Murdered Anni 'in tears on honeymoon flight,' says father of British tourist shot dead in South AfricaBy George Arbuthnott
Last updated at 4:14 PM on 29th November 2010
Questions: Vinod Hindocha, pictured here with daughter Anni Dewani, says she refused to sit next to her husband on their honeymoon flight
Anni Dewani, 28, was shot dead when she and her new husband Shrien were hijacked by robbers as their taxi drove through a notorious township in Cape Town. Mr Dewani was released unharmed.
Yesterday Anni’s father, Vinod Hindocha, added to the mystery surrounding the case when he telephoned The Mail on Sunday and said: ‘We have heard that the air hostess noticed they were sitting separately and Anni was crying.
The air hostess apparently asked Anni if she would like to sit with Shrien, but Anni said no.’
It is not clear where this information originated from, or indeed how it was passed to Anni’s family. Pressed to elaborate, Mr Hindocha said: ‘We are not sure, it is something you will have to check out.’
Last night Mr Dewani’s British lawyer, Charlotte Harris, denied there was any hostility between the couple. However her statement did not refute the allegation that Anni had been crying.
She said: ‘Any suggestion that there was hostility between the couple on the aeroplane or at any other point during the honeymoon is completely false.’ She added: ‘The Dewani family are upset about the Press intrusion into their grief at this very difficult time.’
Earlier, speaking from his home in Mariestad, Sweden, Mr Hindocha, 61, expressed disappointment that Mr Dewani, 31, had failed to return to Cape Town to try to identify the hijackers. A South African newspaper has claimed detectives want him to return to South Africa for questioning.
Taxi driver Zola Tongo, 31, and two local men have been charged with murder and robbery.
Mr Dewani has strenuously denied any involvement in the death of his wife. Max Clifford, the public relations adviser hired by Mr Dewani, said his client was not a formal suspect and would not be travelling back to Cape Town.
He said Mr Dewani was ‘under sedation’ after the shock of what he had been through.
Yesterday Mr Hindocha described how the murder had damaged his relationship with Mr Dewani. He said: ‘If Anni was alive today then our relationship would have been strong like father and son, but with Anni dead that bond isn’t there. I think he should go back to South Africa and point out the culprits.’
Witness: An air hostess has apparently claimed that Anni Dewani burst into tears on the flight with her husband
‘He then described how they had been kidnapped, robbed, and how, after he had been thrown out of the window, Anni was killed.
‘But later they were doing everything without me. Shrien was doing all the paperwork in a different room. I didn’t know who he was talking to, what he was doing or where he was going. I was shocked that they weren’t telling me what was happening.’
Mr Hindocha, an electrical engineer, said neither the South African police nor British or Swedish embassies had contacted him in the 10 days since he left Cape Town.
He also revealed that Mr Dewani had told his daughter before the wedding that he had been engaged before but did not say why it was broken off.
He said the marriage between Anni and Mr Dewani was not arranged and her family had not paid a dowry to the Dewani family during the lavish wedding held in Mumbai in September, which is understood to have cost in the region of £200,000.
Mr Hindocha said: ‘We are part of the Lohana caste and dowries do not exist in our culture. If I want to give him something it is up to me.’
Together: Shrien Dewani, pictured with Anni, has strictly denied any involvement in her murder
Mr Dewani is based in Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol where he runs a chain of care homes. The couple had planned to settle in the West Country.
Mr Hindocha described the moment his family heard the taxi carrying Anni had been hijacked. He said he spoke to his daughter on the phone just a couple of hours before the attack and she had assured him she was having a ‘lovely time’.
Comment: Shrien had suggested they ring their families before leaving on the fateful night...
But later he received another phone call, from Prakash Dewani.
‘Anni’s father-in-law rang around midnight and said, “Your daughter is kidnapped but Shrien is fine.”
At that moment my wife knew. She cried and said, “She is not alive, I feel it.” Shrien’s brother, Preyen, rang and said he had arranged tickets for a plane from Gothenburg.
‘I arrived in Amsterdam, where I was to catch my connecting flight to Cape Town and I switched my phone on and called home, hoping to hear what had happened to Anni. Before I could say anything they were crying and I knew she was dead.’
THIS GUY SAID: 'EXCUSE ME. MY WIFE AND I HAVE BEEN HIJACKED'
From MIKE Behr In Cape Town
First witness: Simbonile Matokazi found Shrien Dewani after the robbery and subsequent murder of the latter's wife
Simbonile Matokazi, 33, a local government auditor, says the businessman did not appear to have been thrown from the car on to sand, as Mr Dewani initially claimed.
Neither does Mr Matokazi’s testimony support the 30-year-old’s later assertion that he was dragged ‘struggling and screaming’ out of the passenger window.
He said Mr Dewani ‘had a suit on and a nice shirt underneath’ and looked neither ruffled nor bruised.
‘We just saw a decent guy,’ he added. Mr Matokazi’s observations were endorsed by a police source closely involved in the investigation.
‘The officer who reached him [Mr Dewani] said that it didn’t look like he was hurt,’ said the source. ‘He saw no injuries or anything. And there was no sand on his clothes.
‘It didn’t look like Mr Dewani had been in a struggle. He still looked smart, like he was coming out of a restaurant.’
After dropping off some friends at the airport, Mr Matokazi – who was with his wife – was about to park his car when he saw Mr Dewani staggering between some roadside shacks.
‘He said to me, “Excuse me, is there a nearby police station where I can report a hijack because my wife and I were hijacked”, ’ said Mr Matokazi.
‘I said, “Where is the car now?”
I asked a few questions about how long he had been out of the car.
‘I asked him what kind of car they were driving and he didn’t know. He said he thought it was a VW car. He was almost crying. In fact, he was crying.’
Mr Matokazi said he then called the police. ‘The guy was walking up and down, panicking and in shock. My wife was worried that the hijackers would rape his wife but I told her not to say that loud because it would upset him more.’
While they waited for the police, Mr Dewani claimed that he had been ‘kicked’ out of the car on to sand.
Asked if he appeared to have been dragged out of the car, Mr Matokazi said: ‘Honestly, no, there was nothing like that.’
But Mr Matokazi insisted that Mr Dewani seemed believable: ‘I even said if he was an actor then he must have been a good actor. Everything looked genuine that night.’
When the police arrived, they asked Mr Dewani for the registration number of the taxi and he said he could get it by ringing his family in London.
The police source said: ‘He tried to phone his family from the officer’s phone but he could only make local calls.
‘So Mr Dewani said we must take him straight to the hotel. It seems as if maybe the family hired the car for Mr Dewani.
‘Every time the officer tried to ask him questions, Mr Dewani started crying.
‘The officer would wait for Mr Dewani to calm down and then ask him again, but he just cried.’
HUSBAND'S PREVIOUS FIANCEE WAS DAUGHTER OF INDIAN AIRLINE TYCOONBy ABUL TAHER
Shrien Dewani was previously engaged to the daughter of a tycoon who founded the Indian budget airline SpiceJet.
In February 2009 Mr Dewani suddenly cancelled plans for the wedding, despite protests from his fiancee, Rani Kansagra, and her family.
It was around this time that he began dating Anni after meeting her through a relative in London. They married in a lavish ceremony in Mumbai a few weeks ago.
Miss Kansagra, 26, lives with her family in Northwood, Middlesex. Her father is multi-millionaire businessman Bhupendra Kansagra – who met Barack Obama when the US President visited India last month.
Last night Mr Kansagra refused to comment on the engagement between his daughter and Mr Dewani. He said: ‘I don’t want to get involved in this, I am not interested.’
Miss Kansagra also refused to comment but a friend of the family said: ‘Shrien suddenly broke off the whole thing and she begged him not to. Her dad also intervened, but it was of no use.
‘Now they think it was good, as her family did not like him much. He was a bit too showy and bit too full of himself. They are still angry at him for breaking off the engagement, but they are also relieved.’
The friend added: ‘Shrien was money-orientated, that’s for sure.’
Bhupendra Kansagra was one of the founding chief executives of SpiceJet, India’s second-biggest budget airline, with a fleet of 22 aircraft and 66 more on order.
When the airline was established in 2005, Mr Kansagra and his brother Suresh had a 13 per cent share in the company, which they sold in 2008. It is believed SpiceJet has a current market value of £160 million.
Mr Kansagra is now involved in the agriculture, oil and gas industries, and his companies operate in Britain, India and five Africa countries, including Kenya, which he left to move to Britain.
Last night Mr Dewani’s lawyer, Charlotte Harris, said: ‘Rani and Shrien met in August 2008. They got engaged in December 2008. They mutually decided not to get married in February 2009. Having spoken to the family, the relationship with his ex-fiancee did not end acrimoniously.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1333717/Anni-Dewani-tears-honeymoon-flight-shot-dead-says-father.html#ixzz19LtSBnt9