding way.
"The last thing I had said to Anni was to be quiet and not say anything."
Dewani said that after finding someone to call the police and describing the events, he was taken to the luxurious Cape Grace hotel where he and Anni were staying.
When he heard later that Anni had been found shot dead, he said: "At that point my whole world came crashing down."
The trial was adjourned until Wednesday after the prosecution's first witness, a pathologist, described Anni's wounds and said there was no evidence of a sexual assault.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

How to make autumnal Swedish apple cake
Photo: SwedishFood.com

This tasty cake is an autumn staple in Swedish cafés. Why not make it yourself!

Facebook slammed for cutting Swedish breast cancer video
File photo of the landing page of the Swedish version of Facebook. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant removed a breast cancer awareness video because it deemed the images "offensive," according to the Swedish Cancer Society.

Pastor rapped for depicting rival as Nazi in church play
A different pastor. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The pastor allegedly found it funny.

In Pictures: Look inside this perfect Swedish island home
This modern Gotland home was designed and built by two Swedes. Photo: United Frog Studios/AB

Anna-Lena and Johan designed and built their home with tall beautiful windows, a smart heating system, and a separate section for their greyhounds.

Cannabis worth millions seized at Swedish port
A file photo of a Swedish police cannabis find not related to the story. Photo: Polisen

The 300kg haul was found by in a truck which drove off a ferry in Karlskrona.

Roll over Volvo: there’s a new Swedish car in town
Photo: Björn Olsson

Car developers in Gothenburg have given Volvo a new sibling.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
People-watching: October 5th
Must-watch: Incredible time-lapse video of Northern Lights in Sweden
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
jobs available