Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani could be CLEARED after ballistics experts claim wife Anni was ‘shot by accident’
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Review by experts suggests victim Anni was hit ‘during a struggle’
Findings say bullet hit her hand and went through her chest ‘by accident’
Dewani, 33, is wanted for the Cape Town murder in November 2010
He is in a psychiatric hospital fighting extradition on mental health grounds
Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani could be freed without charge after a new investigation has claimed his wife Anni was shot ‘by accident’.
Police claim that Dewani hired a team of hit men to kill his new bride while holidaying in Cape Town, but the businessman has always maintained he was forced from a taxi by thugs who hijacked and killed his wife.
But now ballistics experts claim the bullet which killed Anni may have rebounded off her hand and hit her chest by accident ‘during a struggle’.
She was found dead in the abandoned vehicle the next day.
Dewani, 33, is currently fighting extradition to South Africa, where he faces trial for the November 2010 killing.
But this review could alter his case dramatically.
Firearms experts at the Forensic Firearms Consultancy in London told the MailOnline they were commissioned to review the evidence, which they claim appears to show the bullet hit 28-year-old Anni by accident.
A post mortem examination showed the fatal bullet struck the Swedish newlywed’s left hand and went through her chest, causing fatal neck injuries.
After a second look at the documents, a source from the ballistics team behind the investigation told the Daily Mirror: ‘The evidence would appear to support the theory that Mrs Dewani was shot during a struggle.’
Questions have also been raised over Dewani’s role in the scandal after a review of the initial police interviews found the he was not mentioned, the paper reported today.
The findings will screened by BBC Panorama this Thursday, along with a suggestion that Dewani was embroiled in the case by the ‘desperate’ taxi driver, Zola Tongo, in a bid to get a lighter sentence.
It is a dramatic twist that could mean freedom for Dewani, who is in a psychiatric hospital in Bristol while he fights extradition at the Supreme Court.
But the bride’s grieving family have berated the BBC for taking the trial into their own hands.
Uncle Ashok Hindocha said: ‘The trial should not be conducted in a TV studio it should be in the courts.’
Tongo and gunmen Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe have all been jailed after pleading guilty.
Anni and Shrien Dewani had married in lavish style in India a fortnight before she was killed.
They arrived in Cape Town on 14 November 2010 and, after a three-day stay in the north, they had flown south to continue their honeymoon at the five-star, £500-a-night Cape Grace Hotel.
At 8pm the next day, taxi driver Zola Tongo arrived outside the hotel to collect them and the Dewanis.
Tongo took the couple on a short drive around Cape Town’s major city sights and then turned the taxi onto the N2 motorway. They drove for 45 minutes away from the city, ending up in the seaside town of Strand, where they ate sushi in a shopping mall.
Back in the car, at 10.45pm, they drove into a shanty town where they were accosted by two gunmen.
Within minutes Tongo was told to get out. After a terrifying 20-minute joyride through the townships, the hijackers told Dewani to leave, too. But Anni was ordered to stay.
Dewani remained unharmed, and stumbled around in the dark until he was helped by local man Simbonile Matokazi, who contacted the police. It was exactly 11.12pm.
By sunrise the following day, the body of Anni, 28, was discovered slumped in the back of the abandoned taxi in a remote corner of the Khayelitsha township. She’d been shot with a single bullet to the neck from a 7.62mm calibre pistol.
A former acting High Court judge in South Africa, Paul Hoffman, told the Mirror Dewani’s fate rests on Tongo’s evidence.
Mr Hoffman added that the court was under pressure to conclude the case to prevent British tourists boycotting the Western Cape. He said: ‘The Western Cape relies on UK tourism. Britons being killed by taxi drivers doesn’t look good.’
A judge last month ruled at Westminster Magistrates’ Court that Dewani should be extradited, rejecting his attempt to stay in the UK for further hospital treatment for mental health problems.
Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle had already given the go-ahead to Dewani’s extradition in 2011 but was forced to reconsider the position after two senior High Court judges allowed an appeal in March last year.
They were told Dewani was suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Mr Justice Ouseley said it would be ‘unjust and oppressive’ to remove him until he recovered.
Last month, Judge Riddle said Dewani was still not fit to plead or stand trial at present, but there was evidence that he would receive the care he needed in South Africa.
Dewani’s lawyers have stressed at various hearings that he will be willing to defend himself at trial once he is fit to do so.
MIA DE GRAAF
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