The first day of Shrien Dewani’s trial revealed turmoil his 18-month relationship with his wife that almost stopped them getting married.
He is accused of orchestrating the murder of Anni Dewani, 28, in a fake carjacking on their South African honeymoon in 2010.
The millionaire businessman, from Bristol, denies all charges at his trial at Western Cape High Court in Cape Town.
On Monday, the court heard that the couple started dating in summer 2009 after being introduced by a mutual friend.
They were married by the end of the next year, just days before Mrs Dewani was shot dead in a taxi, but the relationship was allegedly peppered with arguments and break-ups.
It ended in 2010 but they rekindled their romance in March of that year and later married in Mumbai in a lavish ceremony before travelling to Cape Town for the fated honeymoon.
Dewani admitted in court to being “controlling” and was unfaithful to his future wife, having affairs with men.
A German male prostitute, Leopold Leisser, is expected to be a key witness in the case and will tell the court that Dewani paid him for sex in the months leading up to the shooting, telling him he regretted his engagement but was too ashamed to back out.
In a witness statement, Dewani said: “My sexual interactions with males were mostly physical experiences or email chats with people I met online or in clubs, including prostitutes.”
It is unclear whether his wife was aware of his infidelity but towards the end of May 2010, the couple had a disagreement.
The following letter, from Dewani to his wife, was read in court:
I think it is better if I write this rather than say it on the phone as then you can read it over and over ... I am really upset after our conversation. I realise we are very different but I have always believed in a relationship you can work through those differences. When we first met I immediately liked you ... And no not just because you are pretty ... but because you made me laugh. We had such a good time at the first dinner at Asia de Cuba.
I have always wanted a girl that I can be friends with. One that understands me - and I know that that is not easy. I know that I am so focused that some people think I am intense. I am focused on achieving things in life. I want to be someone who can do things - and that is not just about making money, but it is about having a rounded social life. A family, a business, an input into the community. When we first met and started dating I knew that you were that girl.
It does need to be right for both of us though. I can't believe that I'm gonna write this, and I actually have tears in my eyes as I write it, but if you really think being with me is not going to make you happy then this is not right for you. I really hope that that is not what you are saying but I don't want to feel like I have forced you into something. I really do love you, and hence I don't want you to be unhappy. I want to be with you forever but not if that makes you unhappy ... that I could not bear ... I really hope we work this out.
I am really sorry that I have made you feel like this. You are so precious to me - I know I don't always show it. I often find it difficult to show how much you mean to me ... But please do not think this is because I don't love you.
Speak to you later
Additional reporting by PAReuse content