Man in court charged with South Africa honeymoon murder

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The Independent Online

A man appeared briefly in court today accused of murdering a newlywed who was on honeymoon in South Africa with her British husband.

Anni Dewani, 28, was shot dead on Saturday night after gunmen hijacked her and her husband Shrien's car.

The couple were driving through Gugulethu township in Cape Town when the raiders struck.

Mr Dewani, 31, and their driver were forced from the car and flagged down a motorist for help. But Mrs Dewani was shot dead in the bungled robbery.

Her body was discovered the next day inside the abandoned car. A post-mortem showed she had been shot.

The couple, from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, had only been married for a fortnight.

Today, Xolile Mngeni, 26, of Khayelitsha, appeared in Cape Town's Wynberg Regional Court charged with murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Shaven-headed Mngeni did not have a lawyer, so the case was adjourned to November 25 to allow him time to get legal representation.

According to the South African Press Association (SAPA), magistrate Jackie Redelinghuys told the defendant: "The state alleges in your case that you committed murder, and that the death of the victim was caused during the commission of a robbery with aggravating circumstances, or committed by a group of people acting in common purpose."

Shortly after the suspect was remanded to custody, police arrested a second man.

Addressing a nationally televised press conference, the country's police commissioner Bheki Cele said the suspect was also 26 and from Khayelitsha.

Mr Cele said officers recovered two mobile phones, a bangle and a watch that linked the apparent hijacking to the arrested pair, SAPA reported.

The police chief commended his officers for a swift response but said: "Prevention would have been better, of course."

He added: "We need to put in extra care to make South Africa safe."

Asked why Mr Dewani was allowed to leave South Africa, the officer answered: "He's not a suspect, so we can't hold him against his will if he wants to go."

The South African police and their British counterparts worked very closely, Mr Cele said.

"It would not be a problem whatsoever working with them if we want to pursue (sic)."

A court order was made today banning publication of pictures of Mngeni ahead of a planned identification parade.