Monday, March 24, 2014

Jaw-Dropping BBC Bias Toward Murder Suspect Doesnt Stop UK Extraditing Him For Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell

Below: Anni Hindocha and Shrien Dewani; there are more images in the post below this one

1. Introduction

The British citizen Shrien Dewani is to be extradited to South African in a few days, to face trial in the death of his wife Anni.

This is another case with many similarities to Meredith’s: for example where money, arrogance, bigotry, dishonest PR and corrupted media are on one side, and where the careful courts and the more diligent of the public are on another.

Dawani does have his supporters, and some are making vicious accusations about Anni’s family and racist remarks about South African police (“incompetent and corrupt”) without any proof, not least on the FOA sites. 

Where this case maybe goes even beyond Meredith’s is in the extent and precision with which some of the reporting, especially two reports by the BBC, has been taken apart and revealed to have been corrupted.

The analysis of the BBC reports occupies an entire new website, which is linked-to in Part 9 below.

2. Facts of lives prior

The victim, Anni Hindocha, was born in central Sweden in March 1982. She would now be 32. In 1972 the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin had expelled 90,000 Asians from Uganda, and Sweden had kindly taken her family in.

Anni graduated in engineering and joined the Swedish telephone giant Ericsson in Stockholm right after. 

The family of her future husband, Shrien Dewani, moved to Bristol in the west of England from Kenya some years earlier. Dawani’s millionaire father built up a clinics and resthomes group. Along with his brother, Dawani was educated at Bristol Grammar and at Oxford University.

He worked briefly as an accountant in London, and then joined PSP Healthcare, the family firm, which soon made him too a millionaire.

Anni visited her cousin in the UK, met Dawani through mutual friends, met frequently in London and Stockholm, and were married (ceremonially but not yet legally) at a resort outside Mumbai (Bombay) on 29 October 2010.

Two weeks later, on 13 November, Anni was dead.

3. Prosecution murder scenario

Anni and Shrien made a honeymoon trip to South Africa and first spent four days at the Kruger national game park. Then they returned to Cape Town.

Dawani claimed that their hired car was hijacked by two perps in an eastern suburb, Gugulethu township, on the way back from an evening trip to a beach restaurant further east.

Then for no obvious reason he was dumped out of the moving hired car 11 miles away, unharmed, and unwarned about identifying who the hijackers were.

The next morning, Anni was found dead in the back of the car another two miles beyond that. She might have been molested; she had been shot once in the neck.

The families left South Africa with Anni’s body on the 17th. Her body was cremated in London and her ashes scattered on the lake by the town where she was born.

The hired-car driver and two others were promptly arrested and another was arrested later on. Mngeni, one alleged hijacker, was arrested on 16th November. Another, Qwabe, was arrested on the 18th, and the driver, Tongo, on the 20th.

4. Three arrests so case closed?

Things still looked very fishy though.

For example Dewani had given 3 different accounts of how he was ejected from the hijacked car. The car was not stolen or burnt. Dawani was unharmed, rare in hijackings, even though he saw the faces of the two.

He took Anni to the streets of Gugulethu twice at night. He told one reporter it was Anni’s idea, then told another it was Tongo’s. He apologised to Anni’s father for not saving her life, even before, if innocent, he could have known she was already dead.

And so on and on.

From London Dawani hired a high-powered South African defense lawyer (who mysteriously withdrew) and a high-powered UK PR man who set to work moulding the mindset of the British public against the authorities in South Africa (he is now on trial himself for multiple indecent sexual assaults.)

5. Tongo fingers Dawani

On 7 December under a plea bargain (for which he received 18 years) the driver, Tongo, said he had arranged a fake hijacking and the murder at Dawani’s request for a promise of about $2,000.

Tongo went into some verifiable detail about meetings, phone calls, text messages, and cash withdrawals from a bank.

6. South Africa speaks

Dawani was arrested in Bristol, western England, on the night of 8 December 2010, by officers from the [London] Metropolitan Police’s extradition unit. From Wikipedia:

On the afternoon of 10 December, at a hearing at the High Court, Watson told Mr Justice Ouseley that CCTV footage from the Cape Grace hotel showed Dawani:

* Meeting Tongo twice in his taxi in the carpark of the Cape Grace on 12 November, the night before the killing, when Tongo claims Dawani asked him to hire a hitman to kill a woman. In later extradition papers submitted to the British courts, South African Police claimed that Preyan Dewani tried to obtain the video footage of the pair meeting.

* Having a series of meetings with Tongo inside the hotel, without his wife Anni, in the 24 hours before the killing.

* Handing Tongo a package of cash on 16 November, three days after the murder, having just previously been sitting beside his grieving father-in-law, Vinod Hindocha. Tongo is then seen entering the hotel toilets, where he counted the money.

The court granted him bail and he was electronically tagged and required to observe a curfew while he stayed at his family’s home in north Bristol.

7. The extradition fight

This wasnt really a legal fight. More a fight for the hearts and minds of the British people, so that they could maybe lean on the British courts to block extradition.

In the following many months the extradition process was repeatedly interrupted while Dawani’s mental health was very publicly and emotionally made an issue by the lawyers and PR for his defence.

On his behalf, a Member of Parliament attempted to intervene.

Finally, just three weeks ago, after all possible appeals had been turned down, a court ordered that Dawani be extradited to South Africa on 7 April, for a trial to start the next day. 

8. The BBC Panorama Reports

These misleading reports were aired in March 2012 and September 2013 and somewhat inflamed UK opinion while leading it far away from the truth.

Seemingly highly invested reporters for two BBC Panorama reports were given access to testimony and autopsy evidence that the police and defense but not the public would have.

In describing the two programs Wikipedia added this cautionary note.

This section may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. Please improve the article by adding information on neglected viewpoints, or discuss the issue on the talk page.

9. The Panorama Reports repulsed

The Daily Mail and the Telegraph described the anger and anguish of Anni’s family at these unbalanced TV reports.

However, the real nuking of the two Panorama reports went live on a dedicated website, Panorama Busted, updated three months ago.

The analysis in this dossier shows how the Panorama programme makers used a catalogue of dirty tricks including misrepresentation of material facts, exclusion of relevant information, camera trickery and psychological skulduggery to try to fool the viewing public….

There is a scattering of snippets in the programme which appear to show some of the prosecution evidence against Shrien Dewani, but these form only a small segment and various trickery is deployed to belittle them.  The facts of the entire prosecution case against Dewani are not portrayed.

The findings of this dossier are truly shocking. The issues go beyond the sub-standard shoddy documentary which they tried to pass off as journalism undertaken in the public interest. The issues go much deeper.

The Panorama production team must now be investigated by the BBC and its supervisory bodies and, if found appropriate, the Metropolitan Police. The Culture Secretary is called upon to investigate why licence fee payers’ money appears to have been used to fund the PR campaign of a murder suspect.

10. Present conclusion

Sound at all familiar?

Please do read the whole rejection of the Panorama claims. In 24 parts, it is huge - quite an indictment of a prestigious media outlet lying to the British public about hard evidence in a foreign case, and leaving a great deal of it out.

As in Meredith’s case, under the rules for a fair trial, the prosecution may not rebut such false claims as these in the media, only in court.

Yes, to us, this is only all too familiar.


Interesting post Peter and I have read about 6 out of the 24 part rejection of the Panorama claims.

It seems to be quite the trend to hire PR companies to bend and twist things out of shape on behalf of accused people these days - usually they are hired by people who know they are guilty.
I have yet to see a PR company being hired by someone who is clearly innocent yet for quite simply there is no need.

Posted by DF2K on 03/25/14 at 10:43 AM | #

Insofar as this Dispute re Extradition to South Africa is under Judicial Revue in the UK, the BBC Panorama programmes seem to amount to Obstructions of Justice.

I look forward to UK (& US) Legislation to curb it; in the US, expect big Amendment-Article I, Constitutional Arguments.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 03/25/14 at 12:13 PM | #

It looks like the “high-powered UK PR man” (I also won’t name him, he’d probably sue) got the BBC programme makers in his pocket. The beeb certainly isn’t what it used to be, thanks to being neutered by Blair and his goons following the David Kelly affair and claims of a “sexed-up” dossier (demonstrably true) for war in Iraq.

Anyway it looks though the final act in the play may be about to start. The BBC could lose its status as state broadcaster and become effectively privatised, which was likely always the plan. Sad, but the writing has been on the wall even without this episode.

Posted by Odysseus on 03/25/14 at 01:24 PM | #

This is absolutely disgusting.  The BBC deserves it’s floundering reputation, it has been in bed with Labour for years and seems to be as anti-British as it could get.  I am very pleased Dewani will now be bought to justice, I had him pegged as guilty early on.  Now all we need is for Knox to be extradited.

Posted by MHILL4 on 03/25/14 at 02:34 PM | #

Another case of a ‘PR guru’ inserting programs favourable to their client into the media?

Posted by Ergon on 03/25/14 at 04:11 PM | #

Hi Ergon.

Agreed. Our poster MediaWatcher recently noted that in these cases involving the scapegoating of foreigh countries for legal advantage, the strapped media encounters no countervailing pressure that would set it right and make it do more homework.

This is a dangerous new “subset” of mainstream public relations which is governed in most countries by a code of ethics and some sort of professional body.

It is very bad for good justice, it is very bad for victims’ families, and it is very bad for inter-country relations, which have been fraying in recent years in any case.

The one countervailing force that might work while the courts do their thing is counter-punching websites. A good internet campaign is beyond the reach of most victims’ families, but scare away enough sleazy PR managers (in this case the South African defense lawyer seems to have been scared off by the hard facts) and it might be a trend websites can break.

The PR manager here going on trial is astonishing. As the 11 women describe it he was demanding sex for their career advancement, often in show business. Does that fall outside good PR ethics? One would think so.

In this case, the UK and South African justice systems so far seem to be looking good.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/14 at 05:18 PM | #

Hi DF2K, Odysseus, and MHILL4

This has been in the UK news for a while now. Do you have a take on what could have been driving Shrien if he indeed caused Anni’s death?

Maybe one of our posting psychologists SeekingUnderstanding is following this. It doesnt look to me like a “simple” case of psychopathia or NPD syndrome, especially with all the organizing. 

One theory we now read about in the US is that Shrien was impotent, based on the claim of a previous fiancee, and Anni might hve been desolate at finding out she faced a lifetime of no sex and no children after she was already hitched.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/14 at 05:29 PM | #


Posted by Bettina on 03/25/14 at 06:12 PM | #

Note the sequence.  The PR manager is appointed here as in Knox’s case almost before it is straight who the lawyers will be.

Then the meme is created that “We had to do it because the media was already roasting him/her alive. It was defensive.”.

What complete fiction.

Shrien was not named as a suspect for a full two months after Anni’s death. Long after the PR guru in England had swung into action to create negative vibes about South Africa and its supposed lawlessness and absence of justice.

Knox was not named as a suspect because of negative publicity. Nobody had ever heard of her. And yet her PR guru was contracted just days ater Knox was arrested.

The Massei court was not against Knox because she called herself Foxy Knoxy. There is zero sign of that in the record. During trial Knox again and again tried to capture the media’s attention, trying to come across as daffy.

Despite FOA claims to the contrary (do those guys ever get even one fact right?) Knox and her own lawyers created the “provisional HIV prognosis >>> list of sex partners >>> released to the public” meme.

See here: 

In Capanne prison she got a mountain of “she’s likeable” publicity, in which Marriott and her lawyers and Italian MP Rocco Girlanda were all instrumental. Her birthdays and christmases and concerts were all reported. 

And at the Hellmann appeal we saw a Knox with a 180 degrees PR makeover: solemn dark clothes and demeanour, worried looks, plaintive speeches, and some tears. 

Still, we are looking at two probable huge wins for justice and the victim, and two probable huge PR disasters, which have ensured hard judicial responses the perps will pay the price for and a public that eventually turns against them.

Attempting to win the old fashioned way, in court, still seems the best bet for a relatively benign sentence.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/14 at 06:29 PM | #

Dewani is gay and unable to deal with it, and unwilling to tell his family the truth.

There are several people willing to testify about seeing him in gay clubs and a guy he had a relationship with said Dewani even spoke to him about how he was being forced by his family to get married and didn’t know what to do.

He said Anni was a ‘nice girl’ and that he ‘liked’ her but needed ‘a way out’.

This is also backed up by evidence from Anni’s family, that she had wanted to sleep with him before the wedding and was upset that he kept refusing, and apparently they never even consummated their marriage on honeymoon.

The cowardice of this man beggars belief…

Posted by Sel-Nel on 03/25/14 at 06:31 PM | #

Hello Pete

Although short of time at the moment, I’ll offer a tiny comment. I have been following a little, as I know something of the Dewanis’ business.

There does seem to be a sexuality issue. Anni made several text comments relating unhappiness, in particular that he didn’t seem to want/like her to touch or hug. And there was a rumour about Dewani using a male prostitute, though I’m in no position to know the verity of that.

Certainly - especially in very wealthy Indian families - there could have been very intense pressure to continue with a conventional marriage, if even for outward form. He perhaps couldn’t say ‘No’ to his family. And perhaps Anni didn’t know what to do. She had expressed doubts.

It is another moving tragedy of the needless loss of a beautiful, talented, capable woman. And many ruined lives. Anni’s mother is also notable for her dignity and compassion. Like the Kerchers, they just need answers to outstanding questions.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 03/25/14 at 06:35 PM | #

Hi smn123 and SeekingUnderstanding

Looking again at the Daily Mail report on the reactions to the Panoramas I see the sex issues described that you mention.

The real shocker in that report is in the bluish box down the bottom, where some of those desperate text messages from Anni are published.

Wow. How really terrible. In case that article scrolls away, here is Anni the soon-to-be-victim talking.

Bride-to-be Anni Dewani sent desperate text messages to her family before her wedding,  saying: ‘I’m going to be unhappy for the rest of my life’.

Mrs Dewani sent a series of increasingly distressed messages to her cousin Sneha, expressing deep reservations about her fiancé Shrien.

In August 2010, two months after she got engaged, she spoke of her loneliness while visiting his family, writing: ‘Miss you so much. Don’t want to be with these people. I hate them. Want to cry myself to death.’

By September, while she was in India for wedding preparations, she appeared no happier and wrote on September 16: ‘Fighting a lot with Shrien. Told him I’m going home.

‘Wish I never got engaged. Everyone tells me how fortunate I am – even my designer tells me he’s good-looking and that I’m lucky. Absolutely sick.’

On September 21, five weeks before the extravagant Mumbai ceremony, she wrote: ‘I don’t want to marry him . . . we have nothing in common. He’s putting pressure on everything. He’s a perfectionist.’

In another text, she said: ‘Want to cry myself to death’.

The Swedish-born bride was concerned that her husband refused to be intimate with her, and texted: ‘One cannot even hug him.’ On September 22, she texted Sneha and said: ‘Told his and my parents I don’t want to get married.’

But her cousin said Mr Dewani persuaded her he would change and the wedding went ahead.

A week later, the situation appeared to have deteriorated and she wrote: ‘Hate him. I am not happy.’

Messages sent to her cousin from her honeymoon in South Africa show she was still distressed. On November 10, she said: ‘What shall I do? It’s been one day and I feel exactly the same as I did before.’

But the next day, two days before her death, she seemed to have had a change of heart, texting: ‘Hello! It’s much better now. How are you? Is going better than before. Hard to explain but I’ll call you soon as I return. Hate the word divorce.’

On November 13, she was shot dead in a taxi on the outskirts of Cape Town.

Both Anni and Meredith seem to have been facing mixed-up predators.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/25/14 at 07:46 PM | #

The inappropriate behavior. After he’s been notified of his wife’s death, he was caught smiling in celebratory mode on hotel CCTV. Looked very like Scott Peterson at his wife’s vigil.

The SA who diagnosed his so called PTSD entered into a business relationship with the Dewani’s doctor later, and his father arranged for him to be ‘housed’ in an unsupervised mental health facility arrangement.

Posted by Ergon on 03/25/14 at 09:12 PM | #

But at least the template’s been set. Hire a PR firm to try your case in the media, others will correct the record.

One great place I use to check PR shenanigans is Source Watch.

Posted by Ergon on 03/25/14 at 09:17 PM | #

Remember Atif Ray and Sebastian Burns?

They were convicted of murdering Atif’s parents and autistic sister in WA to collect insurance money. Atif behaved inappropriately at their funeral, suspicion fell on them, they were convicted and extradited to the US.

And sure enough, our very own Bruce Fischer’s site featured their case here

Justice cannot be bought through PR.

Posted by Ergon on 03/25/14 at 10:25 PM | #

Assuming that the information provided on Panorama-Busted can be substantiated, I think it’s pretty clear that Dewani must have been under enormous pressure to conceal his sexuality and enter a traditional marriage.  There’s little doubt that the marriage was arranged.

The part that doesn’t seem to be discussed, however, involves the role of Anni’s family in setting up this match.  Her texts reveal the extent of her unhappiness, and yet she didn’t reject the match while she still had a chance.  Why?

She was beautiful, well-educated, and likely financially independent at that point, so she couldn’t have possibly been afraid of not finding a more suitable partner at a later time.

The logical explanation seems to be that she was afraid of disappointing her family, afraid of being cut off from her family, or afraid that her family might suffer unpleasant consequences if she declined (or, possibly, all of the above).  The question is exactly how much they pressured her to accept the match.

It may seem cruel to say this, but given her manifest unhappiness prior to the wedding, there must have been an external reason why she didn’t simply extricate herself from the situation.

The part I don’t understand is why Dewani resorted to such desperate and inhumane measures when he could have solved the problem far more diplomatically prior to the wedding.  I imagine that among the choices he was presented with there must have been one willing to enter a mutually-beneficial arrangement, with zero expectations of romance and intimacy.  Obviously, it would have been an expensive choice, but it would have guaranteed his freedom and peace of mind.  It’s sickening that he chose this girl only to discard her a few days later, as if her life didn’t have any value.

Posted by Vivianna on 03/26/14 at 02:20 AM | #

EDIT: I just noticed that she did try to cancel the engagement.  However, I’m not convinced that Dewani’s promises alone would have been sufficient to change her mind.

Posted by Vivianna on 03/26/14 at 02:24 AM | #

Hi Vivianna

Agreed, always important to search for an inflection point at which everything went wrong and it became a slippery slope, so the human race can learn. Like you I dont yet see one here.

Dewani looks good and he was Oxford-educated and good in business and at first glance when he was presumably putting on a good act he must have seemed like a dream.

With her East African roots Anni’s catchment pool might have been small. And maybe hard to walk out of a gigantic wedding perhaps sounding to her friends like Elizabeth Bennet hating Darcy and without any clear Plan B.

Both the families here did well when they migrated to Sweden and the UK. They both get respect for their achievements from those born there. Other than when the Panoramas aired, national emotions dont seem to have flared.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/26/14 at 01:20 PM | #

The Oscar Pistorius trial is being televised in full. First time for any South African trial. Now its reported that that may happen in this case too. The TV broadcasters have to apply.

“Justice seen to be done” helped the Nencini court to minimize controversy over the appeal outcome. Italians could see the prosecutor fairly set out a crystal clear case in great detail and both defenses react in odd and ineffective ways.

Its also reported that the UK Dewani defense team made no application to the European Court of Human Rights which is often done as a last-ditch effort to slow extradition.

Its also reported that some of Dewani’s own friends were urging that he go to trial and make his best defense case there as his fluctuating versions of events from afar were doing him no good where it counts. 

Its also reported that Dewani will have the possibility of bail though he would have to remain within the Cape Town city limits. Maybe he goes back to the Cape Grace Hotel which is by the harbor with rooms that look like they are from Versailles.

It’s also reported that some 350,000 South Africans who had migrated or work elsewhere in the world have returned to help South Africa make a go of it. There’s been a private initiative called “Homecoming Revolution” since 2010.

Quite a few of the returnees are of Asian origin. They and transplanted Lebanese spearheaded a lot of the private development efforts throughout Africa and invariably learn the local languages, for them a big plus.

Some Jewish families and businesses were once to be found in Africa (and moreso throughout the Arab world) but migrated back to what is a warring camp. The UN allowing nationalities to mix is a global plus.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/26/14 at 01:25 PM | #

Indo-Pakistani families put a lot of pressure on kids to ‘make a go of it’.

If you have doubts about marriage, don’t!

Posted by Ergon on 03/26/14 at 04:13 PM | #

I have lived in South Africa all my life. 53 years. It is a wonderful country with wonderful people. But, I, like all other South Africans, live with crime happening all around us, all the time, so we are very used to the ‘way things happen here’.

I know I’m being subjective here, but when this horrible murder happened and we read about it in our papers, every South African friend and colleague I spoke to agreed that there were plenty aspects of the ‘story’ that didn’t ring true. We knew it was a set-up from the start.

What an evil person Dewani is, as are the vicious low-life people that carried out the plan. Life is cheap here. Particularly in parts of Cape Town where, for the price of a very small stash of drugs, many are willing to commit murder.

In an ironic twist, us South Africans were outraged that a non-South African had arrived here and brazenly triggered this tragedy. How dare he! Unfortunately, our stupid logic conveniently side-steps the fact that it was a small pack of South Africans that did Dewani’s bidding!

Posted by Terence on 03/26/14 at 04:27 PM | #

I have many SA friends who say the same as you, Terence, and they’re ANC 😊 A lovely country, with lovely people. Sure what place doesn’t have problems? We here just think demonizing whole countries, any country is wrong, which is one reason we jumped in when Italy was demonized by Amanda Knox groupies.

The Dewani and Pistorius cases could have happened any where!

Posted by Ergon on 03/26/14 at 05:51 PM | #

I lived in Mumbai (then called Bombay) for six years during 1972-8, when I was doing my Ph.D. The life style of the rich are pretty similar everywhere and while they do have some family pressure, so that the public image is picture perfect, nobody cares more than that.

Please do not go by the looks. Don’t bother about the education. Don’t be taken by the shiny veneer of the outer skin to judge a man. Men, like women, are complex animals and are really difficult to judge by external appearances.

I was surprised to hear that Annie was unhappy. I thought she knew the deal and they will have their own lives of their own choice- it is called open marriage, right?

Some gays are hostile to women- I think they feel that the discrimination they face in public is because of women! It is not possible to get any meaningful statistic from stay reports and statements.

Anyway, I think that criminal mind is rather independent of sexual preferences of the people. I believe Dewani is Sindhi (from Sindh province in current Pakistan) and their respect for money is legendary.

Let him rot in jail. For life.

Posted by chami on 03/26/14 at 06:58 PM | #

Hi Chami and Ergon

There has been a surprising number of these honeymoon murders. You are right, they do happen all over the world.

One of our psychologists said that while engagements, weddings and honeymoons are supposedly just happy times they can represent a traumatic lifechange in which bad things bubble to the top.

I was really interested in what Terence said. Even to South Africans it can be a turbulent place to live. (Though I’ve lived in worse, like Lagos for three years, and been through 3 coups. Terence, that aint so bad…)

Might Dewani have picked South Africa thinking the crime would be blamed on the black guys, end of story (where have we heard that?), and that that in the last resort the UK would never extradite him THERE?

If yes then his murderous scheme came into his mind days or weeks before, back in the UK. He had options (as Vivianna pointed out) but he put big money on the nastiest one.

South Africa has some amazing scenes (the game, coast and veldt) but isnt maybe number one as an intuitive honeymoon destination. Such pre-planning to kill his wife would indeed make him look like a very, very bad guy. Inside for life would seem right.

Seems good work, by the way, by the two countries’ courts. Some popular real-crime shows here dwell on cold-case crimes solved decades later. Remorseless stuff. Italians justice may never seem in a hurry but its staying power will cook Knox.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/26/14 at 08:00 PM | #

If the point of going through with this marriage to Anni was to please his parents (see, I’m not gay, okay?), he accomplished nothing in ridding himself of his entanglement. He remains single, and will produce no heirs, no grandchildren. If he truly detested her as an individual, why make the pretence at all? An utterly pointless waste of a life.

Posted by mimi on 03/28/14 at 01:48 AM | #

The family pressures must have been incredible.

Posted by Ergon on 03/28/14 at 10:18 AM | #

I can’t know how desirable Anni would have been to Indian men (if factors other than her own person were to be taken into consideration), but I’m pretty sure she could have found a very decent guy of a different ethnicity who wouldn’t have cared where her family came from, what caste they belonged to, or how much money they had.

As a woman, I find her extraordinarily beautiful, and it doesn’t sound like she was a hollow person either. Girls like her tend to have a lot of options, so it’s incredibly sad that she found herself trapped in such an unhappy arrangement.

Regarding Dewani, it’s not his sexual orientation which led him to murder, obviously.  Here, you could replace sexual orientation with any other factor which may have displeased his family.  It was probably his intense unhappiness and the fact that he wrongly equated this girl with the dashing of his hopes, when it was his family’s rigid attitudes which were to blame. Still, there was absolutely no reason why he should have killed her.

Posted by Vivianna on 03/28/14 at 05:20 PM | #

Being of Indo-Pakistani background (from the Muslim side) I do see all sides of the argument, Vivianna.

Yes, there are examples of people who marry outside their caste, outside their religion and ethnicity. The chances of a successful marriage, between the traditional, and non-traditional, are roughly even. All it takes is love, kindness, tolerance for differences, honesty. A tall order.

But in this case what is apparent is a narcissistic individual who wanted the freedom to carry on his lifestyle after removing the impediment. No different than Scott Peterson, killing his wife and unborn child so he could carry on with his mistress.

But yes, his culture played a part. To get married, to not admit his gayness, get the expensive wedding and gifts, then play the merry widower for as long as he liked; now there was proof he wasn’t gay: see, he was married once.

Anni Hindocha, RIP

Posted by Ergon on 03/28/14 at 08:52 PM | #

Interesting exchange, Vivianna and Ergon. I do think you both have it just right. The rapier-like way Ergon puts it Dewani might have mulled over it for years. He actually did have it made for a few weeks.

On the FOA sites their Achilles heal is they serially leap without looking to the support of perps who for the right cash they set about portraying as victims. But only one bad mistake - and they have made many - is enough to wreck their credibility and that of the PR across the board.

Here some of them leapt in on Dewani’s side with the trademark victim-trashing and rants at the police for cash, and now its almost certain the police have done just fine and all sympathy has moved to the real victim and her fine family and Dewani gets almost none at all..

The Machine diod a great post for us on Oscar Pistorius’s initially highly effective PR. Once again PR and and media pet poodles are getting mown down by hard truths.

We have GOOD PR professionals reading, and sometimes lamenting that this does their entire profession some harm. Marriott is regarded by some as super-sleazy and wildly ineffective in the final round.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/29/14 at 01:51 AM | #

My friend Hugo on PMF dot Org has followed the Dewani case for a while and he agrees we should cross-post his comment here; it has more about the BBC Panoramas and those involved.

Pete linked to Panorama Busted over at TJMK. It’s a partisan site, but that Panorama programme on Dewani comes out of it very badly. The amount of misrepresentation and dodgy editing is just depressing.

I didn’t watch the thing, as the trails suggested it was defence PR, and I’d already seen a better programme on C4’s Dispatches, but it was actually presented throughout by Jeremy Vine, who usually just pops up at the beginning and end. He too comes out of it very badly. Nice man, but he’s been got at and fallen for a PR line. There may be some undeclared connection or interest.

Panorama seemingly said they did not work with Dewani or his peeps, but that is misleading. The Bob Graham character in the case, Dan Newling, is credited with ‘Additional Research’, which is also misleading, as the whole thing was based on Newling’s version. Newling at first wrote some sensible articles on the case, but was then approached by Dewani’s PR, Max Clifford, and started shilling.

This can be demonstrated—his first shill piece was an exclusive based on a tape recording made in Clifford’s office the day before. (And it misrepresented the contents, claiming that Anni’s father had said he loved Dewani like a son, which was not what he said—he just said, when prompted, ‘Sure, I like him…’) Perhaps JV’s a friend of Newling’s or something.

The thing has taken on Knoxlike proportions, with South Africa being slimed the way Italy has been slimed. No wonder the Groupies are pro-Dewani. This ‘defence by PR’ is awful. I see Jim Clemente was doing it on behalf of coach Joe Paterno in the Sandusky case. Journalists who collude with these creatures just damn well shouldn’t.

Good to see Anni’s famiily is getting plenty of online support. Heres a video memorial created three years after her death.

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Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/29/14 at 02:16 AM | #

Re Dewani. This is speculation. It is possible - possible - that the entire Dewani family might be living a lie, which could explain why Shrien Dewani maybe took very extreme measures to save face when his new wife found out he had feet of clay.

When the case was first in the UK news in a big way (its also being closely followed in India and South Africa but not US) late in 2010 it was reported that PSP Healthcare has a debt load of 6.25 million pounds which had been increasing.

PSP is not a public company so the books are not fully open and the crime reporters didnt seem to know where to take their investigations so they kind of fizzled out.

If PSP was going through fast expansion, the debt could be quite legitimate investment capital, but if that is a sign of operating losses, the Dewanis could be living a lie with that big compound in Bristol, million-dollar wedding in Mumbai, etc.  Shrien Dewani really could have been revealed as having feet of clay in Anni’s eyes.

Nothing was ever made public about an insurance policy on Anni or any insurance investigation so that doesnt seem to have been a financial imperative.

Any insights, anyone? Chami mentioned something about the Dewanis being from a clan in which being seen to amass wealth and show it off is Job One.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/30/14 at 10:45 AM | #

Having children is job 1 for these clans, Peter 😊 hence the PR jobs about ‘trying to have children’ and Anni’s unhappiness about lack of physical and emotional intimacy threatening the family’s self-image.

Sad, but I have seen too many Indo-Pak families tear themselves up and being in denial about their children’s homosexuality, about which they are indeed, intolerant and too ashamed to accept.

Posted by Ergon on 03/30/14 at 06:46 PM | #

Yet my best friend in college through university was gay, his family knew he was, and accepted him as he was.

Better that he be honest with himself, and them, and not get married to act as cover.

Posted by Ergon on 03/31/14 at 03:13 AM | #

Good news that Dewani’s honeymoon is finally over. About time he should look straight in the eye of justice.

Posted by chami on 04/08/14 at 11:20 AM | #

Dewani arrives, briefly appears in court, and is sent off to a mental hospital, to await a bail decision 8 May. As you may know, there had been something of a cliffhanger.

Dewani could have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which might have delayed things a year or two.

Maybe he just wants to get this over. His friends urge that he go and fight the charges in court rather than drip-drip-drip suggesting he’s guilty

However, no ECHR appeal was filed, and Dewani was flown from Bristol to Cape Town. This is from the BBC:

Mr Dewani is expected to appear at Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

In a statement Scotland Yard said: “Shrien Dewani, 34, has today, 7 April, at approx 20:00hrs been extradited from the UK to South Africa.”

He was taken from Fromeside Hospital, a secure mental health unit in Bristol, to the city’s airport by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service Extradition Unit.

Officers were met at the airport by representatives from the South African authorities who have escorted him on the flight to South Africa.

Mr Dewani was originally arrested by officers from the extradition unit on 7 December 2010 at the request of the South African authorities.

That reads to me like a government aircraft was used to fly him to South Africa. The United States Marshals operate several such “flying paddy wagons” and I presume other countries need them as well.

There is an image of one and a relevant story here:

The South African Broadcasting Corporation website is being nimble in filing brief stories:

So the latest says Dewani will remain in custody to 12 May in the Valkenberg Hospital and then possible bail will be decided.

No recent images of Dewani are showing up. Below: the media today outside the courthouse; a press briefing in the court; Dewani arrives in the black SUV; the mental hospital.





Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/08/14 at 01:37 PM | #

Image below of Dewani at the airport. Does his hair seem a little greyer?

Trying to take the Italian system down hasnt worked out so well for RS abd AK. Dewani’s family and PR sound way smarter than the Knox-Mellases.

As reported by the BBC they have issued a statement saying they have “every confidence” in the South African system.

In a statement, Mr Dewani’s family said he “remains committed to proving his innocence” and “uncovering the truth behind his wife’s murder”.

They added: “The extradition process has resulted in a number of assurances being provided by the South African authorities in relation to his continued hospital treatment.

“We are grateful to the South African authorities for these assurances. Shrien’s family and his legal team have every confidence in the South African judicial system.

“We look forward to his health improving, his name being cleared and there being an end to this legal trauma for all involved.”


Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/08/14 at 05:29 PM | #

I can only wonder how a sane person can commit a cold blooded murder- of an innocent and unsuspecting friend and partner for life. He is, and has been, a sick crook.

I am convinced that Mr Dewani’s family members know the truth. And truth is often ugly.

Posted by chami on 04/08/14 at 08:45 PM | #
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