Honeymoon murder suspect ‘spends hours on end exercising’ — (Evening Standard)

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Evening Standard

Paul Cheston, Courts Correspondent

18 Jul 2011

Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani spends hours on end exercising at the mental hospital where he is being treated during his fight against extradition to South Africa, a court heard today.

Psychiatrists have rated Dewani, who is accused of murdering his wife, Anni, 28, on their honeymoon holiday in South Africa, as a suicide risk who is suffering from two severe mental conditions.

His extradition hearing was told today that he worked with a skipping rope, lifted weights, and did press-ups and sit-ups for up to two hours a session in May this year.

On several occasions, Dewani had to be told to stop for his own good by staff at the Fromeside clinic, a medium secure mental hospital in Bristol where the businessman is on £250,000 bail.

Shrien Dewani’s mental condition renders him unfit to be extradited to South Africa to face trial over the honeymoon murder of his wife, the court was told earlier today.

Three senior medical experts are convinced Dewani, 31, is suffering from severe depression and severe post traumatic stress disorder.

He wants to “hide away in a corner” and wished he had died in South Africa, the court was told.

He will recover but it could take many months in a “long and slow process” said forensic consultant psychiatrist Dr Paul Cantrell.

The medication he took for depression has led him to become a suicide risk, the court was told.

He is currently being checked by staff every 30 minutes at Fromeside Clinic, Bristol, a medium secure mental hospital.

But Hugo Keith QC, representing the South African authorities, told Dr Cantrell that Dewani had told doctors he believed suicide was “the ultimate sin”.

“There is a degree of calculation here. He has said he would not kill himself in the UK because he would look as if he was guilty but he might kill himself in South Africa to make them look stupid,” said the QC.

But a psychiatrist said that Dewani was unfit even to travel from Bristol to attend an extradition hearing in Woolwich Crown Court.

His wife had been shot by gunmen who had hijacked a taxi the couple had been travelling in a township outside Cape Town.

Dr Cantrell told the court: “No matter what happened in South Africa, when he travels in a vehicle he does experience it as a traumatic experience.

“I personally don’t think he is fit (to be extradited) at the moment – he may become fit – but my opinion is that he is not fit at the moment.”

The psychiatrist said the combination of Dewani’s two mental conditions was “fairly uncommon” and he had never treated anyone with the same condition at Fromeside before.

Mr Keith told him that Dewani was “deeply fortunate to have someone with such skill attending to him.”

The QC argued that the basis of Dewani’s treatment in the future was medication and that he could receive that in custody in South Africa.

The case continues.