Millionaire Pleads Not Guilty in Murder of New Bride

Shrien Dewani's trial in 2010 killing starts in South Africa
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2014 8:04 AM CDT
Millionaire Pleads Not Guilty in Murder of New Bride
British businessman Shrien Dewani appears in the high court in Cape Town, South Africa, on Oct. 6, 2014.   (AP Photo/Mike Hutchings, Pool)

Nearly four years after his wife was killed in an apparent carjacking during their South Africa honeymoon, Shrien Dewani today pleaded not guilty to arranging her murder. Prosecutors say the British millionaire hired hit men to kill his wife, Anni, in Cape Town in November 2010. The couple was in a taxi driven by Zola Tongo when the car stopped and was set upon by gunmen, who ultimately let Dewani go but shot his wife dead. Tongo confessed to hiring two men to kill her, but said Dewani paid him to do so; Tongo was sentenced to 18 years. The other two men were also sentenced. Dewani returned to the UK and fought extradition for years, but he was finally sent back to South Africa in April, CNN reports.

The couple had been married just two weeks when Anni was murdered; the BBC reports that they started dating in the summer of 2009 and had a volatile relationship. In May 2010, the court was told, they had an "angry disagreement" that led to Anni wanting to call off the wedding because Dewani was too controlling; Dewani sent her a letter that included the line, "I really do love you. Want to be with you forever." Through his lawyer, Dewani, now 34, told the court, "We really frustrated each other, we were in love." He says his "whole world came crashing down" when she died; he fought extradition based on mental health grounds, with experts testifying he was suffering from PTSD and depression and had even attempted suicide. But after a psychiatric observation in August, he was declared fit to stand trial. (More Shrien Dewani stories.)

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