Dewani: Mngeni spoke about murder

The childhood friend (26), whose name is being held for fear of reprisal, took to the stand to testify about what he was told by accused Xolile Mngeni on Sunday, November 14, 2010.

"He told me he robbed the phone at Ilitha Park. He robbed the person and shot the person and I thought he was joking when he said this," the friend said.

He clarified to the court that this person was a woman.

Dewani was killed in Gugulethu on November 13 2010, in an apparent hijacking, while on honeymoon with her husband Shrien.

The hijacked vehicle was left in Ilitha Park in Khayelitsha.

Mngeni has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The witness said he met Mngeni around 5pm that Sunday after shopping together earlier in the day.

As they were walking along the street, Mngeni started speaking about the brown Nokia cellphone in his possession.

'Picked it up'
His friend had first seen this phone, pointed out as the same one before court, on Mngeni in the early hours of that Sunday morning. The accused had told him he "picked it up at Illitha Park".

But Mngeni told him while walking that it had been stolen.

The witness explained why he thought Mngeni was joking.

"He's a person who likes making jokes. We like misleading each other and joking."

On Tuesday, Mngeni was rushed from the court to a doctor after he apparently vomited blood during the lunch break.

He managed to walk into court with his walking frame when the trial started in the morning.

His lawyer Qalisile Dayimani handed over a medical certificate to Judge Robert Henney in his chambers, which revealed Mngeni was suffering from "numerous problems", of which two causes were stress and his malignant brain tumour.

The doctor concluded he was unfit but able to be in court.

The lawyer said his client was still in poor condition. He argued his client was not being fed often enough, which presented a problem because cancer medication needed to be taken on a full stomach.

Henney ordered that Mngeni be fed more often. He was permitted to eat during the trial, as long as it did not disrupt proceedings.

The trial continues. – Sapa

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Jenna Etheridge
Jenna Etheridge
Journalist, writer and editor

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