Lifestyle & Belief

South African 'hitman' Xolile Mngeni guilty of Anni Dewani honeymoon murder


Xolile Mngeni, the man accused of killing Swedish honeymooner Anni Dewani, walks with a Zimer frame as he arrives into the Cape Town's High Court on November 19, 2012, to hear judgment. Mngeni has suffered from a brain tumor, which was removed before the case started. Mngeni claimed innocence in the November 2010 killing but admitted to his palm print having been found on the car in which Dewani's lifeless body was found in a poor Cape Town township. State prosecutor told Mngeni that his claims of not being at the murder scene were lies, as witnesses had testified otherwise and claimed that he had pulled the trigger. The 25-year-old had also been found in possession of items taken from Dewani and the honeymooning couple's taxi driver and had pointed out key details of the slaying to police after his arrest, prosecutor said.



JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Xolile Mngeni was found guilty Monday of firing the shot that killed young newlywed Anni Dewani on her honeymoon in South Africa.

A Cape Town judge convicted Mngeni, 25, of murder and aggravated robbery in the November 2010 death of Dewani, whose body was found with a close-range gunshot wound to the neck. 

Prosecutors say the 28-year-old Swedish woman's husband Shrien Dewani hired two men to kill her in a staged carjacking in Gugulethu township near Cape Town, while the couple were celebrating their honeymoon.

Shrien Dewani, 32, a British businessman from Bristol, denies involvement in his wife's death. In March the UK High Court halted his extradition to South Africa, citing mental health issues. 

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Mziwamadoda Qwabe previously pleaded guilty to Anni Dewani's murder and in August was sentenced to 25 years in jail. 

Taxi driver Zola Tongo, who claimed in a plea bargain that Dewani had offered him 15,000 South African rand (about $1,700) to arrange Anni's murder, is serving an 18-year jail sentence.

Mngeni's trial had been delayed while he had surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor.

Delivering the verdict, Judge Robert Henney told the court that the accused's "evidence was riddled with inconsistencies and untruths."

"The case against the accused is overwhelming and the accused could barely avoid the avalanche of evidence from crashing down on him," Henney said.

Mngeni faces sentencing on Wednesday.

A spokesman for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority, which is seeking to extradite Shrien Dewani, praised the court's verdict.

"We are happy that the judge found Xolile Mngeni guilty, and especially that the case was proved beyond a reasonable doubt," Eric Ntabazalila said.

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