BBC Honeymoon Murder documenta

BBC Honeymoon Murder documentary reveals ‘SA police incompetence, witness lies’

A BBC documentary could reveal Shrien Dewani’s innocence in the murder of his wife in Cape Town. However, Anni’s family are furious that the BBC is ‘interfering’ in the justice system.

BBC Honeymoon Murder documenta
Shrien and Anni Dewani
Shrien and Anni Dewani

The family of Anni Dewani are angry at the BBC for “acting as the defender’s defence” by producing and airing a documentary that claims to shed new light on the Honeymoon Murder case.

Anni and Shrien Dewani were car-jacked in Gugulethu on their honeymoon in 2010, two weeks after they were married.

Anni was later found dead in an abandoned taxi.

The Honeymoon Murder: Who Killed Anni claims to have access to previously “unseen CCTV and secret files that reveals witness lies and incompetence”.

Re-assessed ballistic reports reveal that Anni could have been killed by a bullet that rebounded off her hand “during a struggle” and into her chest, the Daily Mail reported.

Breach of guidelines

Anni’s family claim they were not questioned nor given the chance to respond during the production of the documentary, with old interviews being used — a breach of BBC guidelines, The Telegraph reported.

“We must consider how to minimise possible distress to surviving contributors, victims and relatives when we re-use or make available such archive content,” BBC guidelines state.

Anni’s uncle Ashok Hindocha said, “Anni’s murder has caused us great grief and pain. Not a day goes by without us remembering and crying for her. Her mother has cancer and hardly leaves the bed. We cannot see why you are broadcasting a second programme.

“This should be a case for the legal process in South Africa and we cannot see why the BBC has declared itself judge and jury without allowing us to contribute to the debate. We would like a right of reply on the programme on what your ‘verdict’ is,” the newspaper reported.

“What the BBC is doing is not correct. This programme should not be run before the trial,” Hindocha told Sky News.

This isn’t the first time Panorama has produced a documentary on the Honeymoon Murder. Last year, Jeremy Vine questioned why, despite being a suspect in the case, Shrien was never questioned and why major discrepancies in statements were overlooked by police.

Difficult viewing

In response to the Hindochas’ claims, the BBC told The Telegraph: “We understand that the programme may be difficult viewing for Anni’s family and have approached it sensitively, including contacting her uncle, as the representative of the family, in advance, to let him know that it would air.

“We received replies from Mr Hindocha that did not raise these objections. Should the Hindocha family wish to issue a statement then we would reflect their position in the programme.

“The South African police and prosecution authorities have been given a full opportunity to reply to the programme,” they added.

In a letter to the BBC, the office of the director of public prosecutions in South Africa said, “It would be improper for the NPA to engage the media on the merits of this case. To do so will be to subject Mr Dewani to a trial by media, a concept foreign to the Republic of South African and a practise that will violate Mr Dewani’s right to a fair trial.”

Unhappy marriage

Unseen text messages from Anni to her cousin have just been published by the BBC and reveal what appears to be an unhappy marriage.

On 16 September 2010, Anni wrote: “Fighting a lot with Shrien. Wish I had never got engaged.”

Less than a week later on 21 September, Anni wrote: “We have nothing in common. He’s a perfectionist.”

This was followed with “I hate him” on 30 September.

During the honeymoon, on 10 November, she texted her cousin saying, “He’s a nice guy in all the ways but I don’t feel happy at all.”

However, a day later she sent a text saying: “It’s going better than before. Hard to explain but I’ll call you as soon as I return. Hate the word divorce.”

Despite these texts, medical reports show that the couple were trying for a baby, according to the BBC.


Police in South Africa believe Shrien organised the murder after taxi driver Zola Tongo was caught on CCTV going into his hotel room days after Anni was found dead.

Tongo claimed he was being paid for organising the killing but Shrien claims he was paying for the taxi ride, the BBC reported.

After entering a plea bargain in which he claimed that Dewani asked him to co-ordinate a plan where his wife would be killed, Tongo was jailed for 18 years.

The man who pulled the trigger on Anni, terminally ill Xolile Mngeni, was convicted of murder at the end of last year.

Mziwamadoda Qwabe admitted to assisting co-accused Mngeni in hijacking the Dewanis’ vehicle and being behind the wheel when Mngeni  fatally shot Anni in the neck.

Despite a judge ruling that he can be extradited to face trial in South Africa, Shein is still being treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in Bristol. His legal team are appealing the extradition verdict.

The Honeymoon Murder: Who Killed Anni will be aired on BBC One on Thursday 19 September 2013 at 9pm.

Watch the preview clip below: