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Dewani killer sentenced to 25 years

Jenna Etheridge

Mziwamadoda Qwabe has been sentenced by the Western Cape High Court to 25 years imprisonment for kidnapping and murdering honeymooner Anni Dewani.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni. (Gallo)

The court on Wednesday handed down 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, five years each for kidnapping and illegal possession of a firearm, and 25 years for murder.

Judge John Hlophe said the robbery, kidnapping and firearm terms would run concurrently with the murder sentence.

Qwabe earlier pleaded guilty to all charges. His lawyer Daniel Theunissen said his client had signed a plea agreement.

Qwabe, dressed in numerous jackets to ward off the cold, kept his head down during proceedings and frowned repeatedly. He used a jacket to hide his face while being led off to the cells as photographers flocked around the dock to get a snapshot of him.

Hlophe separated the trial of Qwabe's co-accused Xolile Mngeni, who was expected to appear later on Wednesday for a pre-trial conference.

The prime suspect in the murder, Anni's husband Shrien Dewani, was still tied up in extradition proceedings in the UK.

Denial
Dewani (32) has repeatedly denied arranging the contract killing of his 28-year-old wife, who was shot in an apparent car hijacking while they were on their honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

He is being treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

At the end of July, his lawyer Claire Montgomery told the Westminster Magistrate's Court that keeping her client under medical treatment in Britain for 12 months would speed up his recovery, rather than jeopardise it by sending him to South Africa.

The British Press Association reported that the hearing was adjourned to September 18 for a psychiatrist to examine Dewani and give the court more information on his condition.

Only then would a decision be made on whether he was fit to stand trial in Cape Town. – Sapa

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