Bristol

South Africa honeymoon murder victim's family 'shock'

  • 15 November 2010
  • From the section Bristol
Shrien and Anni Dewani
Image caption The couple, who had been married just two weeks, were kidnapped at gunpoint near Cape Town

The family of a British man whose wife was killed in a carjacking on their honeymoon in South Africa say they are shocked by the incident.

Shrien and Anni Dewani, who had been married for two weeks, were kidnapped at gunpoint near Cape Town on Saturday.

Mr Dewani was later released unharmed. His wife's body was found the next day.

At the couple's home in Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol, members of his family said they were shocked and still "trying to take it all in".

Western Cape police spokesman Lt Col Andre Traut said the couple's taxi had been hijacked in Gugulethu - a township 15km (9 miles) from Cape Town - by two armed men at 2300 local time.

"The driver was forced out of the vehicle then the two armed suspects took off with the vehicle with the couple inside," he said.

Mr Dewani, 31, was dropped off at midnight in Harare, an area of the township of Khayelitsha.

He flagged down a passing motorist who took him to a police station where he raised the alarm.

A search was conducted and Mrs Dewani, 28, was found dead on the back seat of the car in Lingelethu West, with injuries to her head and chest.

Mr Traut said a post-mortem examination would be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.

Visited wineries

Albert Fritz, the Western Cape's Minister for Community Safety, appealed for people to come forward with information.

He said: "This could have happened to any of our loved ones and it is important that communities become involved in doing the right thing."

A spokesman for the African National Congress, South Africa's ruling party, said the incident was "lamented by all ANC and right-thinking South Africans", while the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Bheki Cele, said he was appalled "the actions of one or two thugs should bring our entire country into disrepute in the eyes of the world".

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the situation and are providing consular assistance to a British national who is involved, and their family."

Swedish newspapers Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet have reported that the murdered woman was Swedish.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Johannesburg said it was believed the couple had arrived in the country on Friday for their honeymoon.

'Nice family'

The next evening they were on their way back to where they were staying when the abduction happened outside Gugulethu.

The township was established in the 1960s due to overcrowding in Cape Town's black residential area.

It is now said to have a thriving tourist industry, although visitors are warned to exercise caution when travelling in the area.

Jonah Fisher said carjackings were not uncommon in townships, particularly in areas without good lighting.

He added that South African police said they were at a "critical stage" in their investigation and that there were reports blood and fingerprints had been found at the scene.

"Both in Johannesburg and Cape Town there are places that it is not advised people go to particularly in evenings unless you are going with someone who knows what they are doing and whether you should be there or not," he said.

"There is a high level of crime here in South Africa but there isn't a long track record of tourists and visitors being targeted.

'Bad mistake'

"It seems the Dewanis took what turned out to be a pretty bad mistake... but they were also quite unlucky in terms of not many tourists getting caught up in crime in South Africa."

Mr Dewani is reported to own PSP Healthcare, which operates eight nursing homes in the South West of England.

No-one at the Bristol office was available for comment on Monday.

Kamran Ahmed, 17, a neighbour at the Dewanis' home in Passage Road, said: "They were a very nice family, they spoke very politely.

"It's a very bad thing to happen."

Prayers are being said at the Hindu temple in Bristol for Mrs Dewani's family.

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