Honeymoon death husband Dewani is allowed on home bail

  • Published

A man accused of ordering the murder of his wife on their honeymoon in South Africa can remain on bail at his home, a judge has decided.

The South African authorities had argued that Shrien Dewani, 31, of Bristol, should have his bail revoked after he tried to kill himself.

His wife Anni, 28, was found shot dead in Cape Town after being kidnapped.

Mr Dewani's father, Prakash Dewani, told a court he agreed to monitor him around the clock.

Mr Dewani senior told District Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court that his family was "very important" and "my innocent son most valued".

He added: "We will do anything as a family to keep him safe and prove his innocence to the South Africans. We are not afraid of doing that step.

"We will ensure he stands trial in South Africa to clear his name. But when he goes to South Africa he must be safe."

The court earlier heard that Mr Dewani had taken a cocktail of 46 pills.

He was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary by ambulance on Sunday evening after being found collapsed in his bedroom by his sister.

'Intended overdose'

He had taken tablets including diazepam, which was prescribed to counter anxiety and help him sleep.

Ben Watson, for the South African authorities, said Mr Dewani had taken a "massive drug overdose" after telling his family he wanted to take his own life.

He said the South African government feared as a result that Mr Dewani might fail to attend court proceedings and that detaining him in custody was "necessary" for his safety.

The court heard that Mr Dewani's medical notes recorded that he took an "intended" overdose of three different prescription drugs at about 1745 GMT on Sunday and suffered drowsiness and nausea.

Julian Knowles, who represents Mr Dewani, said his client was "lapsing in and out of consciousness" but had not tried to kill himself.

A source close to Mr Dewani's family had said on Tuesday that he was taken to hospital after suffering a reaction to sleeping tablets.

Mr Dewani did not attend the last hearing in the case as his legal team said he is suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and clinical depression.

'Experiencing palpitations'

His psychiatrist, Dr Paul Dedman, rejected the idea that there had been a suicide attempt.

Giving evidence, he said: "It's my opinion Mr Dewani was feeling distressed on Sunday as a result of the issues the court has been already hearing about.

"Mr Dewani has described experiencing palpitations on that afternoon and taking some diazepam, which he had been instructed to do by his general practitioner to relieve him of that condition.

"He felt very tired and described feeling he wanted to go to sleep and describes taking one or two (sleeping pills).

"He did not state that he took the tablets with suicidal intent."

It was not uncommon for someone suffering from a condition like Mr Dewani's to seek some respite from it in sleep, without necessarily wanting to end their life, he told the court.

"I don't believe it represented a genuine suicide attempt," he said.

As a Hindu, the young businessman had often mentioned his religious beliefs and had pointed out that suicide went against them, the court heard.

Dr Dedman admitted, however, that his patient had expressed the feeling that life was not worth living at the moment, although he did want to "get through this process and clear his name".

Judge Riddle adjourned the case until 15 March at the same court when Mr Dewani's bail will be reviewed again. The extradition will be reviewed on March 23 at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

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