In Depth

Anni Dewani: the 'dream girl' murdered on her honeymoon

Anni Dewani was killed just weeks after marrying Shrien Dewani in a fairytale Hindu ceremony

anni_dewani.jpg

Anni Dewani had been married for barely a fortnight when she was murdered on her honeymoon in Cape Town, South Africa.

The 28-year-old was being driven through a township in a taxi with her husband Shrien Dewani when the vehicle was hijacked by two armed men. Shrien and the taxi driver were forced out of the car and Anni was found dead in the backseat hours later after the vehicle was abandoned.

Her husband Shrien is now on trial for allegedly plotting her murder, while the two hitmen and the taxi driver were all sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their role in the shooting. Two of them claim Shrien paid them to kill his wife. The third has died from a brain tumour in prison.

So, what do we know about the victim Anni Dewani and the state of her marriage?

Who was Anni Dewani?

Born Anni Hindocha on 12 March 1982, she grew up in Mariestad, Sweden. Her Hindu family had been forced out of their home in Uganda by the anti-Asian pogroms of the 1970s and given asylum in Scandinavia. Anni graduated in engineering and was working as a project manager for mobile phone giant Eriksson when she met Shrien in 2009. A year later, she left her job and was preparing to move permanently to England to be with Shrien. She had also entered Bristol's Top Model competition in the year before she died. Her father Vinod Hindocha, told the Swedish newspaper Expressen: "She was the most beautiful girl in the world. There aren't words to describe her. She was a dream girl." 

How did Anni and Shrien Dewani meet?

The couple met through mutual friends when Anni was visiting her cousin Sneha Hindocha in Luton in 2009. On their first date, they went to see The Lion King in London and on later dates they went bowling and visited clubs and cinemas. They spent alternate weekends in Bristol and Stockholm. In June 2010, Shrien flew her to Paris and proposed with a £25,000 diamond engagement ring balanced on a red rose over dinner at the Ritz. They married in a fairytale Hindu ceremony in Mumbai, surrounded by family and friends, and had travelled to South Africa for their honeymoon. They spent four days on safari near Kruger national park and had been in Cape Town only a day when the carjacking took place. 

Were Shrien and Anni Dewani happy together?

Some friends and relatives described the couple as "madly in love" and a video from their wedding shows them serenading each other with Bollywood love lyrics. But in the weeks after Anni's death, it was claimed that Shrien was bisexual and had slept with a male prostitute in the lead-up to their wedding. Shrien initially denied the claim but admitted it was true on the first day of his trial. Still, he insisted that he had been instantly physically attracted to his wife and the court was shown a letter in which he wrote to her: "I really do love you... I want to be with you forever." He admitted that they often argued, had once split up and rowed over the wedding plans, with Anni at one point wanting to call off the wedding. However, he says they made up and "wanted to be together". Sneha Hindocha, Anni's cousin and best friend, claimed the couple were "acting" all the way through their wedding ceremony and said Anni was "not comfortable" with Shrien. 

How did Anni Dewani die?

Pathologist Dr Janette Verster told the court that Anni bled to death from a gunshot wound to her neck. She also described bruises on her leg, suggesting that she was grabbed, but said there were no signs of sexual assault.

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