South African husband admits plotting to have wife murdered in case echoing Dewani honeymoon killing allegations
24th December 2010
A South African man killed his wife in a staged car jacking in a case that appears to bear some similarities to the allegations against Briton Shrien Dewani.
Rajive Sewnarain was jailed for life yesterday after paying two hitmen £2,880 to ambush his car in Durban and shoot his wife, Shanaaz.
The 42-year-old was pushed out of the hired Hyundai Getz moments before the gunmen blasted the mother of his two children twice in the chest and once in the neck.
The transport company boss initially told police an unknown man had attacked the car as he drove home in Durban on December 10 with his wife sitting beside him.
He claimed he pleaded for the couple's lives before blacking out by the roadside after being pushed out of the car and shot.
Sewnarain was taken to hospital for treatment and feigned shock when told his wife had been killed.
But he later confessed his part in the murder after police questioned him on apparent inconsistencies in his account.
Arrest: Shrien Dewani and Anni Dewani on their wedding day. Anni was murdered on her honeymoon as she and her new husband drove through Cape Town
Sewnarain admitted the hit had been arranged to look like a botched hijacking, the court in Durban was told.
He said his marriage had been volatile and that earlier this month an underworld figure identified as 'Boxer' had approached him to offer to 'take his wife out of his life'.
'He told me that I should take my wife to buy pizza and then drive to my workplace and give him a missed call,' Sewnarain said.
'I would then drive down the road and, at an arranged spot, someone would jump into the car and this person would carry out the hit.'
The case bears similarities to what police allege may have happened to Anni Dewani who was killed on honeymoon in Cape Town last month.
Her millionaire husband told police he was forced out of the car unharmed by two gunmen who went on to shoot his wife dead.
Police are investigating allegations that Dewani paid two men and his taxi driver £1,400 to murder her after they ambushed the couple's taxi as they drove through an impoverished township near Cape Town.
Prosecutors yesterday submitted a formal request to the South African Justice Department for Dewani to be extradited to the country from Britain.
Mthunzi Mhaga, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, said it was 'very confident' that the British authorities will accede to the request.
'We believe that in time we will have him here as an accused,' he said.
Dewani, who denies any wrongdoing, is currently bailed on £250,000 at his family home in Bristol.
His lawyer has said he is expected to fight extradition.