Bristol

Shrien Dewani trial: Killer denies shooting Anni Dewani

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

A convicted killer has denied shooting dead honeymooner Anni Dewani in a hijacked vehicle as she and her husband toured a South African township.

Bristol businessman Shrien Dewani, 34, is on trial in South Africa charged with arranging his wife's murder.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 29, has already been jailed for his part in the killing but insisted he was driving and did not pull the trigger on 13 November 2010.

Mr Dewani denies any involvement in the killing in Gugulethu, Cape Town.

The hearing in Western Cape High Court also heard that Mr Dewani had described himself as a single gay man on a dating website.

'Threatened with pistol'

Defence lawyer Francois van Zyl said that all the evidence pointed to Qwabe pulling the trigger, not his accomplice Xolile Mngeni, who is serving life in jail for the murder of Mrs Dewani, a 28-year-old Swedish national.

Mr van Zyl said Qwabe was "most probably standing at the left rear door, pulling her (Mrs Dewani) with your right hand, threatening her with the pistol against her chest".

Qwabe disagreed and stuck to his version that he was driving the vehicle when he heard the shot being fired.

Qwabe is serving a 25-year jail term and taxi driver Zola Tongo 18 years.

Mr van Zyl then told the court Tongo's statement said he saw two men walking towards his vehicle at the intersection that night and both had firearms.

He said the first man, Qwabe, got into the driver's seat and pushed him to the passenger seat while the second man got into the back with the couple.

He said Qwabe had put a firearm against his head a short time later and ordered him out of the vehicle.

Qwabe denied this version of events, saying there was only one firearm.

'Couldn't have reached'

Mr van Zyl told the court it would have been impossible, on Qwabe's version, for Mngeni to have shot Mrs Dewani from the front passenger seat as his right arm measures 55.5cm (22in) from hand to elbow but the distance between the front and back seats was 80cm (31in)

"He couldn't have reached the lady... to fire the shot," said Mr van Zyl.

The court was shown Qwabe's glove from the night of the shooting which had later tested positive for primer residue.

Qwabe said his glove could have picked up primer residue because the space in the car was very small and the windows were closed.

He said he had also picked up the bullet casing afterwards.

But Mr van Zyl said the location of the residue was consistent with firing a gun, not picking up a bullet casing.

He told the court experts would testify that someone was either sitting next to Mrs Dewani when the shot was fired or that someone was standing at the rear door from the outside, grabbing her and threatening her.

The court also heard Mr Dewani was a member of dating website Gaydar, and his profile indicated he was looking for a single gay man, a single bisexual man, a gay couple or a group.

Giving evidence, the site's former digital product manager Simon Johnson said Mr Dewani had paid £60 to upgrade the profile from a guest to member for a year in March 2010, and had visited the site in the days leading up to his wife's murder in November.

The trial continues.

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