UK
24/07/2013 10:55 BST | Updated 24/07/2013 14:39 BST

Shrien Dewani Must Be Extradited To Face Honeymoon Murder Charge, Court Rules

Shrien Dewani, the man suspected of murdering his bride Anni on honeymoon, should be extradited to South Africa to face trial over his wife's death, a magistrate ruled.

Lawyers acting for Dewani have already announced they intend to appeal against Wednesday's ruling that he should be extradited to South Africa to face trial over his wife's death, a spokesman for his family said.

Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle told Westminster Magistrates' Court that the 33-year old businessman should return to the country, despite arguments by his defence team that he could suffer setbacks in his mental health if sent back now.

They argued that the decision should be delayed by six months.

shrien dewani

Shrien Dewani and Anni Dewani

Dewani has undergone treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression since his wife's death.

The courtroom was packed with Mrs Dewani's relatives, who wore photographs of her pinned to their clothes, decorated with pink ribbons.

District Judge Riddle said: "It is not in question that Shrien Dewani will be returned to South Africa. The treating clinicians continue to state that Mr Dewani will recover.

"There has been recovery, but it has been slow. It may be a long time before Mr Dewani is fit to plead, but he may be closer to that point.

"It is not impossible that if returned now, then after a reasonable period of further treatment and assessment he will be found fit to plead and a trial can take place."

But in a statement released after the ruling, Dewani's family said: "Lawyers acting for Shrien Dewani will review today's judgment and lodge an appeal during which time Shrien will remain in the UK.

"Shrien Dewani remains unfit to be extradited or to face trial.

"Shrien remains committed to returning to South Africa when his health would permit a full trial and when appropriate protections are in place for his health and safety.

"The legal process in ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Dewani's 28-year-old wife Anni, who was from Sweden, was shot when a taxi the couple were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town in November 2010.

Last year, Xolile Mngeni, a hitman allegedly hired by Dewani, was found guilty of premeditated murder after a judge at the Western Cape High Court heard an "avalanche of evidence" against him.

Prosecutors believe the 25-year-old pulled the trigger after he was recruited to carry out the assassination in an attack designed to resemble a car hijacking.

Mrs Dewani was found dead in the back of the abandoned vehicle with a bullet wound to her neck after taxi driver Zola Tongo drove the newlyweds to the area.

He and Dewani were ejected by the hijackers before Mrs Dewani was driven away and killed.

Tongo, who has admitted his part in the crime, claimed in a plea agreement with prosecutors that Dewani ordered the carjacking and paid for a hit on his wife.