'Anni's death destroyed us'
Vinod Hindocha - the father of Anni Dewani, who was killed while on honeymoon in Cape Town - yesterday spoke about the nightmare he and his family have endured since November 13 2010, the day of her murder.
In a statement handed to the Cape Town High Court, Hindocha said that he had been unable to work for two years, that his sleep was always fitful and that he has had to have counselling.
To make matters worse, his wife, Nilam, has been diagnosed with cancer.
Anni was shot dead while on honeymoon with her British husband, Shrien Dewani. It has been alleged that her husband, currently fighting extradition from the UK, hired hit men to kill her in a staged hijacking.
Last week, Xolile Mngeni was convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances, premeditated murder and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Mngeni's co-accused, Mzwamadoda Qwabe and shuttle operator Zola Tongo, turned state witness.
In the statement, Hindocha argued in aggravation of Mngeni's sentence.
"I have been visiting [a] psychiatrist once every two weeks to help me get my life back together but it's a long journey and it has been hard," said Hindocha.
"My wife [has been] diagnosed with cancer. Her health has deteriorated significantly since Anni's death due to shock and stress and, as a family, we are struggling to keep her healthy."
Hindocha described Anni as educated and smart. She loved good food and shopping, and was popular.
He said weddings had become painful for his family: "We are so reminded of Anni at weddings that sometimes we just have to leave the room.
"The calm life we used to live in a small town in Sweden does not exist any more. Now we live a life that consists of court hearings, journalists and travelling."
He said he still needed to understand why Anni had to die.
The court heard that Mngeni suffered from a rare type of brain cancer. Jeannette Parkes, an oncologist at Groote Schuur Hospital, said Mngeni was diagnosed with pineoblastoma and that a recent scan showed that the tumour had cleared.
However, said Parkes, Mngeni is at high risk of developing a recurrence of the disease.
"Unfortunately, should such a recurrence occur, treatment options are limited and the disease is likely to be fatal," said Parkes.
Mngeni will be sentenced on December 5. The state has asked for a life sentence.