Honeymoon murder accused 'stressed'


Shrien Dewani and wife Anni

A businessman accused of ordering the murder of his new wife is suffering from acute stress, a court has heard.

Shrien Dewani, 31, is accused of hiring a hitman to kill Anni, 28, on their honeymoon in South Africa.

Mr Dewani was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with an acute stress disorder and a depressive adjustment disorder, Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London heard. He did not attend the hearing, which was adjourned to February 8 at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court.

Ben Watson, for the South African authorities, told the hearing that following a psychiatric report, Mr Dewani was judged unfit to attend court and was therefore excused by the judge.

Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said he will review whether Mr Dewani should attend on February 8 when the extradition case against him will be formally opened. The judge extended Mr Dewani’s bail.

The court heard he is facing charges of conspiracy to murder, murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances and obstruction of the administration of justice.

The South African authorities are seeking to have Mr Dewani, from Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol, taken back to the country to stand trial.

Mrs Dewani, from Sweden, was shot when the taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town on November 13. She was found dead in the back of an abandoned cab with a bullet wound to her neck after cabbie Zola Tongo drove the newly-weds to the township.

His vehicle was hijacked and he and Mr Dewani were ejected before Mrs Dewani was driven away and killed.

Mr Watson said the South African authorities believe Mr Dewani conspired with others to make it “appear as if they had both been the victims of a random hijacking”.

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