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Dewani witness falls ill, case halted

Mziwamadoda Qwabe couldn’t continue testifying due to stomach problems.

Murder accused Shrien Dewani leaves the Western Cape High Court. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Proceedings in the British honeymoon murder trial came to an abrupt end on Thursday in the Western Cape High Court.

This came after a convicted killer, turned state witness, fell ill while testifying in court.

British businessman Shrien Dewani is accused of ordering a hit on his wife Anni during their honeymoon in Cape Town back in 2010.

He pleaded not guilty on Monday to all five charges levelled against him by the state.

Three men have been convicted for their role in the honeymoon murder but a fourth, who acted as a middleman, turned state witness in return for immunity from prosecution.

In court on Thursday, convicted killer turned witness Mziwamadoda Qwabe told the court he cannot continue testifying due to stomach problems.

When Judge Jeanette Traverso asked if he felt comfortable continuing, Qwabe answered no.

Dewani's lawyer said his client also complained about similar problems.

During earlier proceedings, Dewani could be seen taking sips of water.

Defence lawyer Francois van Zyl used Qwabe's affidavit, his plea agreement and other statements provided by his accomplices to find discrepancies in his story.

Qwabe battled to explain discrepancies.

His confidence dipped, his memory faltered and his responses grew vague when questioned about the role of a middleman in arranging the hijacking.

While on the stand he also couldn't recall details that he had provided in previous statements.

Despite being grilled about the role of the middleman, Qwabe was adamant Monde Mbolombo simply acted as a link, connecting him to taxi driver Zola Tongo.

Qwabe drove the hijacked vehicle the night the young bride was gunned down.

Yesterday, he told the court he and his two accomplices staged the hijacking in which Anni was killed in exchange for R15,000.

Qwabe said his accomplice, Xolile Mngeni, shot the young woman while he was driving the hijacked car.

Van Zyl asked Qwabe why he waited almost two years before entering into a plea bargain with the state.

He also got Qwabe to admit that he lied under oath in a previous court hearing when he said he had an alibi on the night of the murder.

GAY SITE PART OF STATE'S CASE

Dewani's internet browser history is also expected to form part of the state's case against him as prosecutors try to prove he had a motive to kill his wife.

The browser history shows Dewani logged onto a gay dating site and another site for men into fetish gear just two days after his wife was killed.

Dewani's formal admissions show he logged on to gay hook up site Gaydar while he was on honeymoon with his wife Anni.

Records show his computer also accessed the site just two days after his wife was murdered.

But he deactivated the account on 21 November 2010, a little over a week later.

Details about Dewani's internet browser history are contained in a 32-page document that was handed over to the Western Cape High Court this week.

The state could argue that his actions were not consistent with that of a grieving husband.

The following day, Dewani was questioned by members of his wife's family about what happened on the night she had been killed.

Part of that conversation was recorded by Anni's cousin and forms part of evidence in the case against him.

The witness list has not been released to the public.

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

Court resumes next Monday.

Click here for Dewani's full plea explanation.

Click here for the Dewani trial live blog.