British national Shrien Dewani is currently on trial in South Africa, accused for conspiring to have his wife, Swedish-born Anni Dewani, murdered while they were on their honeymoon in 2010 in South Africa, shortly after becoming husband and wife in India. Anni Dewani was riding in a taxi with her husband when it was carjacked at gunpoint by two men. Her husband was thrown out of the cab along with the cab driver, while the two men drove off with Anni and, shortly after, one of the men shot her in the neck. She was later found by authorities, pronounced dead and an autopsy revealed that there was no sexual assault. According to testimony this week by one of the carjackers, he stated that he, the cab driver and the second carjacker were all hired by Shrien Dewani to stage the crime and kill his wife Anni, noting that Shrien did not put up a fight when he was thrown out of the cab because he was the mastermind.
Shrien Dewani grew up in Bristol in the United Kingdom, where he attended Bristol Grammar School, which has a yearly tuition of more than £11,000. He then attended the University of Manchester and later qualified as an accountant, obtaining a job in London with Deloitte, the large accounting and consulting firm. It is during this time that he met his future wife Anni through mutual friends when she had been visiting the United Kingdom from Sweden with her cousin. They began dating and during that time, Shrien moved back to Bristol to run PSP Healthcare, the family business.
Although Shrien Dewani denies the accusations that he had anything to do with his wife’s murder, he does admit to a number of things in the video witness statement that was shown to the court this week. First, Shrien stated that he considers himself to be bisexual. He stated that his sexual interactions with males were either in clubs or via online chats and did include some prostitutes. It has been reported that this may be an attempt to neutralize some of the more scandalous press reports in recent months, including statements allegedly made by a gay male escort.
In the witness statement, Shrien also reveals that he has low hormone levels, which decreases his chances of having children, and that Anni knew this as he had discussed it with her before they were married. At another point in the witness statement, Dewani admits that he and Anni may have had a contentious relationship, stating “We really frustrated each other.”
Observers in the courtroom noted that Shrien was composed but did quietly cry when a letter he wrote Anni after an argument was read aloud in court. Excerpts from the letter included the lines “We are very different,” “I want to be with you forever but not if that makes you unhappy,” and “I really hope we work this out.”
The trial of the accused, Shrien Dewani, began on Oct. 6, where he told the Western Cape High Court that his “world came crashing down” on the day his wife Anni Dewani was murdered. In 2012, the trials of each of the carjackers took place and each was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison. In 2010, after stating that he inquired about arranging a hitman on Shrien Dewani’s behalf, the cab driver was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in the murder.
By Jennifer Fernicola Ronay