The father of a British businessman accused of hiring a hitman to murder his wife on their honeymoon has declared he will be proved innocent.
Prakash Dewani broke his silence to say that every member of his family stands by his son Shrien but he fears he could be beaten or tortured in South Africa. He broke down in tears as he gave a sworn undertaking at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court that ensured the 31-year-old can remain on bail at his Bristol home.
The South African authorities applied for Dewani’s bail to be revoked after he apparently attempted to commit suicide at the weekend by taking an overdose of sleeping tablets. But District Judge Howard Riddle ruled he could remain on bail after his father agreed to him being monitored around the clock and other strict conditions.
Dewani, who is said to be suffering severe depression and post traumatic shock, collapsed in the dock and sobbed uncontrollably during his father’s statement.
Speaking in the witness box, Mr Dewani said: “My family is very important to us, my innocent son is most valued. We will do anything as a family to keep him safe and prove his innocence to the South Africans. We are not afraid of doing that step.
“We are undertaking every single thing possible to first get better, defend himself and when he does I want my son safe – not beaten or tortured. I want him to prove himself he is innocent. I know he is innocent. My wife, my family, every one of us support him.
“We will ensure he stands trial in South Africa to clear his name. But when he goes to South Africa he must be safe.”
Mr Dewani, a Bristol magistrate, was cut short as he tried to address the parents of the murder victim, saying: “I will go to the extent, I will say to Anni’s father, if my son is guilty…”
The judge interrupted and said: “That is all I need Mr Dewani.”
The South African authorities want to put Dewani on trial over allegations he ordered the murder of his new wife Anni Dewani, 28, on their honeymoon in Cape Town last November. Mrs Dewani, from Sweden, was shot when a taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town on November 13.