Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Killer of honeymoon bride jailed for 25 years

Murderer: Mziwamadoda Qwabe in court. Credit: Telegraph
This story gripped world attention in 2010. A 28-year-old newlywed, Anni Dewani, was on honeymoon in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband when a carjacker struck, pushing out the husband, kidnapping the wife and leaving her lifeless body somewhere later.


Shrien and Anni
Shrien and Anni on their wedding day. Credit: Mirror

Well, what do you know? It was an arranged deadly drama, scripted by the husband in collaboration with the actors. It has now emerged that the British husband, Shrien Dewani , allegedly gave out the contract to kill his brand new Swedish wife for the sum of $2,100 (about N330,000).


 
The carjacker-cum-robber, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, has just been jailed for 25 years after confessing to the crimes.

What manner of man would marry a pretty woman and then murder her on their honeymoon? If he hated her so much, why did he marry her? And if the hatred started soon after the wedding, why didn’t he simply walk away? What is it about this case that the world does not yet know? The family members of the victim, particularly, are eager to find this out.

Handing down sentence on Wednesday, the Western Cape High Court sentenced Qwabe, a South African taxi driver, to 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, five years each for kidnapping and illegal possession of a firearm, and 25 years for murder. Judge John Hlophe said the robbery, kidnapping and firearm terms would run concurrently with the murder sentence.

Qwabe pleaded guilty to all charges, after signing a plea agreement.

Judge Hlophe separated the trial of Qwabe's co-accused Xolile Mngeni, who was expected to appear later.

In the plea agreement, Qwabe admitted to kidnapping Anni Dewani in Gugulethu in collaboration with co-accused Xolile Mngeni, Zola Tonga and Anni's husband, Shrien Dewani.

He admitted assaulting her with a firearm to force her into submission, and robbing her of a Giorgio Armani watch, a gold and diamond bracelet, a handbag and her cellphone. Her possessions were worth about R90,000.

He further pleaded guilty to driving Dewani to Ilitha Park, in Khayelitsha, where he shot her in the neck, killing her in the car.

 “The agreement was that Zola and the husband would be unharmed and that the deceased would be kidnapped, robbed and killed,” Qwabe said in the plea agreement.

“The kidnapping and robbery were part of the plan to make it appear that this was a random criminal act, unconnected to Zola or the husband.” 

Shrien Dewani has repeatedly denied these allegations. He is being treated in the United Kingdom for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and is tied up in extradition proceedings in the UK.

At the end of July, his lawyer Claire Montgomery told the Westminster Magistrate's Court that keeping her client under medical treatment in Britain for 12 months would speed up his recovery, rather than jeopardise it by sending him to SA.

The British Press Association reported that the hearing was adjourned to September 18 for a psychiatrist to examine Dewani and give the court more information on his condition. Only then would a decision be made on whether he was fit to stand trial in Cape Town.

Mr. Dewani faces charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and obstructing the administration of justice.


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