Honeymoon accused faces extradition

The businessman accused of murdering his new wife on their honeymoon can be extradited to South Africa to stand trial, a judge ruled today.

Shrien Dewani, 31, denies any involvement in the death of Anni Dewani, who was shot dead in a taxi in Cape Town last November in an apparent car-jacking.



Her widower, who is accused of ordering the attack, has fought extradition proceedings, saying he is suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.



District Judge Howard Riddle, handing down the judgment at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in south-east London, said there was a "strong public interest" in Dewani being extradited, however.



He said he had "no doubt" Dewani is at high risk of suicide or self-harm, but that he believed he would receive appropriate mental health care at the hands of the South African authorities.



Judge Riddle said Dewani, whom he described as "good-looking, youthful and physically well-preserved", would be particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse, adding: "There has been some suggestion that he may be gay."



But he added that he was satisfied that Dewani, a care home owner from Bristol, would be held in a prison with a good level of facilities and be kept in a single cell.



Dewani, who has been staying at a secure mental health hospital in Bristol, sat in the dock wearing a dark blue sweatshirt and black trousers and stared straight ahead at the judge throughout the hearing. Members of his family were present to hear the decision.



The newlyweds were being chauffeured through the dangerous township of Gugulethu when their taxi was hijacked on November 13. Dewani was ejected while his wife was driven off and shot dead. Her body was found the next morning in the back of the abandoned cab.



Taxi driver Zola Tongo, who has admitted his part in the crime, claimed in a plea agreement with prosecutors that Dewani ordered the car-jacking and paid for a hit on his wife.



Anni's relatives were praised by the judge for their "quiet dignity" throughout the months of court proceedings.



Speaking outside court, her father Vinod Hindocha, who was accompanied by wife Nilam, thanked the judge for the "fair" decision and said the day was not about Dewani but "about my beautiful daughter Anni, not forgetting her".



He added: "I'm sure she'd be very, very happy today to hear the decision.



"I wish Shrien a very speedy recovery so he can now put his head down and help the police and clear his name."



Dewani faces charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and obstructing the administration of justice.



The judge said it should now be for the South African courts to decide if he is guilty.



"Either Mr Dewani arranged for his new bride to be brutally murdered or he himself has been the victim of a terrible tragedy," he added.



The application to extradite Dewani will now be passed to Home Secretary Theresa May for her to make the final decision.





PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent