Shrien Dewani's wife planned to divorce him before murder, court told

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Johannesburg, Oct 20: The wife of British-Indian millionaire Shrien Dewani, accused of orchestrating her murder while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010, had a strained relationship with her husband and was thinking of divorcing him, a South African court heard on Monday.

Dewani, a 34-year-old businessman, did not look like someone who was grieving at his wife Anni's funeral, her cousin testified at the trial in Cape Town that resumed today.

"The things Shrien told me didn't make sense, he didn't come across as a grieving husband, the things he said on phone sounded odd. He didn't look like someone who was grieving," Anni's cousin and confidante Sneha Mashru told the court.

"She was thinking of getting a divorce," Mashru added. She gave details of her communication with her cousin that outlined the strained relationship between Anni and her husband before their wedding while claiming her cousin was already thinking of divorce after arriving in South Africa and that Dewani was behaving strangely after her death.

Mashru also commented on Anni's unwillingness to go on honeymoon, but Judge Jeanette Traverso said she wanted only admissible evidence, not hearsay from the witness about Anni not wanting to go on honeymoon with Dewani.

"I went to the police because I was suspicious of Shrien, he also had one broken engagement, a taboo in Hindu culture," Mashru said, adding that she thought the text messages from Anni would be important to police as proof that their relationship was not good.

Earlier, Mashru said she had been surprised that Dewani had planned the entire funeral on a spreadsheet, questioning how he could be so organised.

Meanwhile, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Nathi Mncube said the death of the man who shot Indo-Swedish national Anni would not affect the trial of Dewani, named in a plea bargain by the murderer and two others serving out sentences as the mastermind behind his wife's killing.

Xolile Mngeni, who was serving a life sentence after being found guilty of fatally shooting 28-year-old Anni in a planned fake hijacking, died in prison on Saturday of a brain tumour he developed after his incarceration.

Mncube said Mngeni was unlikely to have been called as a witness. Mziwamadoda Qwabe one of those serving time, pointed to Mngeni as the man who killed Anni after the third convict, taxi driver Zola Tongo, negotiated a deal with Dewani's lawyers.

Dewani was extradited from the UK in April and is charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice.

He has been receiving treatment at Valkenberg psychiatric hospital since his arrival in South Africa.

Before being put on a plane to South Africa, he fought his extradition for more than three years and was admitted to a hospital in the UK for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTI

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