Xolile Mngeni sentenced to life for Anni Dewani murder

South African is third to be jailed for involvement in newlywed's death

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The Independent Online

Anni Dewani's murderer was branded a merciless and evil person as he was sentenced to life behind bars for his part in the killing of the British honeymooner yesterday.

As Xolile Mngeni became the third South African to be jailed for his part in the death, the ANC’s women’s league announced it would be marching on the British Embassy to protest that Shrien Dewani had yet to be extradited to face trial for his alleged part in his wife’s death.

Earlier this week Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that his extradition hearing had now been set for next July as his mental condition was considered too fragile.

The British businessman and his 28-year-old wife were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010 when they were held at gunpoint after taking a night time taxi ride through the township of Gugulethu. While the taxi driver Zola Tongo and the groom were forced from the car unharmed, Mrs Dewani’s body was discovered the next day in the abandoned car.

Psychiatrists said this week that the 32-year-old, who has always denied his part in the murder, was still suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

Troy Martens, ANC women’s league spokesperson, said they would march next Monday, adding:  "We will be handing over a letter to the ambassador in which we will be raising our concerns as South African women and we hope this plea will reach the courts in England when Dewani's extradition hearing begins again in July.”

They made their announcement as Judge Robert Henry said that Mngeni, who shot Mrs Dewani, deserved the maximum punishment, adding: "He had no regard to her right to freedom, dignity, and totally disregarded and showed no respect to her right to life by brutally killing her with utter disdain.”

Mngeni, 25, was found guilty of premeditated murder last month after a judge at the Western Cape High Court heard an "avalanche of evidence" against him.

Mrs Dewani’s family, who earlier this week described the delay in the extradition hearing as a further “eight months of torture”, were in the public gallery to hear the sentence, clad in black with pictures of the young bride pinned to their clothes.

In August Mngeni's accomplice Mziwamadoda Qwabe pleaded guilty and received a 25-year prison sentence. Tongo earlier admitted his part and was sentenced to 18 years. Both men claim that Mr Dewani organised the hit.