Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani 'spoke of suicide'
- 19 July 2011
- From the section Bristol
A man accused of murdering his wife on their honeymoon in South Africa said he would kill himself if extradited, a psychiatric expert has told a court.
On the second day of an extradition hearing, Belmarsh Magistrates' Court heard evidence about the mental health of Bristol businessman Shrien Dewani.
South African authorities want Mr Dewani to return to Cape Town to stand trial over Anni Dewani's murder.
They allege he arranged the killing in November last year, which he denies.
A psychiatric expert said Mr Dewani told him he would try to kill himself if extradited and that it would be "quite good" if he died in custody in South Africa.
Consultant neuropsychiatrist Professor Michael Kopelman told the court he examined Mr Dewani twice, asking him what he would do if he were to be extradited to South Africa.
He said he was told by Mr Dewani: "I would try to kill myself, wouldn't you?
"It would be quite good if I died over there, that would make them look stupid."
Since the accusations were made against Mr Dewani, he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression.
On the first day of the extradition hearing on Monday, the judge ruled that Mr Dewani was too ill to attend and was allowed to leave court 10 minutes into the proceedings.
Mr Dewani's behaviour was scrutinised by the lawyers representing the South African authorities.
They said the care home owner had been "carrying out strenuous exercise for hours on end" which included skipping energetically, doing sit-ups and push-ups and using a gym.
On Monday Dr Paul Cantrell, who has been treating Mr Dewani, said this was consistent with his mental state.
It had been suggested that he had been deliberately undertaking heavy exercise in order to raise the level of a substance in the blood called creatine kinase (CK), impeding the start of his anti-depressant treatment, but this was rejected by Dr Cantrell.
Taxi driver Zola Tongo, who has admitted his part in the murder of Mrs Dewani, claimed in a plea agreement with prosecutors that Mr Dewani ordered the car-jacking.
The court is expected to hear another two days of evidence before district judge Howard Riddle decides whether Mr Dewani should be sent to South Africa to face trial.