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Anni Dewani's murder relived through crime scene footage

According to the state's first witness, Anni Dewani bled out in a “matter of heartbeats”.

Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani sits in the dock in the Western Cape High Court ahead of his murder trial on 6 October 2014. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A crime scene video showing Anni Dewani's body slumped over the back seat of a taxi and forensic details about the fatal shot that killed her were revealed on day one of the 'honeymoon murder trial'.

Her husband Shrien is accused of hiring three hitmen to kill her in an apparent staged hijacking while the couple was on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.

The trio has already been convicted but the British businessman maintains he's innocent.

Dewani was extradited from Britain in April after losing a three-year battle to avoid trial in South Africa.

He pleaded not guilty to five charges, including one of murder, when his trial finally got underway in the Western Cape High Court yesterday.

During an explosive first day of the honeymoon murder trial, the British businessman revealed his version of what happened in the days leading up to his wife's murder.

Gasps emanated from the public gallery when crime scene footage was shown in court.

Anni was shot in the neck and according to the state's first witness, Pathologist Janette Verster, she bled out in a "matter of heartbeats".

Members of Anni's family became emotional when the camera panned over her lifeless body on the back seat of a taxi, blood stains visible on a pavement.

It was too much to bear for Dewani, whose eyes also welled up.

He's denied hiring hitmen to kill his wife, whom he says he loved and was instantly attracted to when they met in 2009.

Dewani says he whisked Anni away to Paris on a private jet to propose and during their honeymoon, he wanted to surprise her with a private helicopter trip in Cape Town.

Details about his millionaire lifestyle were also revealed in his plea explanation.

The matter will resume on Wednesday.

'DEWANI DESERVES A HARSH SENTENCE'

The ANC Women's League says justice must be served swiftly in Dewani's murder trial.

Members of the league say they want justice and believe Anni and her family deserve a fair trial.

The league's Nondumiso Mfaxa says if found guilty, Dewani deserves a harsh sentence.

"It will make other men learn a lesson. They mustn't think that they can kill women like flies - We are not flies."

Another fellow member says people from abroad should not think South Africa is a place where tourists can come to commit murder.

"South Africa is not a dumping place. Why didn't he kill his wife on that side?"

At the same time, the National Prosecuting Authority says it has a strong case against Dewani even though he has maintained he is innocent.

TONGO: DEWANI WANTED ANNI DEAD

Dewani didn't deny being in contact with convicted killer Zola Tongo but claims he was arranging a surprise helicopter trip for Anni.

Tongo however claims Dewani wanted his wife killed.

In his 37-page plea explanation, Dewani said he met Tongo, a taxi driver, on arrival in Cape Town.

He said Tongo claimed to be an executive tour guide who had previously chauffeured a number of VIPs.

He said he asked Tongo if he could organise a private helicopter trip as a surprise for his wife.

But the prosecution will try to convince the court that the pair was arranging Anni's murder.

The court heard that on the night of the killing, Dewani and Anni were driven around in Cape Town by Tongo along the motorway because they could not decide where to go to enjoy Cape Town's night life.

They turned off the motorway and the "next thing I remember was banging noises coming from the front and the right hand side of the car." The occupants were ordered at gunpoint to lie down and to hand over their phones and money.

"They spoke to each other in a language I did not understand. The next thing I remember, they were both shouting at me to get out."

"The one with the gun put it to my head again and threatened to shoot me if I did not get out...I recall hitting the ground and the car speeding away. The last thing I had said to Anni was to be quiet and not to say anything. I said this to her in Gujarati," said the statement, read by defence lawyer Francois van Zyl.

Dewani said the hijacking was a traumatic experience that resulted in him being hospitalised for psychological problems for three years.

He said it gave rise to nightmares and memory loss.

Click here for Dewani's full plea explanation.

Click here for the Dewani trial live blog.