Anni Dewani honeymoon murder: Husband's post-traumatic stress disorder has mutated, court told

Dewani's wife Anni was shot when a taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010

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The Independent Online

A businessman wanted in South Africa over the honeymoon murder of his wife is a “husk” of his former self who spends his days playing computer games in a disused camper van, a court heard today.

Shrien Dewani is currently being treated in a secure mental health hospital for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) so he can be extradited to face the charges.

Dewani's 28-year-old wife Anni, who was from Sweden, was shot when a taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that the symptoms he is suffering have mutated.

The court was told Dewani has a "withdrawn" attitude and spends his time in a camper van outside Fromeside Clinic in Bristol playing on his computer.

He has flashbacks and remembers the breath of a man holding a gun to his head.

His lawyer, Clare Montgomery, said: "He cannot travel by car as he has a severe reaction, he doesn't want to get into a travelling car or go outside.

"He doesn't even want to go to the shops on his own," she added as the conditions of his bail were discussed. "In his current state it is unthinkable he would be able to plan any escape, let alone effect one."

Hugo Keith QC, representing the South African authorities, said the 32-year-old does not see himself as a patient at times, that he has fought against treatment and has been aggressive towards staff.

Giving evidence, his psychiatrist Dr Paul Cantrell admitted that Dewani had "adapted poorly" to treatment.

He said: "His depression has moved into the moderate range albeit in the lower range of that, in the borderlands between severe and moderate.

"I am clear that his PTSD remains in the severe range and the PTSD has mutated over time."

District Judge Howard Riddle agreed to allow Dewani to switch from Fromeside to Blaise View mental health hospital in Bristol, which was described as a more "open, relaxed and calm environment".

Dewani's bail conditions include a £250,000 security which has already been paid, not to leave the mental health hospital where he is required to spend nights without permission and to continue with his treatment.

His mental condition will be reviewed again at Westminster Magistrates' Court in April next year, ahead of a provisional full extradition hearing date set for July 1.

Speaking outside court, Mrs Dewani's uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said the wait for the extradition hearing would be "eight months of torture" for the family.

"We accept the court's decision today," he said. "We know these things take time and British justice has taken too much long time."

Mr Hindocha said Mrs Dewani's father, Vinod Hindocha, who was also in court today, will fly to South Africa tomorrow to "ensure justice is being done".

In March, the High Court temporarily halted Dewani's extradition because of his poor mental health.

Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that it was "unjust and oppressive" to send him to South Africa straight away.

But they rejected claims that he should not be extradited on human rights grounds and said it is in the interests of justice that he be extradited "as soon as he is fit".

Last month, Xolile Mngeni, a hitman allegedly hired by Dewani, was found guilty of premeditated murder after a judge at the Western Cape High Court heard an "avalanche of evidence" against him.

Prosecutors allege the 25-year-old pulled the trigger after he was recruited to carry out the assassination in an attack designed to resemble a car hijacking.

Mrs Dewani was found dead in the back of the abandoned vehicle with a bullet wound to her neck after taxi driver Zola Tongo drove the newly-weds to the area.

He and Dewani were ejected by the hijackers before Mrs Dewani was driven away and killed.

Tongo, who has admitted his part in the crime, claimed in a plea agreement with prosecutors that Dewani ordered the carjacking and paid for a hit on his wife.

The trial continues.