Briton Shrien Dewani leaves South Africa after honeymoon murder acquittal

British murder accused Shrien Dewani sitting in the Cape Town High Court on Oct 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
British murder accused Shrien Dewani sitting in the Cape Town High Court on Oct 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

CAPE TOWN (AFP) - British businessman Shrien Dewani flew out of South Africa on Tuesday, a day after he was acquitted of murdering his bride during their honeymoon in a case that sparked international attention.

Police escorted Dewani through Cape Town International Airport to catch an Emirates flight headed to Dubai which left at 1:30 pm (7:30pm Singapore time).

On Monday, Dewani walked free from the Cape Town high court after a shock judgement saw him cleared him of hiring hitmen to murder 28-year-old Anni Dewani, nee Hindocha, during their honeymoon in November 2010.

Prosecutors said Dewani wanted his wife killed because he is gay and felt trapped into marriage by family pressures.

Dewani told the court in a written statement at the start of the trial that he is bisexual and admitted having sex with male prostitutes, but said he loved Anni.

Western Cape High Court Judge Jeanette Traverso said the state's evidence had "fallen far below" the level needed to secure a conviction.

She said testimony by two men jailed for Anni's murder that Dewani had masterminded the plan was "improbable" and full of contradictions and lies.

The judge conceded there were "a number of unanswered questions" about the murder, but said it would be unjust to force Dewani to testify in his own defence simply in the hope that he would incriminate himself.

Anni Dewani's family said after the acquittal it planned to sue Dewani, saying she would never have married him if she had known about "his secret sex life with male prostitutes".

"Neither would we have, as a family, condoned a union with a man who indulged himself in such a sordid manner," the family said in a statement. "We will now go through this case with our lawyers to confirm whether we can file a lawsuit against Shrien Dewani in the UK."

Dewani returned to Britain within days of the murder in November 2010 and fought a three-year legal battle to avoid being extradited to South Africa, claiming he had mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress.

But he was sent back to South Africa in April, where he was found fit to stand trial and has been held at the Valkenberg psychiatric hospital for the duration of the trial.

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