Hitman in Swedish honeymoon murder gets 25 years
One of the South African men accused of killing Swedish honeymooner Anni Dewani pleaded guilty Wednesday and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in a plea deal, the prosecution said.
Mziwamadoda Qwabe pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping, robbery, and illegal possession of a firearm, prosecutor Eric Ntbazalila told AFP.
Another accused hitman, Xolile Mngeni, has a malignant brain tumor that has so far prevented him from standing trial.
South Africa is still awaiting the extradition of the victim’s British husband Shrien Dewani, who is accused of masterminding the November 2010 killing in a murder set up to look like a botched carjacking.
“It’s a positive step for the prosecution because we are now a step closer to getting information on what happened on that day, which will shed some light on the role played by Shrien Dewani,” Ntbazalila said.
Dewani claimed that he was forced out of the car window during the hijacking.
According to Ntabazalila, the plea bargain contains information on where Dewani was dropped off by the accused after the alleged hijacking.
The businessman from Bristol, west of London, returned to Britain with his wife’s body days after the killing, but was later arrested.
He has strongly denied arranging the contract killing of his 28-year-old Swedish-born wife.
Britain has approved his extradition but on March 30 the High Court temporarily halted the process, citing mental health grounds.
His lawyers said he was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression and argued the 32-year-old’s life could be at risk if he were extradited.
Qwabe is the second of three South African suspects to be jailed. In 2010 another man turned state witness and implicated Dewani in plotting to kill his new bride. He was sentenced to 18 years.
[image via Agence France-Presse]