Bristol

Shrien Dewani leaves South Africa on flight to Dubai

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Media captionJon Kay reports from Cape Town airport as Shrien Dewani leaves South Africa a free man

British businessman Shrien Dewani has left South Africa after a judge cleared him of arranging the murder of his wife on their honeymoon.

Judge Jeanette Traverso dismissed the case against him, after describing evidence from prosecution witnesses as "riddled with contradictions".

Mr Dewani left Cape Town International Airport on a flight to Dubai.

The family of his wife Anni said they would decide after Christmas whether to launch a civil action against him.

Mr Dewani has been in Cape Town since being extradited from the UK in April.

The Bristol businessman's entire family has been based in the city for the past eight months as they waited for the trial, which took place at Western Cape High Court.

The 34-year-old had always denied plotting to arrange the shooting of his bride in the back of their taxi while on honeymoon in November 2010.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Shrien Dewani arrived at Cape Town International Airport earlier
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Shrien Dewani gets ready for the security check ahead of boarding a plane to Dubai at Cape Town International Airport
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Shrien Dewani walks on the overhead gangway to catch a flight to Dubai
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Journalists film the Emirates plane carrying Shrien Dewani to Dubai

Mrs Dewani's family have said they are heartbroken the case was dismissed before Mr Dewani testified.

Her uncle Ashok Hindocha said the decision to halt the trial before Dewani gave evidence meant there were "holes to be filled" in the story about his niece's final days.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We want to know the truth, what happened to Anni."

Speaking about Mr Dewani's admission he had secret relationships with gay men in the months before his marriage, Mr Hindocha said: "Shrien Dewani has lied to us from day one.

"We went to South Africa with a lot of questions, to seek for answers; now we are coming home with more questions and more sleepless nights."

Asked about the prospect of a legal case in the UK, he said the family were "looking at all the options presented to us".

"But for now, we would just like to gather the family back here in Sweden over the holidays, the Christmas holidays are coming up. We will make some kind of decision right after the holidays."

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Image caption Prosecutors said bisexual Mr Dewani had long planned to get out of the relationship to Swedish-raised Anni

Judge Traverso ruled it was not necessary for Mr Dewani to give evidence, saying a defendant was entitled to be discharged if there was no possibility of conviction unless he entered the witness box and incriminated himself.

Judge Traverso said claims by the chief prosecution witness, cab driver Zola Tongo, about the murder were also "highly debatable" and the evidence from the prosecution was "far below" the required threshold.

Three men - Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and gunman Xolile Mngeni - have already been convicted for their part in the murder, which happened during a late-night tour of a township when their chauffeur-driven car was hijacked.

Monde Mbolombo, a self-confessed "middle man" who set up the murder, may also face justice having previously been granted immunity by the state.

The prosecution claimed Mr Dewani wanted to get out of his relationship with Swedish engineer Anni, 28, and arranged a car-jacking in which she would be killed.

But the defence team criticised prosecution witnesses and said the case against him was weak.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Shrien Dewani left the dock in haste after the judge dismissed the case against him

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