Coroner questions need for UK inquest over Anni Dewani death


A coroner has questioned whether there should be an inquest in the UK into the death of businessman Shrien Dewani's wife Anni during a a car-jacking in South Africa.

Mr Dewani was cleared last year of orchestrating the killing of his new bride Mrs Dewani, 28, who was fatally shot as the couple drove through the outskirts of Cape Town on November 14 2010.

Her father Vinod Hindocha, 66, and uncle Ashok Hindocha, 55, appeared at North London Coroner's Court today to argue that Mr Dewani should attend an inquest and answer their questions.

But coroner Andrew Walker told the family that Mr Dewani has a right not to answer questions that may incriminate himself and raised doubts over whether an inquest will take place.

He said: "My view, members of the family, is that in these circumstances it would serve no purpose to hold an inquest because I would not be able to answer the questions that an inquest sets out to answer.

"I'm going to direct that your questions are sent to Mr Dewani and Mr Dewani is to indicate whether he would be prepared to answer those questions."

Mr Dewani, 34, was extradited to South Africa last year but the case collapsed after a judge found that it was "riddled with inconsistencies".

It meant he walked free before having to give evidence and has never spoken publicly about what happened.

In a statement read out to the court as the trial began Mr Dewani described himself as "bisexual" and admitted he had slept with male prostitutes.

A key witness for the prosecution was a male escort who went by the name The German Master, but his evidence was ruled inadmissible.


Three men - Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni - were given jail terms for their role in the killing.

They claimed Mr Dewani arranged a hijacking-gone-wrong in which he would survive while his wife was killed.

Ashok Hindocha told today's hearing that there were discrepancies between what Mr Dewani had told the family, the press and the South African police, and asked for a "chance to hear the right story from him".

Asked why the family wanted an inquest to go ahead, he said: "The main reason is that we would like to know what really happened.

"The motive of this case was never properly heard in South Africa.

"Members of Scotland Yard and other witnesses never got a chance to speak because the judge thought it was not important - if he (Mr Dewani) is gay or bisexual, she didn't want to know about that.

"So there is an issue about the motive."

The inquest into Mrs Dewani's death opened in 2010 but was suspended pending the criminal investigation. Mr Walker said that another hearing would be held on October 9.

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