Families at war: Husband left Anni Dewani to die like a dog, says her uncleBy Tom Kelly
Last updated at 8:24 PM on 9th January 2011
The uncle of murdered honeymoon bride Anni Dewani today accused her husband of allowing her to suffer a worse death than a dog.
Ashok Hindocha said he could not understand why millionaire Shrien Dewani had not ‘put up a fight’ after the couple’s taxi was ambushed by two gunmen in South Africa.
He said: ‘It is so simple. A beautiful girl like that, two men with a gun – you know what they are going to do to her.
No fight: The uncle of murdered Anni Dewani, Ashok Hindocha, has said that Shrien Dewani did not defend his newly wed wife
Mr Dewani faces extradition to Cape Town over allegations that he orchestrated the murder of his wife in a staged hijacking in a township near the city in November.
Unhappy marriage? Mr Hindocha said it was 'crystal clear' that the married couple were not happy
He fiercely denies doing anything wrong and said he passionately loved his bride.
But Mr Hindocha said he first became concerned a few days before his niece’s funeral – before Mr Dewani was named as a suspect – when they visited his family home in Bristol.
He said: ‘Everyone was sitting in the kitchen, ten or 15 people from both families, and Shrien addressed us for about half an hour, explaining for the first time what happened.
‘He told us he was thrown out of the window of the car. He could have struggled, he is not a small person – he is 6ft I think – and those guys weren’t big. He could have put up a fight. He had a chance.
‘Anni is a strong girl. If Shrien had fought back she would have definitely got involved.
'She was very sporty – she played hockey at the highest level – and she would have defended herself bravely.’
Mr Hindocha – the brother of Mrs Dewani’s father – also spoke of a text message that his niece allegedly sent to a friend a few days after her marriage saying ‘crying is my new hobby’.
From his home in Mariestad, Sweden, he said: ‘It was crystal clear that she wasn’t happy, that things weren’t right between them.’
Mr Hindocha also criticised a decision by the Dewanis and their public relations team to release video footage of the couple dancing at their wedding to the media before they had let his family see it.
Unsolved: Vinod Hindocha (left), the father of the murdered newlywed, and Shrien Dewani in handcuffs leaving Westminster Magistrates court last month (right)
He said: ‘I got calls from many relatives saying they were very upset that they first saw it on TV and in newspapers.
'I do not feel that it was done to be respectful of Anni’s memory, but more as a public relations defence because of the allegations against him.’
Max Clifford, a spokesman for the Dewani family, said: ‘Unless you are ever in a situation when two men are pointing a gun at you, you will never know how you will respond.
‘Anni’s uncle is entitled to his opinion, but I know that Shrien did everything he could protect her.
‘We released the footage of the wedding as a tribute to Anni and to demonstrate how much Shrien loved her, following weeks of false claims about their relationship.’
Taxi driver Zola Tonga, 31, has been jailed for 18 years after confessing to arranging the murder.
The sentence was reduced from 25 years after a plea bargain in which he claimed Mr Dewani asked him to hire the hitmen.
The two alleged gunmen are due to stand trial this year.
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