GENTLE SOUL, KINKSTER, KILLER?
IN THE DOCK Shrien Dewani says he decided on SA as a honeymoon destination because he and Anni had never been here before and the country matched the initials of their first names Shrien Dewani is a sensitive soul, apologising for “controlling” behaviour and prone to tears as he tried to keep his bride Anni’s wedding jitters at bay.
That’s one of the two pictures that emerged in the Western Cape High Court this week as the wealthy Brit navigated his way through the first week of his murder trial.
The other picture, which prompted such lascivious tabloid headlines as “Bumshell!” this week, is of the 34-year-old as a bisexual man who sought sex online using websites like Gaydar and the fetish portal Recon.
Shrien’s own legal team was responsible for placing both versions of the man before the court, with his lawyer Francois van Zyl describing Dewani’s secret online sexcapades in documents attached to his client’s plea statement.
Dewani’s early admission about his bisexuality might well be a pre-emptive measure against the prosecution’s expected line of argument: that he was gay and killed Anni in a desperate bid to get out of a marriage essentially orchestrated by two megawealthy families.
Friends and family have, since Anni’s murder in 2010, insisted that the couple did not have an arranged marriage and were introduced by mutual acquaintances.
With one aspect of his life laid bare, the plea statement pressed home its version of Dewani as a devoted, loving husband who adored his wife.
In an email written to her on May 24 2010 after an argument, he says: “I have always wanted a girl I can be friends with. One that understands me – and I know that that is not easy.
“I know that I am so focussed that some people think I am so intense. I am focussed on achieving things in life. I want to be someone who can do things – and that is not just about making money, but it is about having a rounded life.
“A family, a business, an input into the community. When we first met and started dating I knew that you were that girl ... I actually have tears in my eyes as I write it.”
Hard-working family man seems more in keeping with Dewani’s posh, strictly Hindu upbringing than bisexual kinkster on the prowl.
He attended the exclusive, private Bristol Grammar School, which costs about R200 000 a year, before qualifying as an accountant at the University of Manchester.
He was working at Deloitte in London when he met Anni in 2009 – their first formal date was a theatre outing to watch The Lion King – after which he returned to Bristol to run the family firm, PSP Healthcare.
The man at the centre of it all sat in the dock immaculately dressed in a crisp, white shirt and dark suit.
Gone was the hollow-eyed, wild-haired figure who appeared in Britain’s courts over a period of three years trying to fight his extradition on the grounds of ill mental health.
This week he scribbled furiously in a notebook, looking calm and, according to some in the public gallery, “tranquillised to the gills”.
It’s not clear what psychiatric regimen – if any – he’s following while he is being detained at Cape Town’s Valkenberg psychiatric hospital between appearances.
But he does not seem to have lost his sense of humour.
According to a police officer in court, Dewani shared jokes in the holding cells beneath the high court this week during adjournments of the murder trial.