'Anni would NEVER have married such a sordid man,' says her uncle
Free man: Shrien Dewani shows little reaction in the dock as the judge dismisses his murder trial after launching a withering attack on the prosecution’s case against him
Shrien Dewani prevented his dead wife’s family from saying ‘a proper goodbye’ and took control of her funeral, her sister claimed tonight after he was sensationally cleared of her honeymoon murder.
Dewani was found not guilty after Cape Town High Court judge Jeanette Traverso ruled that the prosecution’s case did not have sufficient evidence to convict him.
The decision provoked a furious reaction from Mrs Dewani’s family who said they had been ‘failed’ by the justice system and would ‘suffer sleepless nights for the rest of our lives’.
They were outraged that Dewani did not give evidence, choosing instead to have a statement read out by his lawyer at the start of the trial in which he admitted that he is bisexual in an apparent attempt to dismiss speculation over a possible motive for the murder.
Ami Denborg sobbed as she recalled how her brother-in-law even threatened to call off the memorial service that followed it if she read out a tribute to her sister.
‘There are a lot of things that I will never forgive Shrien for.One of those things is that I never got a chance to say goodbye to Anni in a proper way,’ Mrs Denborg said, in an interview with Sky News.
Speaking just hours after the bisexual businessman was dramatically cleared of any hand in his 28-year-old bride’s murder, her brother Anish Hindocha said he was left ‘with a hole in my heart’.
Mrs Denborg described how flowers and letters written to Anni her family had been snatched out of her coffin by Dewani before the funeral service.
‘It is something I will never forgive him for, because in my view, me, my parents, and the rest of my family never had the chance to say a proper goodbye to Anni,’ she said, her devastated brother by her side.
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Clearly still shellshocked following the controversial decision to throw out the case against Dewani, even before he was forced to launch a defence, the grieving siblings broke into occasional sobs during the frank interview.
They admitted feeling ‘let down’ by Judge Jeanette Traverso’s decision, and had not understood why she had ruled as inadmissible key points of evidence.
‘This is a case that should have been heard.We feel let down,’ said Mrs Denborg.
‘Some evidence was not even admissible and the judge didn’t even give a reason why the evidence wasn’t admissible.’
Siblings: Anni’s brother Anish Hindocha (left) and sister Ami Denborg (right) said they felt ‘let down’ by the decision to clear Dewani of the honeymoon murder
‘It just doesn’t seem fair on us not to know and for the trial to move on,’ she said, speaking at the large apartment in Cape Town the Hindocha family have called home since relocating to South Africa at the start of the trial, two months ago.
Sitting side by side on a sofa, with the city’s iconic Table Mountain in the background, the pair spoke bravely but were clearly inconsolable.
‘I don’t know to move on from this, to take in that the trial has finished.I don’t know how I can move on from not knowing what happened to my sister,’ Mrs Denborg said.
One of the things that continued to haunt her, she said, was the final email written by Anni to her husband — shortly after their Bollywood-themed wedding in mumbai escorts — that was read to the court .
In it, the new bride threatened to leave her husband of two weeks, following his apparent revelation to her that he felt their union was somehow ‘unnatural’.
Mrs Denborg added: ‘From the CCTV that was shown in court, you cant really say if they were a happy couple of not.I read the last email that Anni wrote and that email does not paint the picture of a happy couple.’
Distraught: Anni Dewani’s sister, Ami Denborg weeps as she walks away after making a statement expressing the family’s shock at the South African justice system following Shrien Dewani’s acquittal
Despair: As Mrs Denborg spoke, her father Vinod (left) laid his face on his son Anish’s shoulder as he wept, his face crumpled, with tears falling onto his son’s suit
Mr Hindocha said one of his biggest regrets was to not have known that his sister was conflicted about her relationship with Dewani — otherwise he would have intervened and prevented the marriage.
‘It’s been hell for four years,’ he said, in a voice cracked with grief.
Both agreed they didn’t know how to ‘move on’ with so many unanswered questions hanging in the air, following the trial’s collapse.
‘We want to remember Anni for the person she was, we don’t want that everytime we think of Anni we think of the last four years,’ said Mrs Denborg.’We want to remember Anni as she was.’
Anni’s family have also made a fresh promise to pursue legal action against Dewani for hiding his bisexuality from them.
Her uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said the family would never have allowed the Swedish engineer to marry Dewani if they had known about his secret gay life.
He told MailOnline: ‘We know now that he was having gay sex with male prostitutes and declared himself bisexual on the first day of his trial.
Judge: Dewani was found not guilty after Cape Town High Court judge Jeanette Traverso (pictured) ruled that the prosecution’s case did not have sufficient evidence to convict him
‘We would have preferred to have known about his sexuality before he married our precious Anni.
‘She gave herself to him, mind, body and soul and she hoped to have been cherished and loved.
‘But she would not have married him if she had known about his secret sex life with male prostitutes and the activities he engaged in.
‘Neither would we have, as a family, condoned a union with a man who indulged himself in such a sordid manner.
‘We will now go through this case with our lawyers to confirm whether we can file a lawsuit against Shrien Dewani in the UK.’
His comments came after Mrs Dewani’s parents revealed exclusively to MailOnline last week that they intend to sue Dewani for not disclosing his bisexuality before marrying their daughter.
Speaking for the first time since the trial began, Vinod and Nilam Hindocha said they intended to pursue the civil action in London whatever the result of the trial, but stressed it was not financially motivated.
It is, however, likely to include them seeking compensation for the couple’s lavish £200,000 wedding, which her father branded ‘a drama and false’ and said he had largely paid for.
Earlier, as Dewani was dramatically cleared of having any part in the murder, Mrs Dewani’s family fled the Cape Town court within seconds, clearly in distress.
Anni Dewani’s brother Anish also burst into tears after the verdict.He has been in court every minute of the 25 days of the trial, supporting his parents
Outside, her sister Ami Denborg said ‘the justice system has failed us’.
Her voice cracking with emotion, Mrs Denborg summed up the devastation felt by her family, adding: ‘We came here for the truth, seeking answers but are left with so many unanswered questions.
‘The knowledge of not ever knowing what happened to my dearest little sister…is going to haunt me, my family, my brother, my parents for the rest of our lives.’
Ashok Hindocha also spoke of the family’s fury, saying they had been denied the full story and would suffer ‘sleepless nights for the rest of our lives’.
He said: ‘The decision to end the trial without the defendant offering a defence, means we, and the good people of South Africa, the UK and various parts of the world who have followed the case, will always live without ever knowing the complete events that led up to Anni’s death.’
Mrs Denborg told the BBC that Judge Traverso’s ruling was ‘not fair’ on the family, as they still had so many questions about what happened to Anni.
‘I just feel that today was not fair was us because we waited so long and we just want answers.’
She added: ‘We will never find out the truth and we don’t know how to deal with it and that makes me sad.
‘I don’t know how to support my parents because they are really really sad as well.
‘As a family we have supressed a lot of emotions and stayed strong but today when all this fell apart we just don’t know how to hold on to that any more.’
Asked where the family would go from here, Mrs Denborg said: ‘We have to somehow find a way to live on with what we know.
‘It’s really really hard and how…I can’t say that today because we don’t have an answer on how we will move forward.’
Speaking to Sky News’s Adam Boulton, Mrs Denborg said she did not care if Dewani was guilty or murder or not, she just wanted to know what happened to her sister.
‘We just want to know his version of events because getting the full version will help us to get closure on what happened to Anni,’ she said.
‘We don’t know the full story of what happened to her.’
She continued: ‘We are looking for the full truth of what happened, we don’t really care if he’s innocent or guilty, what we want is to know what happened to Anni and the only way we could have found out what happened to her was to hear Shrien under cross examination under oath telling his version of events on the night of November 13, 2010.
‘That right has been taken away from us and we feel really disappointed we will never ever be able to find out what happened to Anni.’
Mrs Denborg and her brother said they were unaware of Devani’s ‘secret life’, and it had been difficult to learn he was bisexual in court.
‘He should have told us or Anni he was bisexual, we didn’t know that,’ said Mr Hindocha.
Speaking about Judge Jeanette Traverso’s decision to stop the proceedings he added: ‘I think that the judge should have listened to the full story.
‘We have only heard the half story and we believe there are a lot of questions Shrien needed to answer under oath.We believe the case should have gone on.’
Judge Traverso said the prosecution had ‘fallen far below’ the level needed to secure a conviction and attacked the state’s chief witness for giving testimony of such ‘poor quality’ she did not know where the ‘lies end and truth begins’.
Dewani showed little reaction in the dock as the verdict was delivered, bringing to an end his four-year ordeal in which he was accused of orchestrating a plot to murder his wife on their honeymoon in Cape Town.
He is now expected to fly home tomorrow night, a source told MailOnline, and there is said to be a private plane on standby.
Distraught: Anish Hindocha wipes away the tears with father Vinod Hindocha and mother Nilam as they address the media outside the court after the not guilty verdict
Anni’s uncle Ashok Hondocha said the family would now look to take legal action against Dewani after the millionaire confessed to living a secret gay life with male prostitutes
Lawyers say he could now sue the South African authorities for attempting to use his sexuality as a ‘motive’ for wanting his wife killed as a ‘way out’ of the marriage.
Meanwhile, prosecutors faced angry claims about why such a ‘weak’ case was ever brought to court after a number of their key arguments were knocked down by the judge during the trial.
Dewani, 34, has always denied plotting with others to murder his bride, whose lifeless body was found in the back of a taxi in a rough township, on November 14, 2010.
Three men — Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and gunman Xolile Mngeni — have already been convicted for their part in Anni’s murder, when the Dewanis’ chauffeur-driven late-night tour of a township was hijacked.
Prosecutors said bisexual Mr Dewani, from Westbury-on-Trym near Bristol, had long planned to get out of the relationship to Swedish-raised Anni, and arranged the attack in which he would escape unharmed and Anni would be killed.
However, the judge declared that the evidence from the three convicted criminals already was ‘so improbable, with so many mistakes, lies and inconsistencies you cannot see where the lies ended and the truth begins’.
She said the evidence of Tongo, who testified against Mr Dewani after entering a plea bargain, was ‘riddled with contradictions’.
A protester holds an image of murdered Anni Dewani as he shouts in protest against the verdict
She said: ‘Mr Tongo’s evidence and the version of events which he gave are also highly improbable.
‘But having said that, it must be borne in mind that at this stage in proceedings, credibility plays a limited role.
‘The shortcomings in his evidence must be carefully scrutinised to determine whether his evidence is so poor that the court can ignore it.’
The judge also highlighted that two hitmen also convicted of the murder ‘contradict Mr Tongo on just about every aspect of their interaction’.
After the verdict, Dewani’s parents both burst into tears, while his brother Preyen allowed himself a small smile.
Snila Hindocha, Anni’s mother, was shaking as emotion finally overcome her after maintaining composure for last eight weeks.
Captain Paul Hendrickse, the detective who pursued Dewani for four years, looked close to tears.
The swift exit of the Hindochas, to huddle in a private room, revealed how painful the judgment — which took more than two and half hours to deliver had become for them to hear.
Mrs Dewani’s sister, Ami Denborg, bravely spoke on the steps of the court room within minutes of the judgment.
‘Today we feel as a family that the justice system has failed us.
‘We are deeply disappointed,’ she said, as her father Vinod laid his face on his son Anish’s shoulder as he wept, his face crumpled, with tears falling onto his son’s suit.
Tense: The parents of Shrien Dewani, Prakash and Shila (centre) arrive at the Western Cape High Court
Shrien Dewani leaves Valkenberg psychiatric hospital where he was being held during the trial to hear the verdict in his case
British businessman Shrien Dewani is seen in the back of a car as he is driven into the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town to learn whether the case against him will be thrown out due to lack of evidenc
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PROSECUTORS OBSESSED WITH GAY SEX AND A HOPELESS STAR WITNESS: KEY REASONS THE TRIAL COLLAPSED…AND THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
The decision by a judge to throw out all five charges against Shrien Dewani will raise serious questions about the South African authorities’ long and expensive pursuit of the bisexual businessman.
Pre-trial briefings suggested prosecutors considered their case against Dewani to be ‘water tight’, ‘a fact’ and ‘powerful’.
Within days of the trial opening, however, a number of South Africa’s leading legal practitioners and academics lined up to express shock at the poor quality of some of the state’s witnesses.
Here, MailOnline looks at the main reasons why the case collapsed.
Taxi driver Zola Tongo (above) was sentenced to 18 years for his part in arranging the honeymoon murder. Tongo was the only witness who claims to have had any direct contact from Dewani about his desire to have his wife murdered, but his story did not stand up well to days of cross-examination
A POOR ‘STAR’ WITNESS
Taxi driver Zola Tongo was the only witness who claimed to have had any direct contact from Dewani about his desire to have his wife murdered.
The prosecution’s main claim — that the plot to kidnap and kill Anni during a fake carjacking — could only be established ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ by Tongo.
However, he turned out to be weak on the witness stand as his story did not stand up to days of cross-examination.
He was described by the judge today as ‘inconsistent’, his evidence dismissed in a three-hour judgment today as ‘making no sense’, with ‘poor’ explanations to back them up.
Another witness, convict Mziwamadoda Qwabe, also failed to impress when he struggled to tell the difference between his right and left.
The fact that Tongo benefited from a reduced sentence in return for giving evidence against Dewani was, the defence team suggested, even more reason to treat his testimony with caution.
Leopold Leisser (above), a gay prostitute known as the German Master, was called to give evidence at the trial, but much of what the prosecution wanted him to testify about was dismissed by the judge
DEWANI’S SEXUALITY/ MOTIVE
In an attempt to bolster their case, the prosecution tried to use Dewani’s clandestine relationships with men, including a male German prostitute as a possible reason for him to want to be out of his new marriage.
The prosecution had lined up a number of witnesses to testify to Dewani’s homosexuality, including Leopold Leisser, known as the German Master, and a detective from Scotland Yard who retrieved a bundle of sexually-explicit e-mails between Dewani and an older man.
However, on day one of his trial, Dewani informed the court — via a written explanation of his not guilty pleas — that he was a bisexual who had enjoyed relationships with both women and men.
It paved the way for his defence team to call for their client’s sexuality to be deemed irrelevant to his murder trial — and it duly was.
AN ‘ALIBI’ FOR ‘SECRET’ MEETINGS/ CALLS WITH TONGO
Until the start of the trial, the prosecution were confident that CCTV film and phone records which showed how Dewani and Tongo met, messaged and spoke in the hours before and after Mrs Dewani’s murder was proof of a conspiracy between them.
Certainly, security footage of two private rendez-vous between Tongo and Dewani in the wake of Anni’s murder provided some of the most dramatic evidence of the trial.
However, Dewani’s lengthy plea statement to the court provided an apparently plausible explanation for the frequent contact between the two men.
Between the time Shrien Dewani reported his wife missing in Zola Tongo’s car, with two gunmen at the wheel, until her body was discovered, the case was handled by a string of low-ranked police officers.
Once her body had been found in the back of Tongo’s abandoned VW Sharan, the case was handed over to the Hawks — South Africa’s elite detective unit.
Prior to the Hawks stepping in, the investigation was marked by lost notebooks, incomplete witness statements and an inadequate ballistics investigation which had to be re-visited even after the trial got under way.
Judge Jeanette Traverso repeatedly reminded prosecutor Adrian Mopp that he had had four years to get his case in order, before scolding him for ‘scurrying around’ finalising evidence and identifying new witnesses weeks into the hearing.
South African judge Jeanette Traverso (left) will decide whether or not to drop the case against honeymoon murder-accused Shrien Dewani, four years after his bride Anni was gunned down in Cape Town
Strain: Anni Dewani’s father, Vinod Hindocha, arrives at court with her brother Anish
‘We came here looking for answers and we came here looking for the truth and all we got was more questions.
‘We waited patiently for four years to hear what really happened to Anni and the full story of what really happened to our dearest little sister.
‘Unfortunately we believe that this right has now been taken away from us.
‘We’ve had four years of sleepless nights.Will we ever be able to sleep?’
Anish also wept. He has been in court every minute of the 25 days of the trial, supporting his parents.
His mother, Nilam, was silent in her grief, her face wet with tears.
Nathi Ncube, from the National prosecuting authority, defended his department’s decision to pursue Dewani for four years.
Accused: Shrien Dewani (left) is charged with five counts relating to the kidnapping and murder of his wife of two weeks, Anni, (right) in a carjacking during their honeymoon to Cape Town in November 2010
He told MailOnline: ‘There is no verdict that he is found innocent.The judge is of the view that the evidence as is presented at this point is insufficient to secure conviction.
‘The judge did not say he is innocent. They never do.
‘He didn’t testify.If he did testify and the court believed his version it would be a different story.
‘But we do not know what his version was except what was put to the witnesses.’
As Dewani was made to stand in the dock through the judge’s summary, Anni’s father, Vinod Hindocha, stared at him with barely disguised contempt.
In the packed courtroom, the bench where Mrs Dewani’s family have sat throughout the trial was the fullest it has been since the start of the case eight weeks ago.
Happier times: Anni Dewani (centre) is pictured with her parents Vinod (left) and Nilam (right) Hindocha
Anni was found shot through the neck in the back of a taxi which had been hijacked after the couple hired a local driver to show them the ‘real Africa’
They included Anni’s parents, Vinod and Nilam, sister Ami Denborg and brother Anish, who all appeared extremely concerned.
Last week, her family begged her accused widower to ‘tell the world what happened the night she died’ with Anish imploring him to take to the witness stand and recount his story for the first time.
Dewani’s brother, Preyen, who has shown unwavering loyalty to the British businessman throughout the last four years, sat just centimetres away from the dock.
His parents, Prakash and Shila, and his sister Preyal were also in court.
Three men have already been convicted of their role in the death, after the taxi the Dewanis were travelling in was hijacked as they passed through a township late at night.
Dewani has always denied any involvement in the plot.
Innocent: Anni Dewani pictured aged three (left) and seven (right) at her family home in Mariestad, Sweden
Describing Anni’s personality, Mrs Denborg, 37, (pictured right alongside her sister) said: ‘She had the biggest loving heart for her family and friends…She was always happy, always smiling, she loved life’
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DEWANI WALKS FREE BUT ANNI’S FAMILY STILL HAVE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS OVER HER TRAGIC MURDER
Anni Dewani’s family have said it would be ‘torture’ to leave South Africa without her husband giving the full story surrounding her murder
But the judge’s decision to throw the case out before he testified mean there will always be a number of unanswered questions about the events immediately before and after her 2010 killing in Cape Town.
1.Why did they visit a notorious township in the middle of the night?
Dewani was initially adamant that it was Anni who had wanted to visit Gugulethu on the night of her death, but appeared to change his story at the start of his trial.
Prosecutors argued that it was a remarkable coincidence that she asked to visit the township at the very same time that two hitmen were lying in wait to ambush them having been prearranged by the Dewanis taxi driver, Zola Tongo.
Anni’s cousin and best friend, Sneha Mashru, said: ‘I knew Anni so well and there was no way that she would have asked to go and see a poor township in Africa as she was absolutely not interested in that kind of thing.She would especially not want to go and see such a thing on her honeymoon or in the middle of the night.’
She said the day that Anni’s body was discovered, 14 November 2010, Dewani told her in a phone call: ‘Anni really wanted to go and see the townships … you know what she can be like.’ He said that he didn’t want to go, but instead wanted to go back to the hotel … but Anni insisted ‘Now — I want to go now, don’t be so boring.’
The following day he told freelance journalist Dan Newling in an interview published in the Daily Mail: ‘She had never been to Africa before, so she suggested that we should have a look at the ‘real Africa’ We had only been off the motorway for three minutes when it happened.’
He also told four policemen that it was Anni’s idea to go to the township, his trial was told.
But in his statement to court at the start of his trial, Dewani was vague on this point: He said: ‘We did not really have a plan. Tongo suggested things to do and Anni responded.I recall there was some discussion about what Africa is really like.’
2 How did he exit the taxi -leaving his new wife alone with the gunmen- following the hijacking?
Dewani has given different accounts of whether he was pushed or dragged out of the taxi shortly before his wife was killed.
He initially said that he was forced of the rear window of the moving taxi by one of the assassins, while the other was presumably at the wheel.
In an account to Anni’s family — which was secretly recorded — he said that he had been pushed, head first, out of a rear window of the moving car and ‘rolled out like a roly poly onto the road.’
He said ‘I did not hurt myself that much.It was all on sand,’ adding that a suit and a white shirt that Anni’s mother had bought for him was ‘all — you know — dirty’.
In his interview with Mr Newling two days after the murder he gave a similar account, saying: ‘I was dumped through the back of the passenger window as the car was moving.I landed on a patch of sand, landing first on my shoulder and then forehead.’
But in a later interview with the Sun newspaper organised by his then publicist Max Clifford, Dewani said: ‘They couldn’t get me out because the child locks were activated, so they ended up dragging me struggling and screaming out of the window.
In his court statement he was vague on this point, saying: ‘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 away.’
3. Why did he lie about meetings with taxi driver Tongo after Anni’s death?
In his account to Anni’s family, Dewani lied about his private meetings with Tongo.
He denied that the two men had spoken between the driver first dropping them off at the hotel after they arrived in Cape Town and the following evening when he picked them up again to go for dinner.
In fact, CCTV footage reveals that Dewani spent more than ten minutes chatting to Tongo after he and his bride of two weeks had checked in — something he omitted to tell his family, even when he was specifically asked.
He also failed to say that he met Tongo the following afternoon — hours before Anni’s murder — when the driver took him to a black market money changer, allegedly to get the cash to pay for the ‘hit’ on his wife.
Questions also surround his meeting with Tongo two days after Anni’s body was found, when he was seen on CCTV ‘secretly’ handing cash to taxi driver.
The footage from the Cape Grace hotel allegedly showed him slipping away from the lobby where he was sitting with a policeman and his distraught father-in-law to make the 1,000 rand (£65) payment hidden in a white plastic bag.
Dewani failed to give an explanation for his seven-minute absence to the policeman or Mr Hindocha — who remained slumped in his seat — when he returned, the court was told.
But he said in his statement that the payment was for the money he owed Tongo — who was not then a suspect — for the ill-fated trip that led to Anni’s death.
4.Why did he not mention the money or the ‘surprise’ helicopter trip for so long?
Dewani left 15 000 rand (£1200) in the hijacked car which the two hitmen alleged was payment for killing his wife.
The businessman told his trial that the money, which he had changed earlier that day, was for cab driver Zola Tongo to help him organise a surprise helicopter trip for Anni to the top of Table Mountain.
But police say they knew nothing about the planned helicopter trip until the start of his trial, four years after Anni was murdered.
Captain Vinesh Lutchman, who oversaw the initial investigation of the hijacking and interviewed Dewani, told the trial that Dewani said nothing about money being taken from him, or a surprise trip.
Nor did Dewani tell any other police or Anni’s family about them when giving his account of the hijacking.
Paul Hendrikse, who led the investigation, claimed the helicopter trip was a ‘fabricated story’ to explain the cash.
He told Dewani’s trial that, if it was true, it would have been vital information that should have been passed on to the investigating team.
Mr Hendrikse said that the first that he had heard of the helicopter trip from Dewani was when the trial started on October 6.
Defence barrister Francois van Zyl SC said it was mentioned on the BBC Panorama programme about the case which aired in September 2013.
He stood accused of recruiting a taxi driver, Zola Tongo, to stage a fake carjacking as a cover for her murder, with the help of two assassins.
Mannie Witz, one of South Africa’s most senior defence lawyers specialising in murder cases, told MailOnline that Dewani would make ‘a shocking witness’ and predicted he would not be called to testify.
‘If he were my client, I would not let him give evidence in a million years.His story about what happened the night Anni was killed has been all over the show since day one.
‘The defence are in the box seat — there’s no way he can be convicted on the strength of the evidence against him.
‘He could only make it worse for himself — they won’t risk it — he’d make a shocking witness.’
The prosecution case against Dewani has been beset by a string of key rulings in favour of the defence, and poor performances by witnesses for the state.
Chief among them was the exclusion of any evidence relating to Dewani’s sexuality following a dramatic admission at the opening of his trial that he was a bisexual who had paid male escorts and used the online identity as ‘asiansubguy’ to surf the internet for partners.
Prosecutors believe Dewani’s secret gay life was a motivation for wanting his new wife dead.
Intention: The parents of murdered honeymoon bride Anni Dewani, Vinod and Nilam Hindocha, say they will sue their accused son-in-law Shrien Dewani for not disclosing his bisexuality before marrying their daughter
‘Give us the full story’: Shrien Dewani’s brother Anish Hindocha (pictured, left, with his sister Ami Denborg, centre, and parents Vinod and Nilam Hindocha, behind, at a court hearing last year) made an emotional appeal for her husband to be forced to explain how she died
He had told a gay prostitute known as the German Master that he ‘needed to find a way out’ of his relationship with Anni just a month before their engagement.
However, Leopold Leisser, the burly escort who specialises in bondage and role play, stayed only a few minutes in the witness box to confirm Dewani had been his paid client on three occasions, following the judge’s ruling.
Dewani has yet to comment publicly on the case since extradition proceedings began, three weeks after the death.
Friends of the Dewani family yesterday told of their delight that hehad been cleared.
Pankaj Pandaya, who knows the 34-year-old through the Bristol Hindu Temple, said he would be accepted back into the community when he returns home.
The family friend, who has always maintained that Shrien is ‘150 per cent innocent’, added: ‘I’m pleased obviously.
‘I can’t comment about what his future might be but he’ll certainly be accepted back into the community here.’
Family friend Margaret Stewart added: ‘It’s been a very traumatic time for the family.
‘It’s been four years of their lives.He [Shrien] has also been trying to grieve in that time.’
A woman who answered the intercom at the Dewani’s £1.4million house in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, said they were ‘very, very happy’ but declined to comment further.
The exclusive villa is surrounded by thick trees and a high stone wall, and is understood to be home to several members of the Dewani family.
The house was shrouded in partial darkness tonight, and there appeared to be no celebrations marking Dewani’s freedom either at the property or a nearby Hindu temple.
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A FATAL CARJACKING, MURDER CONVICTIONS AND DEWANI’S SECRET LIFE WITH GAY PROSTITUTES: TIMELINE OF THE HONEYMOON KILLING
November 12: Newlyweds Shrien and Anni Dewani arrive in Cape Town, picked up at the airport by Zola Tongo
November 13: Honeymooners Shrien and Anni Dewani’s taxi is ambushed as they take a night-time tour of Gugulethu, a township outside Cape Town
Dewani is allowed to go free, but his wife of two weeks is driven off and murdered.Her body is found the next morning in the back of the abandoned vehicle, with a fatal gunshot wound to her neck.
November 16: Dewani leaves South Africa with his wife’s remains.One of the hitmen Xolile Mngeni is arrested by police.
November 17: Mngeni is charged with the hijacking and murder.
November 18: A second assassin Mzwamadoda Qwabe is arrested.
November 20: Police arrest the newlyweds’ taxi driver Zola Tongo.Anni Dewani’s funeral is held in London.
November 22: The Hindochas and Dewanis meet for crisis talks as rumours circulate that Shrien had a hand in his wife’s death.
November 23: Dewani responds to rumours that he was involved in the murder of his Anni, in an interview with The Sun.
December 7: Tongo is jailed for 18 years following a plea agreement with the prosecuting authorities in which he implicates Dewani.
Dewani is arrested in Bristol on suspicion of conspiring to murder his wife, after South African authorities issue a warrant
December 8: Dewani, from Westbury-on-Trym, near Bristol, appears at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London and is remanded in custody as the South African authorities launch extradition proceedings
March 3: Dewani, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression is admitted into the Priory Hospital in Bristol.
April 20: He is compulsorily detained under the Mental Health Act at Fromeside Clinic, a secure hospital in Bristol.
May 3 to 5: Belmarsh Magistrate’s Court hears Dewani’s extradition hearing.
August 10: District Judge Howard Riddle rules that Dewani can be extradited to South Africa to stand trial.
September 20: Wynberg Regional Court in South Africa hears claims that Dewani approached an airport shuttle service operator and sought a hitman to murder his wife almost immediately after the couple arrived at a five-star hotel in Cape Town.
September 28: Home Secretary Theresa May signs Dewani’s extradition order
September 30: Dewani lodges a High Court appeal against the Secretary of State’s deciion.
March 30: The High Court temporarily halts Dewani’s extradition, ruling that it would be ‘unjust and oppressive’ to order his removal.The court adds that he should be extradited ‘as soon as he is fit’ to be tried.
August 8: Qwabe pleads guilty to charges of kidnapping, robbery, murder and illegal possession of a firearm, in relation to Mrs Dewani’s murder.He is jailed for 25 years
November 19: After changing his guilty plea to not guilty and facing a full trial, Mngeni is found guilty of premeditated murder in Cape Town. Mrs Dewani’s family attends the hearing.
December 3: Dewani is moved to a less secure hospital following reports that his condition has not improved.
December 5: Mngeni is jailed for life for the murder of Mrs Dewani.
April 11: Dewani’s mental health is said to have improved ‘significantly’, a court hears as South African authorities persist with their extradition bid.
May 15: Dewani’s QC Clare Montgomery tells another court update that her client has suffered a mental relapse.
July 1: The full extradition hearing begins at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
July 24: Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle rules Dewani should be extradited to South Africa, prompting his lawyers to announce an intention to appeal.
September 19: BBC’s Panorama is aired which questions whether Dewani could be innocent, prompting outrage from his dead wife’s family.
January 31: Dewani loses extradition fight as South Africa offers assurances about his care and timeframe of trial.
March 3: Three High Court judges reject Dewani’s current grounds of appeal, further paving the way for his extradition.
April 7: Dewani leaves Bristol for Cape Town, aboard a private jet funded by South African authorities.He is accompanied by medical staff and detectives.
April 8: Dewani appears before the Western Cape High Court and is remanded to stay at the high security Valkenberg Hospital.
May 12: Staff at the Valkenberg Hospital report Dewani’s condition has improved.
June 20: Francois van Zyl, Dewani’s barrister, confirms his client will be ‘fit to plead’ at the start of his trial in October, subject to being found fit by a mental health panel.
October 6: On the first day of his trial, Shrien Dewani denies all five charges against him, including murder and kidnapping.
But in a plea statement, he admits that he is a bisexual who has paid for sex with men, including the gay bondage specialist The German Master, who told a newspaper Mr Dewani told him he ‘needed to find a way out’ of his marriage.
October 14: Judge Jeanette Traverso rules that all evidence about Dewani’s sexuality is inadmissible.The state’s case was that his secret gay life was a motive to want to be rid of his wife.
October 28: Taxi driver Zola Tongo tells the trial how Dewani offered him money to arrange his wife’s murder.
November 17: The state closes its case, prompting Dewani’s lawyers to announce they will apply for the charges against him to be dismissed due to lack of evidence.