Anni Dewani’s killer dies in prison hospital

Correctional services have confirmed Xolile Mngeni has passed away.

FILE: In 2012 Mngeni was convicted and sentenced to life behind bars. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - One of the men convicted for the murder of Anni Hindocha Dewani has died at Goodwood prison in Cape Town.

Correctional services confirmed Xolile Mngeni has passed away.

Mngeni was being treated for a brain tumour in the medical section of the Goodwood prison.

However, a correctional services official says the exact cause of death is unknown at this stage.

An autopsy is to be carried out at a later stage.

Mngeni was the trigger man who fired the shot that killed Anni in an alleged staged hijacking in November 2010.

In 2012, Mngeni was convicted and sentenced to life behind bars.

Her husband, British businessman Shrien Dewani, is accused of ordering a hit on her while on honeymoon in Cape Town.

Dewani has however maintained he is innocent and has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including one of murder.

Mngeni was one of three South African men currently serving jail time for their role in her murder.

THE TRIAL

During court proceedings last week the focus was on Warrant Officer George Stefanus who took a witness statement from Dewani shortly after he and his wife were hijacked.

Stefanus said Dewani was distracted and crying at times when approached by police.

This was the accused's first formal account of the events that took place that night.

But during cross-examination, Dewani's lawyer faulted Stefanus on procedure and the manner in which he took the statement.

The police officer told the court he was informed by a man about what had happened to the couple and that they'd been staying at the Cape Grace Hotel.

Stefanus then testified that upon meeting Dewani at the hotel, he appeared emotional.

He says Dewani cried at times and told him 'I hope they didn't kill Anni' and 'I hope Anni is okay,' while his statement was being taken.

Stefanus says Dewani also told him his wife insisted she wanted to see nightlife in the township.

During the trial, the state was denied permission to admit email exchanges between Dewani and an unnamed man as evidence in the murder trial.

Judge Janet Traverso questioned the relevance before ruling the evidence inadmissible.

Dewani's sexuality has been a focus of attention from the start of the trial as the state tries to prove he had a motive to kill his spouse.

In the series of email exchanges from 2009, Dewani spoke about being conflicted about getting married.

Prosecutor Adrian Mopp argued that Dewani's sexuality could not be avoided by the State.

It's expected the prosecution would use Dewani's sexual orientation, preferences and history to bolster its case to prove motive.

Court proceedings were halted when the court received word junior council Shareen Riley was sick with chicken pox.

Proceedings have adjourned until Monday.

To read Dewani's full plea explanation, click here.

On Monday you can also follow EWN's Dewani trial live blog for rolling updates.