Speaking publicly about Anni Dewani’s “honeymoon hijack” murder for the first time since he was dismissed from South Africa’s police force in a corruption scandal, Bheki Cele told how police suspected her husband of murder almost immediately.
“I think a day or two after his killing - after the killing of the young woman - police on the ground and myself made up our mind that he has something to answer. It would have been in 24 to 48 hours that the picture began to gel - that this guy has a case to answer”, he said.
According to Mr Cele - now South Africa’s deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries - it was the fact that Anni had not been raped plus the lack of injury to her husband which prompted the police’s suspicions.
Mr Cele’s comments are included in a new book about Anni Dewani’s murder due to be published in South Africa this week. In it, he claims that, despite his early suspicions, he allowed Shrien Dewani to fly home to Bristol five days after Anni’s murder for humanitarian reasons.
Mr Cele’s comments come as Dewani enters the fifth week of a murder trial during which he has been accused of paying a gang criminals R15,000 (£1,339) to assassinate his Swedish wife of two weeks in a fake hijack plot.
Mr Dewani insists that he innocent. And while his South African legal team has yet to put the case in his defence, his British extradition lawyer Clare Montgomery QC has previously argued that the case against him is based almost entirely on the words of criminals who turned state witness in return for immunity from prosecution or time off their prison sentences.