Anni Dewani's killer jailed for life

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 05, 2012 18:10 hrs

London, Dec 5 (IANS) A terminally-ill drug dealer convicted of killing Indian-origin honeymoon bride Anni Dewani was Wednesday sentenced to life in prison by a South African court.

Anni's father called the third man to be convicted of killing her as "a weak and spineless coward", the Daily Mail reported.

Xolile Mngeni, 25, was convicted of firing the bullet at the 28-year-old Swedish woman as she and her husband Shrien Dewani holidayed in South Africa two years ago.

On Wednesday, Mngeni was sentenced to life in prison for the murder in Cape Town.

Mngeni and an accomplice jumped into the Dewanis' VW Sharan taxi as the couple were being driven through the dangerous Gugulethu township on their way back to their hotel from an evening out.

After kicking out the taxi's driver, the gangsters robbed the newlyweds before dumping Dewani's husband Shrien, 32, by the road.

A few minutes later Mngeni fired a single bullet into the bride's neck which killed her, Cape Town's High Court ruled. The gun was fired from no more than six inches away.

Anni's father Vinod Hindocha said outside court: "I wanted to look into the Mgeni's eyes..the eyes of the man who murdered my daughter and ask him why?

"But he would not look at me and he is a spineless and weak coward who shot my defenceless daughter."

Mngeni's trial had been repeatedly delayed while he had surgery to remove a brain tumour, but a judge ruled he was fit to face justice, according to the Mail.

He was found guilty of premeditated murder last month after a judge at the Western Cape High Court heard an "avalanche of evidence" against him.

Shrien Dewani, who lives in Britain, now remains the only suspect yet to face trial in South Africa in connection with the murder of his wife.

Earlier this week, Westminster Magistrates Court heard that Dewani was now terrified to travel by car, but may be fit to face trial next year.

South African prosecutors say the former public schoolboy from Bristol masterminded the entire incident.

They say Mngeni is one of the two hitmen Dewani, 33, offered 15,000 rand (1,335 pounds) to kill his wife.

Dewani insists police evidence against him - which includes CCTV footage of meetings, witness testimonies, records of phone calls and claims of a secret homosexual life - can all be innocently explained.

His alleged role in Anni's murder was not addressed during Mngeni's three month long trial, the Mail said.

Mngeni's partner-in-crime Mziwamadoda Qwabe, the taxi's driver Zola Tongo and middle man Monde Mbolombo have already admitted their roles.

Under plea bargain agreements, all three received lighter sentences in return for testimony against Dewani and Mngeni, the daily added.

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