Shrien Dewani is accused of masterminding the slaying of his wife in Cape Town
He has denied the allegations, saying they were the victim of a carjacking
A taxi driver and two other men have been convicted of the 2010 slaying
The driver says Dewani paid him to carry out the killing and cover it up
A millionaire British businessman accused of hiring hit men to kill his new wife during their honeymoon in South Africa pleaded not guilty as his trial began Monday.
He has repeatedly denied orchestrating the killing, pleading not guilty at the start of the trial in October.
The killing took place during a taxi ride through a township on the edge of Cape Town, just over two weeks after the couple’s wedding.
The taxi driver, Zola Tongo, confessed within weeks of the bride’s death that he had hired two men to kill her. In a plea deal with South African authorities, he said Dewani paid him to carry out the killing and to make it look as though the couple were the victims of a carjacking.
Tongo was subsequently sentenced to 18 years in prison for his part in the killing. His two accomplices also received lengthy sentences for their role in the crime. One of them died of brain cancer in October, The Guardian reported.
Family hoping for answers
The victim’s family say they are relieved that Dewani is now going on trial in Cape Town.
“Hopefully, we will get all the answers we want,” her uncle Ashok Hindocha said Sunday, according to local media reports.
Dewani, a care home owner, returned to the United Kingdom after his wife’s death. He avoided extradition to South Africa on mental health grounds during a lengthy court battle, but he was eventually sent back in April to face trial.
Psychiatric experts said that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and that he’d tried to take his life. Before his extradition, he was held at a secure mental health unit in southwest England.
But in August, he was declared fit to stand trial after undergoing psychiatric observation, according to South African media.
An indictment in the case said he faced charges including conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder and kidnapping, the South African Press Association reported.
Dewani, from Bristol in southwest England, said his wife was the victim of a carjacking and denied any involvement in the killing.