Honeymoon murder: As new pictures emerge of newlywed Anni Dewani an hour before her death, did the killers miss their first chance?
12th December 2010
Pictures have emerged of newlywed Anni Dewani just one hour before she was murdered.
Captured on CCTV at 10.24pm, she is pictured leaving a restaurant with her new husband, the man now accused of plotting her death.
Around 35 minutes later, Mrs Dewani was in the hands of her killers. They took her on a terrifying car journey across Cape Town, then put a single bullet through her neck. It is possible she was dead just half-an-hour after being seized.
The pictures, which can only be seen in today's Mail on Sunday, appear to show some distance between the couple. They emerged as it was claimed that the hitmen sent to slay Anni failed to show up the first time.
Since Anni was found in a blood-soaked car the following morning there have been many unanswered questions, as well as the accusation that Dewani wanted his wife dead.
The 30-year-old businessman from Bristol is fighting extradition to South Africa. He fiercely denies any involvement and has hired PR man Max Clifford to defend his name.
The first set of CCTV images obtained by The Mail on Sunday are timed 9.33pm. They show Dewani, with his hands in his pockets, striding through a shopping mall in Strand, a seaside resort 30 miles south-east of Cape Town. He is heading towards the Surfside restaurant as his wife trails five paces behind.
With them is taxi driver Zola Tongo, jailed for 18 years last week for arranging the murder. His sentence was reduced from 25 years after a plea bargain in which he alleged Dewani asked him to hire two hitmen. If Tongo’s account is to be believed Mrs Dewani should never have reached Strand. For, in yet another intriguing development, it was revealed yesterday that the couple were driven to the notorious township Gugulethu, not once but twice on the night of the murder.
Tongo told police they went back only because the hitmen failed to show up the first time. Some time after 8pm he picked the couple up from their hotel, the Cape Grace, and spent ‘an hour-and-a-half driving around the city’.
Tongo said he had arranged for two hitmen to attack his car as he drove in to Gugulethu. But the hitmen did not show up, so Tongo suggested the couple had dinner at the Surfside, overlooking the Atlantic. A statement Dewani gave before his wife’s body was found also refers to a visit to Gugulethu en route to Strand.
CCTV cameras capture the trio walking through the mall leading to the restaurant, before Tongo leaves the honeymooners alone.
‘It was a beautiful evening and we walked along the beach,’ said Mr Dewani. Locals say the restaurant is unremarkable and casual. Although witnesses recall the couple because of their smart attire, they did not recall them walking on the beach.
‘It is not advisable as there is much crime after dark,’ said one. Some also question why they would go to Strand in the first place as there are many top-class restaurants within walking distance of their hotel.
But the couple were in the hands of Tongo – and it suited him to steer them towards Strand. Tongo claimed that before entering the restaurant Dewani asked what was happening, adding ‘he wanted the job done that night’. Dewani would vehemently deny that such an exchange took place. While the couple shared sushi, Tongo claims he was outside hastily rearranging the ‘assassination’.
He said he rang the hitmen who confirmed that they missed him when he drove through the township. They said they would be at the agreed location later that night.
What happened next has been the source of some confusion. Dewani originally said his wife wanted to look at a township to experience
‘the real Africa’, but in a subsequent interview he said they went to the township at Tongo’s suggestion.
It also emerged yesterday that before reaching Cape Town, the ¬couple went on safari to a game reserve adjoining the Kruger National Park. A booking was made for them by a travel company which claimed they were inspectors scouting for lodges for clients. Because of this they were given a £700-a-night suite at a vastly reduced rate.
In another development, South African police said they were investigating a link between Dewani and the murder of 60-year-old Dr Pox Raghavjee, shot in an apparent carjacking in King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape in 2007.
Police added that Mr Dewani had bragged to Tongo that he had previously had a person murdered in a fake carjacking in South Africa.
Mr Clifford denied his client was implicated in either murder. He said Mr Dewani did know a relative
of Dr Raghavjee but added: ‘Mr Dewani has never been to South Africa before. Both judges checked his passport and confirmed that.’
Yesterday Dewani posed for photographs with family members outside his home in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol. As part of his bail conditions he must report daily to police pending further extradition hearings.
Husband’s liaisons with taxi driver caught on camera
New CCTV footage from the Cape Town hotel where newlywed Anni Dewani stayed before her death throws fresh light on the murder.
Second-by-second colour images show clearly that her husband Shrien spent almost ten minutes alone with the taxi driver who later claimed in court that Shrien paid him to have her killed.
Further footage shows that Shrien left the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town the following day – the day of the murder – with driver Zola Tongo, reappearing with him about 45 minutes later.
A third sequence, not seen by The Mail on Sunday, was described as showing Tongo meeting Shrien at the hotel two days after his wife’s murder. Tongo claims it was at this meeting that he was paid for setting up the crime.
Dozens of frames are now in the hands of Cape Town police, each of them clearly marked with the date and time of filming.
The first batch of footage shows Tongo’s airport shuttle vehicle, a silver VW Sharan, parked at the hotel entrance just before 5pm on November 12. Anni gets out of the car and walks into the lobby where she is shown to a guest liaison desk.
While Anni is checking in, a separate camera captures the Sharan still parked outside. After five minutes, Anni’s husband emerges from the vehicle and joins her briefly. He accepts his room key from a staff member, then visits the lobby toilets.
Anni, dressed in a cream silk top and jeans and carrying a designer handbag, is seen laughing and chatting with a female hotel worker who shows her to their ground-floor room. Meanwhile another camera filmed Tongo as he moved his car to a parking spot opposite the hotel.
Another security camera picks up Shrien as he walks out of the hotel towards the vehicle before vanishing from sight. Just over nine minutes later he reappears and returns to the hotel.
Wearing blue jeans, a dark top and jacket, with sunglasses perched on his head, he goes to the cashier’s desk and appears to make enquiries about exchanging money, looking twice up at the board showing the rates. Then he walks to his room.
The following morning, November 13, the day of the ¬kidnap, Shrien and Anni are filmed as they approach the hotel’s swimming-pool area. He is wearing shorts, sandals and a T-shirt. At around noon, Shrien is seen leaving his wife at the pool and going to his room, emerging a few minutes later in a change of clothes – trousers and a shirt. He is filmed leaving the hotel and joining Tongo, parked outside.
The men drive off towards the city. The hotel security cameras film them returning 45 minutes later.
It is during this period that Tongo claims that he drove Dewani to a black-market foreign-exchange dealer to change money, and that on the way back to the hotel Dewani told him how he wanted the kidnap and killing to be carried out.
Shrien is then filmed re-entering the hotel. He returns to his room, running the length of the passage, and reappears a few minutes later wearing shorts and leather sandals again. He rejoins his wife at the pool.
The next morning, Anni was found shot dead in the back of Tongo’s car.
Tongo was jailed for 18 years after striking a plea bargain to reduce his potential 25-year sentence. He told the court that it was during those first conversations on November 12 that Dewani put the murder proposal to him. He described how he arranged to pick up Dewani the next day so that he could change US dollars into South African rand to pay him, a middle-man and the two hitmen who would carry out the kidnap and murder.
Dewani’s mobile phone records have been seized by police. Tongo told them he sent a text message to Shrien on the night of the hijack, asking where the money was for the hitmen and the middle-man. According to Tongo, Dewani replied by text that the cash – £1,500 – was in an envelope hidden behind the car’s front passenger seat.
Tongo told the court he collected his own payment during a meeting with Dewani at the Cape Grace Hotel on November 16, two days after the murder.
The Mail on Sunday has not seen CCTV footage from that day but, according to a source who has examined it, it shows Dewani talking to his father and his wife’s father in the lobby after they had visited a morgue to see Anni’s body.
The hotel cameras show him on the back terrace of the Cape Grace Hotel, while cameras trained on the entrance show Tongo’s car arriving. Both men talk on their mobile phones, and Tongo walks into the hotel wearing a white shirt, shorts and a baseball cap.
By then Dewani is near the guest relations desk, looking out of the front window.
According to the source, as Tongo walks in, Dewani heads for the business centre off the lobby, carrying a white plastic bag. Tongo follows him. Within minutes Dewani emerges, with Tongo coming out later, a package clearly hidden under his shirt.
The CCTV footage shows Tongo enter a toilet in the lobby and come out, heading for the exit. Tongo was arrested the next day.
Luxury in Paris and a £25k ring
This is the £25,000 diamond engagement ring that was taken from murdered honeymooner Anni Dewani after her car was hijacked in South Africa.
Delicately balanced on a red rose, it is pictured exactly as it was presented to Anni over dinner at the Ritz Hotel in Paris by her then fiance Shrien Dewani.
Anni’s father Vinod Hindocha told The Mail on Sunday how Shrien flew Anni over from his home town of Bristol on June 11 in a surprise trip on a private jet. ‘He just told her to pack a bag, she had no idea where she was going,’ Mr Hindocha, 61, said.
The couple spent the weekend at the £600-a-night hotel, where Anni posed for pictures in a sheer black top on a staircase in the exclusive premises. They returned to break the happy news to the families of the coming wedding.
Last night her father spoke of the ‘living hell’ his family has been through. He said: ‘No one here is getting any sleep any more. We sleep for two hours at a time at the most. I have lost 7kg since her death. The pain is always there.’
The family’s small flat in the quiet Swedish town of Mariestad is filled with pictures of Anni smiling and joking. Portraits of the 28-year-old in an Indian sari hang in the front room. A portrait in oils of her painted by a friend as a wedding gift stands in her bedroom.
The family have a shrine to Anni on the glass dining room table. Candles burn on either side of a framed picture. ‘She is always watching over us,’ Mr Hindocha said. ‘She lived for her family and will always be with us.’
Having got back from South Africa only yesterday, he said he held no grudge towards the country.
‘Cape Town is heaven on Earth, such a beautiful place,’ he said. ‘I was stopped a number of times by people who came up to me and offered their condolences. At a restaurant the waiter recognised who I was and said how sorry he was, showing me a condolence book they had for well-wishers.’