Africa

Anni Dewani murderer dies in South African prison

Xolile Mngeni Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Xolile Mngeni, pictured in court, was jailed for the murder of Anni Dewani in 2012

A man jailed for the murder of Anni Dewani has died in prison, South Africa's correctional services department has said.

Xolile Mngeni, who was convicted of killing Mrs Dewani while she was on honeymoon in 2010, had been serving a life sentence for her murder.

His death comes amid the trial in Cape Town of Briton Shrien Dewani, who denies arranging his wife's murder.

Mngeni died in the hospital section of Cape Town prison, officials said.

South Africa's correctional services department has said it will make a full statement about his death on Sunday.

No witness call

The death of Mngeni comes 12 days after Bristol businessman Mr Dewani went on trial.

Mr Dewani, 34, faces five charges including murder and lying about the circumstances of his wife's death.

He denies any involvement in the killing, which happened in the Gugulethu area of Cape Town.

Reports suggest prosecutors in South Africa had spoken to Mngeni but had not planned to call him as a witness in the trial because of the poor state of his health.

Mngeni, 27, had been diagnosed with a rare brain tumour, which was removed in 2011. His trial was repeatedly delayed while he had surgery.

He was denied parole in July this year after officials ruled he could receive appropriate medical care at Goodwood Prison, in Cape Town.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Shrien Dewani denies charges of arranging the murder of his wife Anni while on honeymoon

Mrs Dewani was kidnapped at gunpoint and shot dead in the Gugulethu township on 13 November 2010 while on honeymoon in South Africa.

Mr Dewani, who was kidnapped alongside her, was later released unharmed.

Mngeni was charged with murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and kidnapping three days after her death and was convicted on 19 November 2012 of firing the shots that killed Mrs Dewani, having denied the charges.

In court, Mngeni was described as a "merciless and evil person" who deserved the maximum sentence by the trial judge.

"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 Robert Henney said.

Mngeni is one of three men to have been jailed in connection with the murder of Mrs Dewani.

Taxi driver Zola Tongo was sentenced to 18 years following a plea bargain.

He told South African authorities he had been approached by Mr Dewani, who offered him about $2,100 (£1,340) to organise the killing and make it look like a carjacking.

Tongo said he then recruited Mngeni and a third man, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, to carry out the killing.

In August 2012, Qwabe was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of Mrs Dewani.

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