Africa

Anni Dewani murder: Xolile Mngeni given life sentence

Xolile Mngeni sits in the dock in a courtroom, in Cape Town, South Africa on 19 November 2012 Image copyright AP
Image caption A judge ruled that Xolile Mngeni showed no remorse

A South African man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Swedish woman Anni Dewani on her honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.

A judge ruled that Xolile Mngeni, 25, was an "evil person" who fired the shot that killed 28-year-old Mrs Dewani.

Mngeni's co-conspirators said they helped kill her on the orders of her husband Shrien Dewani, who is from the English city of Bristol.

A British court has halted his extradition, citing his mental health.

Mr Dewani denies plotting to kill his wife.

'Utter disdain'

Mrs Dewani's body was found with a single gunshot wound to the neck after she and her husband had been kidnapped while travelling in a taxi through the township of Gugulethu near Cape Town. He had been released unharmed.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAnni Dewani's father Vinod Hindocha: "We will fight until we get justice"

Mngeni's trial in the Cape Town High Court had been repeatedly delayed while he had surgery to remove a brain tumour.

Mrs Dewani's father, Vinod Hindocha, wept, as Judge Robert Henney handed down sentence.

The judge said Mngeni, who suffered from a rare form of brain cancer, showed no remorse for killing Mrs Dewani.

Mngeni was a "merciless and evil person" who deserved the maximum sentence, the judge added.

"He had no regard to her right to freedom, dignity, and totally disregarded and showed no respect to her right to life by brutally killing her with utter disdain," Judge Henney said.

The BBC's Andrew Harding reports from Johannesburg that Mngeni denied killing Mrs Dewani but prosecutors tore his alibi to shreds.

His conviction brings to an end what can be called the logistical side of the honeymoon murder investigation, our correspondent says.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Shrien Dewani denies involvement in his wife's murder

The South African authorities have secured convictions for all three local men involved in organising and carrying out the attack.

The focus will now shift back to the UK, where Mr Dewani is fighting extradition to South Africa on mental health grounds, our reporter adds.

He is due to face another extradition hearing next year.

Judge Henney said Mrs Dewani had been abandoned by her husband.

Earlier this year, the Cape Town High Court sentenced taxi driver Zola Tongo to 18 years in prison following a plea bargain.

He alleged he was approached by Mr Dewani, who offered him about $2,100 (£1,340) to organise the killing and make it look like a carjacking.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to shooting Mrs Dewani.

Tongo has said he recruited both Mngeni and Qwabe to carry out the killing.

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites