Bristol

Shrien Dewani fixer 'knew about murder plot'

Image copyright PA
Image caption Shrien and Anni Dewani were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010 when she was killed

A fixer given immunity by authorities investigating the murder of a woman on honeymoon in South Africa knew about the plot to kill her, a court heard.

Bristol businessman Shrien Dewani, 34, denies any involvement in killing his wife Anni Dewani in November 2010.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 29, said that Monde Mbolombo had put him in touch with the Dewanis' taxi driver Zola Tongo.

But defence lawyer Francois van Zyl said Mbolombo "knew much more" and was more than a "link man".

Tongo and Qwabe are both partway through lengthy jail terms - along with gunman Xolile Mngeni - having been convicted of their part in the plot.

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At the scene: Divya Talwar, BBC Asian Network

It's day three but the interest doesn't seem to have died down here in Cape Town. Satellite trucks are still parked outside court and there are dozens of cameramen and photographers milling around trying to get the best pictures of the Dewani and Hindocha families.

In court today, Mr Dewani looked directly at Qwabe in the witness stand just a few feet away from him. He concentrated and listened carefully, making notes as the alleged hitman spoke. Mr Dewani shook his head and seemed annoyed as Qwabe repeatedly told the defence he could now recall details of how the "hit" was arranged.

Mr Dewani was muttering under his breath and looked over his shoulder several times to consult with his defence team sat near him.

It's clearly difficult for Anni's family to listen to details of how her murder was planned. Her dad, Vinod, has had his head bowed for much of the proceedings.

The third day came to a dramatic end after lunch when the witness said he could not continue testifying because of an upset stomach. The judge asked him: "What did you eat last night?" And Qwabe replied: "Prison food."

The Dewanis were held at gunpoint while being driven in a taxi by Tongo through Gugulethu township near Cape Town.

Prosecutors claim Mr Dewani wanted out of his marriage and arranged a staged hijacking in which he escaped and his wife was killed.

Image caption Shrien Dewani is accused of arranging the murder of his wife Anni

He faces five charges, including murder and lying about the circumstances of the death of his 28-year-old wife, a Swedish national.

At Western Cape High Court, Mr van Zyl picked through phone records which showed Qwabe and Mbolombo had spoken frequently on the night of 13 November 2010.

'Link man'

He said: "There are calls between you and Mbolombo. Why?"

The witness replied: "As I said, Monde was the link man. If I had a problem getting hold of Zola then then I would have called him."

Mr Van Zyl asked why Mbolombo called on the night of the murder, but Qwabe said he did not recall.

Mr Dewani's lawyer said: "I put it to you that Mbolombo was much more than just a link man - he knew much more."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mziwamadoda Qwabe has already been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of Anni Dewani

Qwabe replied: "He knew what was happening but he was the link man."

The court was also told about about discrepancies in Qwabe's affidavit and his evidence in court over when the "hit" money was retrieved from the car.

Qwabe said it was "possible" he mixed up his left and right when he searched the taxi looking to retrieve evidence which would have placed him at the scene.

The trial was adjourned until Monday as the court heard Qwabe was not well enough to continue giving evidence.

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