Dewani's mental health improved, court told
A BRISTOL businessman wanted in South Africa for the honeymoon murder of his wife is set to apply to be treated on an open NHS rehabilitation ward after an improvement in his mental health, a court has heard.
Dr Paul Cantrell, the psychiatrist treating Shrien Dewani, would "wish to see" a relaxation in his bail conditions to help in his treatment and ensure his continued recovery, Westminster Magistrates' Court in London was told.
The 32-year-old is currently being held at the city's Fromeside Clinic, a secure mental health hospital where he is subject to a curfew and must be accompanied by staff when he leaves.
Hugo Keith QC, for the South African authorities, said Dewani's defence has written to the court and the CPS on Friday including a letter from Dr Cantrell, who described Dewani's depression as having "materially improved".
"It is now to be described as moderate rather than severe, that he still suffers however from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and that in order to assist in his treatment and to ensure a continued recovery not only would Dr Cantrell wish to see a relaxation of the bail conditions concerning his curfew and also the obligation that he be accompanied by a member of Fromeside staff when he leaves the premises but in fact that he should leave Fromeside altogether with a view to being placed in an open NHS rehabilitation ward in the community."
The hearing was told that a report by a psychiatrist employed by the South African authorities on Mr Dewani's mental health has not yet been completed.
The report was requested after an earlier hearing at which Clare Montgomery QC told the court that Mr Dewani needed 12 months to recover from depression and PTSD before being able to deal with the extradition process.
Dewani, who is accused of arranging the contract killing of his wife Anni in Cape Town in November 2010, is receiving treatment after being sectioned and deemed a suicide risk. He has previously pledged to clear his name.
The case was adjourned for a further hearing on October 2. An application to vary his bail conditions may be heard on October 12.
In a court hearing held in South Africa earlier this month, it was heard how the honeymooners were said to have begged for their lives after their taxi was hijacked.
In a police video made three days after Mrs Dewani was killed, murder accused Xolile Mngeni described their pleas.
He told police he and a man named Mawewe hijacked the taxi in Gugulethu township near Cape Town on November 13 2010 with a "white man and woman" sitting in the back seat.
Mngeni told an officer: "They said please don't kill us ... They took out two phones and a camera. I told them: 'you are not going to be killed'."
Mrs Dewani, 28, was later shot dead.
The defence told Western Cape High Court that the filmed statement was made under duress, and also questioned its authenticity.
So far, two men have admitted their role in Mrs Dewani's murder and claimed her husband orchestrated the killing – an allegation he vehemently denies.
Mngeni denies kidnapping, robbery, murder and possession of a gun and ammunition.
In the video shown in court, Mngeni said he asked Mawewe: "What are we going to do with these two people?"
The alleged accomplice replied that he would separate the couple. At this point, the "white man" apparently said he could not be dropped off alone because "this is his wife", Mngeni said. The vehicle came to a stop and Mawewe shouted to the man to get out, Mngeni said. His wife then started crying.
Mngeni said they drove off and stopped a while later, at which point Mawewe tried to take a small bag from the woman but she held onto it. He heard a gunshot, and after an argument the men fled from the car.