A millionaire Briton whose wife was murdered while the couple were on honeymoon in South Africa has been arrested by police in Britain on suspicion he planned the killing, says London police.
Businessman Shrien Dewani, 30, was held by extradition officers on behalf of South African authorities after handing himself in to a police station near his home in Bristol, western England, late on Tuesday.
He is accused of conspiring to murder his 28-year-old wife Anni, a former model and Swedish national, and is due to appear before London’s City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court later on Wednesday. Dewani has denied any involvement in the murder, Reuters reports.
She was found dead after the couple’s taxi was hijacked in Gugulethu township — a high crime area about 20 kilometres (15 miles) from Cape Town’s city centre. She died of a single gunshot wound to the neck.
Dewani has denied any involvement in the murder and has accused the South African authorities of trying to shift the blame in order to avoid embarrassment in a case that has put the spotlight on violent crime in South Africa.
“I’m totally innocent of any involvement in this horrendous crime. These allegations are totally ludicrous and … very hurtful to a young man who is grieving the loss of the woman he loved,” Dewani said in a statement.
SOUTH AFRICAN PROSECUTOR
Earlier on Tuesday, South African state prosecutor Rodney de Kock told the Western Cape High Court that taxi driver Zola Tongo, arrested after the murder, was offered 15,000 rand by Dewani as part of plot.
“The deceased was murdered at the instance of her husband,” de Kock said in reading out a plea bargain agreement in which Tongo pleaded guilty to all four charges, including murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
The court was told that Dewani approached Tongo shortly after arriving in South Africa and helped mastermind the murder. Tongo was sentenced to an effective 18 years in prison while two of his co-accused remain in prison. South African police said they requested the arrest of Dewani.
“A warrant of arrest was issued from South Africa yesterday and an arrest was effected. At this stage we cannot disclose when he is coming to South Africa,” said police spokesman Nonkululeko Mbatha.