Dewani Murder: South African Found Guilty

Alex Crawford, Special Correspondent
Dewani Murder: South African Found Guilty

The man found guilty today of the murder of honeymooner Anni Dewani is the last of the South African killers to face justice.

Xolile Mngeni protested his innocence throughout the three-month trial but was convicted as the "trigger man" - the man who fired the fatal shot which killed Anni on November 13, 2010.

Two of the men accused of being his accomplices are already serving lengthy prison sentences after entering into plea bargains.

But both Zola Tongo and Mziwamadoda Qwabe had implicated Mngeni and both claimed they had been hired by Anni's new British husband Shrien Dewani to kill his bride during a fake hijacking in Gugulethu township.

Mngeni claimed he was not there during the shooting, but Western Cape High Court judge Robert Denney did not believe him.

He told the court: "I am satisfied that the accused has committed the crime of murder.

"Mngeni did not take the court into his confidence. He came with a rather late alibi which proved unconvincing."

The court heard how Mngeni's left palm print was found on the car in which Anni's body was found. Her watch, bracelet and mobile phone were also discovered in Mngeni's friend's shack.

The National Prosecuting Authority believes without doubt that Mngeni was part of a conspiracy to kill 28-year-old Anni Dewani.

She was fatally shot in the neck on the fourth day of her honeymoon in Cape Town two years ago.

Prosecutors said Mngeni, Qwabe and Tongo were paid 15,000 rand (£1,066) for the killing.

The court heard the couple went out for a night-time tour of the city's townships.

In CCTV footage taken from the Cape Grace hotel where they were staying, the couple are seen kissing and cuddling in the hours before her death.

A motive has never been clearly explained for why Shrien Dewani would want his new bride killed and he is still in Britain fighting extradition to South Africa, claiming he will not get a fair trial.

The legal battle is on hold while he receives treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder following the murder.

His health will be reviewed again in the London High Court on December 3 but the conviction of Mngeni in Cape Town is sure to intensify the pressure to send Dewani to South Africa to stand trial.

Anni's family said they were still going through turmoil.

Ashok Hindocha, her uncle, told Sky News from their home in Sweden: "There were four people in the car apart from Anni. Three of them have now been sent to jail.

"We have yet to hear what happened from the fourth (Shrien). We just want the truth. It is eating our family up from inside."

Mngeni, 25, will be sentenced on Wednesday.