Herewith some key points pertaining to the investigation of the murder of Anni Dewani – by Thomas Mollett & Calvin Mollett (authors of Oscar vs the Truth & the Bloody Lies series), as documented in The Bloodied Bride.
1. The primary aim of our investigation was not to go into peripheral issues and personalities, but primarily to TEST Shrien Dewani’s versions because it has never been done before (since he chose not to testify).
2. We explore the question of whether Anni was shot by accident or with intent. We argue, based on established context, that even if she was shot by “accident”, it still does not mean there was not an intention to shoot her at a later stage. In our opinion and based on an unfolding picture, she became a nuisance as she went berserk on the back seat, and while trying to contain her (as she was not restrained by ropes or handcuffs), she was shot by accident in the process, or they just decided “up to here and no further”, shot her to shut her up, took the money (where it was agreed to be left in the pouch), and left into the dark. They already had the money, so couldn’t be bothered further, leaving Anni behind dead or alive. The bigger question remains, was it done on the behest of Shrien?
3. We argue that it was not a “botched” robbery or hijack as there was no intervention by the police or anybody else. They (Qwabe and Mngeni) stopped where they wanted to, did what they did and wanted to do, and left. Nothing went “wrong”. They had all the time in the world. They actually probably did not even care if Anni was dead. They had the money and had no further business with Shrien. What was Shrien going to them if they did not kill Anni, assuming he was behind it all?
4. If it was a planned robbery (that went wrong) the planning and execution would have been much different. Why not just stop the car, take what they wanted, and leave? Why the wild rendezvous, i.e. to throw Tongo out, drive back to Khayelitsha, let Shrien unharmed out of the car, etc.? Even Anni’s expensive ring was still in the car. If the intention was to rob them, why not leave the car until they had found the ring? We sternly beg the question, if it was not a botched robbery, then what was it?
5. There is also no evidence of any intention to rape Anni or to abduct her for ransom (a thing Judge Traverso strangely and irrationally played on).
6. A strong point that we lifted out is that Tongo (the taxi driver) could not have had enough information and foresight to plan a robbery in Guguletu specifically – as he could not have known where Shrien (on his own version) made the dinner booking and whether he would have the money with him. Shrien could have made the booking in Hout Bay. For their plan to work, they had to go on the N2 to go past Gugulethu. Cellphone records show that there was no interaction between Shrien and Tongo from 12 pm till Tongo picked them up from the hotel – so Tongo had to know their plans by ±1 pm already in order to go to Khayelitsha to arrange with Qwabe and Mngeni to “hijack” the car at a specific point in Gugulethu. He could only have obtained that information from Shrien Dewani, which would have ensured that they drive on the N2 and past Gugulethu that evening – to a specific spot that was arranged that afternoon after 1 pm already, by Tongo with Qwabe and Mngeni, in Khayelitsha.
7. One of the key elements of our investigation revolves around a recorded transcription of a meeting that Shrien had with the Hindocha family and his own brother one week after the incident, just after he was implicated. The meeting was secretly taped by Anni’s cousin. Compared to later versions (proven by CCTV, cellphone records, etc.) and against his Plea Statement, Shrien blatantly lied to them. At that stage, he did not know what the cellphone records and CCTV evidence would later reveal. So, at the time, he told them a lot of things that were simply not true and more so, omitted crucial details about especially the Friday night and the Saturday morning. In cases, he made up other stories instead, to cover certain time periods (e.g. that he and Anni went walking late Saturday morning, while he actually went to the money exchanger at that time). It is abundantly, objectively, and provably clear that he concealed his interactions with the taxi driver Tongo.
8. Shrien said (and this is also in his Plea Explanation) that he made a call to Tongo from Surfside’s men’s room since the sound was too loud in the restaurant. But in the men’s room the signal was bad and the sound from the restaurant too loud. Firstly, the toilet is some distance from the restaurant (via a corridor with three walls between the restaurant and the restrooms), and if the signal was that bad and it was that noisy, why still talk to Tongo for 93 sec before going out to meet him outside?
9. In his Plea Explanation, what it comes down to is that on this Saturday night they would now go on a wild ride to pay a phantom pilot for the surprise helicopter trip for Anni. So, Anni is obviously not supposed to know about the trip. Yet, on his own version, the 10K was in Anni’s handbag! How were they supposed to meet and pay the pilot with Anni being with them, while the trip was supposed to be a surprise for Anni? It makes no sense at all. Why not meet the pilot at the hotel the next day while Anni was not around? Why arrange a helicopter trip through a taxi driver and not through the hotel’s concierge service or at the helicopter companies that were not more than 10 min walk from the hotel?
10. We investigated the sequence of events as per telephone records and CCTV footage, which shows plotting – especially at Surfside after things went wrong the first time through Gugulethu. They had to regroup. We made a critical discovery on which Judge Traverso incorrectly worked – without going into too much detail now – where she was under the impression that Mbolombo was speaking to Qwabe on the phone where he was, in fact, speaking to Tongo, which makes a material difference in understanding what happened that evening.
11. We carefully analysed cellphone records and show what influence the fact that Surside’s CCTV’s times and cellphone recorded times were not synchronised as BBC Panorama assumed and used to make certain deductions and allegations. And on which Judge Traverso incorrectly worked.
12. By using a similar car (VW Sharan) we practically show how impossible it would have been for Shrien to have gotten out of the car’s back window as he said he did (he had three versions: he was “pulled out”; “pushed out”; and he was “rolled out like a roly-poly”).
13. After having visited the scene at 11 pm ourselves, we also point out/ask why Shrien chose not to stay in safe sight (right under the street lamps in a rather busy street) after he was “ejected” totally unharmed from the car, but rather wasted time veering off into a block of houses to only 7–10 minutes later “ask for help”. Why would they just let him out of the car – while he could have identified them later? By footage, we show how spotless and uninjured Shrien was after the ejection ordeal.
14. We provably show how Shrien’s version changed over time and especially after he was implicated. First, it was Anni’s idea to go back to Gugulethu to go and check the nightlife out – after he was implicated, it all changed – then it became Tongo’s idea.
15. We argue/ask why would Tongo plead/confess to premeditated murder if it was a “robbery gone wrong”. If you did not intend to kill somebody (i.e. a robbery that had gone wrong), it is not murder but at most dolus eventualis, which would have carried a lesser sentence than 25 years minus the 7 years discount. When Tongo confessed there was no deal on the table. Ditto for Qwabe.
16. We argue that it makes no sense that blame was put on Shrien to make SA look better if a foreigner was rather behind it – it would rather sour bilateral relationships by trying to implicate a foreign visitor. More so a bereaved husband. The NPA went through extraordinary lengths to get Shrien extradited to SA, over a long period of time, and this just to “save SA’s face”?
17. While not going too much into it we touch on the sexuality issue and argue that it was wrong of the judge to not allow it to be explored during the trial. It was not about Shrien’s sexuality, it was about the double-life and secretive aspect that went with it – that could have provided probable motive. Whether with men or women, how can extramarital relationships or interactions not be deemed relevant to explore in a murder case? We cite similar cases where this aspect was deemed relevant.
18. We go into footage of two meetings between Tongo and Shrien (one which was omitted by BBC Panorama and Newling) and in a special way show how Tongo certainly got more than R1 000 during their covert meeting in the Internet room – and ask, if so, why?
19. We explored why it took Shrien four years to come up with the helicopter trip explanation for the money in the car, as the story of the helicopter trip emerged for the first time during the trial. And we uncovered where he got this idea from and the disturbing role BBC Panorama and author Dan Newling played in it. Which is a story within a story.
20. Why would Shrien, a man of luxury, who was about to stay in one of the best hotels in the world and had just flown first class from Johannesburg Airport, suddenly take a ride with an old VW Sharan from the airport while he could have used the hotel’s luxury shuttle transport? Also going out to dinner that night – he lied that the hotel’s shuttle service would only take you to certain restaurants (on a “list” – confirmed to us as being untrue). This was conjured up to explain why he used Tongo’s services and not the hotel’s.
21. Why would Shrien tip the hotel staff (which he did not really use) R15 000 but gave Tongo a measly R1 000 for his services? He hardly had any interaction with the hotel staff and hardly used any of their services.
22. We worked out that based on the 7 000 GBP (as per his Admissions) that Shrien brought to SA, deducting known expenses, there would have been 5 000 GBP left (about R50 000) the day he left back to the UK, the same day he covertly paid Tongo in the Internet room. Enough for Tongo, who also lied about how much he got because it would look bad if he got, say, 50K and the other conspirators only 10K.
23. We argue that while Judge Traverso believed no word coming from Tongo’s mouth, she simply believed that he earned (i.e. 30K a month) because he said so, and based on that she decided that he would not have participated in this plot for such little money – but who knows what he actually got as income (i.e. in salary and tips)? We also point out for how little money you can hire somebody in SA to kill on your behalf.
24. A popular argument by Shrien supporters is that Tongo targeted the Dewani’s as rich tourists (to rob them) – BUT, he could not have known they were rich tourists. They landed in Cape Town on a domestic flight, plus looked very informal. No bling. The fact is also, Shrien approached Tongo, not the other way round.
25. We by no means deny that Mngeni, Qwabe, and Tongo (and to some degree Mbolombo) were all liars, but there is a common thread in their testimonies – but most importantly, they were tested under cross-examination – Shrien Dewani not. Therefore, we tested his versions. We found that over and above all the varying statements, whether to the police or media, his own Plea Explanation does not make a “robbery” possible, as Tongo could not have known where he made the dinner booking and whether he would have the money with him.
26. A colour and illustrative section complements the text section and contains some interesting and valuable footage. (Like trying to get out of the car through the back window, etc.) This eBook weaves the abovementioned points into a coherent narrative.
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About the Investigators/Authors:
Thomas Mollett – BSc. (Stell) & MPhil: Biomedical Forensic Science (UCT) (i.p.)
Calvin Mollett – BSc. Civil Eng (UCT) & M. Eng Cum Laude (Stell)