The alleged hitman in the notorious South Africa honeymoon murder could escape trial due to a brain tumour, magistrates in the country have announced. Xolile Mngeni, who is accused of killing Swedish newlywed Anni Dewani in an apparent carjacking in Cape Town last year, may not be charged if he is deemed unfit to attend court.
“If accused number one [Mngeni] does not respond positively to the medical treatment that he is receiving, the director of public prosecutions will of course have to make a decision as to whether it is practical at all to proceed against him at a later stage,” magistrate Jackie Redelinghuys said last Tuesday.
“But the trial will then in all likeliness, if he is unfit to come to court within the near future, proceed against you,” he told the second accused, Mziwamadoda Qwabe.
Mngeni, who is suspected of shooting Mrs Dewani, had a tumour removed in June, forcing the trial to be postponed until 20th September. He is undergoing chemotherapy and is not in a fit condition to appear in court, according to his lawyer.
Anni and her new husband Shrien were first thought to have been the victims of a violent carjacking whilst on their honeymoon in South Africa. Mr Dewani was thrown from their taxi and survived, while Anni, from Mariestad central Sweden, was later found dead.
Zola Tongo, who was driving the taxi, has already been sentenced to 18 years in jail after pleading guilty to his part in the murder. He alleges, however, that UK national Mr Dewani paid him to arrange the attack. South African authorities are trying to negotiate Dewani’s extradition to face trial.
Mr Dewani is currently residing in a mental hospital in Bristol, UK. A psychiatric report is being prepared and a decision about whether or not he will be extradited will be made this month.