One of the two men convicted for the murder of Anni Dewani, the Swedish bride who lost her life during her South African honeymoon, has died in prison. Xolile Mngeni, the man in question, was convicted of murder in November 2012 and received a life-long sentence for his crime.
In 2011, the man had been diagnosed with a brain tumor while awaiting trial and although he attempted to receive parole on medical grounds, his request was denied in July of this year. Mngeni died around 2 PM local time at the Goodwood Prison in Cape Town.
Statements by the South African Department of Correctional Services are due tomorrow.
The jury found Mngeni guilty of shooting the gun that killed Mrs. Dewani during her honeymoon voyage in November 2010, in the township of Gugulethu. According to prosecutors, the woman’s husband, Shrien Dewani, had conspired with Xolile Mngeni and two other men to murder his wife.
Shrien pleaded not guilty to all charges, which range from murder to kidnapping. According to his statement, he and his 28 year old wife, a Swedish national, were hijacked at gunpoint while driving through the Cape Town township of Gugulethu. He added that the attackers forced him out of the car and drove off with his wife in the backseat. Authorities found both the car and Anni Dewani’s body the following day.
Mngeni’s death will now rule him out as a witness in the Shrien Dewani’s trial, as the British businessman is still being prosecuted for murder and kidnapping by the Western Cape High Court. Apart from Mngeni, two other men were also jailed for the murder: Zola Robert Tongo and Mziwamadoda Qwabe. The latter testified to having been hired by Dewani’s taxi driver, Zola Tongo, to aid in Anni’s murder. Both are serving long sentences for the killing.
Authorities found an online dating profile belonging to Shrien Dewani, where he described himself as a single, homosexual man. According to a testimony by Simon Johnson, the former digital product manager of the website where Dewani had opened his account, the alleged mastermind of the murder had used the profile name “ASIANSUBGUY” and chose “gay” as his sexual orientation. His profile did not display the suspect’s sexual orientation publicly, as Dewani had selected an option to not disclose this information.
“My sexual interactions with males were mostly physical experiences or e-mail chats with people I met online or in clubs, including prostitutes such as Leipold Leisser,”
Dewani said in his plea document.