Dewani trial: Gunshot residue expert testifies

Thandiwe Mlabateki was called to provide expert opinion on primer residue.

FILE: CCTV footage from the Cape Grace Hotel featuring Shrien Dewani.

CAPE TOWN - An expert on gunshot residue testified in the honeymoon murder trial today.

British businessman Shrien Dewani is on trial in the Western Cape High court for allegedly ordering a hit on his wife Anni during their honeymoon in Cape Town four years ago.

She was shot in an alleged staged hijacking.

Yesterday, her family marked the fourth anniversary of her murder through prayer and reflection at the scene where her body was found.

Prayers were also offered in her homeland of Sweden.

Colonel Thandiwe Mlabateki, of the police's forensic science laboratory, was called to provide expert opinion on primer residue.

This after, gunshot residue was found on a yellow kitchen glove worn by hitman Mziwamadoda Qwabe on the night Anni was shot.

Qwabe maintains his accomplice Xolile Mngeni pulled the trigger.

The question Mlabateki's testimony sought to answer was why then did experts find gunshot residue between the forefinger and thumb portion of Qwabe's glove.

Speaking generally, Mlabateki said primer residue examination cannot determine who the shooter is because particles end up on all exposed surfaces.


Earlier this week, Dewani's defence used playful phone messages and surveillance camera footage to show the British businessman and his wife were in an affectionate relationship just days before she was killed.

The CCTV footage shows the couple cuddling and kissing while seated in a cosy booth at a hotel bar.

In the dock, Dewani was emotional as he wiped away tears, took a few deep breaths and tried to compose himself while the clips were played in court.

Investigating officer Paul Hendrikse was forced to concede the couple was affectionate in the footage.

Dewani's lawyer, Francois van Zyl, recalled Hendrikse to the stand to show him the video clips and phone messages the couple had sent each other days before the murder.

Van Zyl read out the phone messages sent on 4 and 5 November 2010 in which the couple used pet names "Fred" and "Wilma" during their playful banter.