One of the men convicted of killing newlywed Anni Dewani on her honeymoon has died in prison, a South African official has confirmed.
Xolile Mngeni, 27, was jailed for life two years ago for shooting Mrs Dewani in 2010.
He died in the hospital section of a Cape Town prison this afternoon, minister of j ustice and correctional services Michael Masutha told the South African Press Association.
Mngeni, who had surgery to remove a rare brain tumour in 2011, was branded a “merciless and evil person” by a judge during his sentencing. The court heard he would probably have only two to five years to live if the tumour returned.
The killer was denied parole in July after officials ruled he could receive appropriate medical care at Goodwood correctional centre.
Mngeni’s death comes 12 days after Shrien Dewani went on trial in South Africa accused of murdering his wife.
The 34-year-old denies plotting to kill Mrs Dewani on their luxury getaway to Cape Town in November 2010, as they took a cab ride through a township.
The care home owner, from Weston-on-Trym near Bristol, is accused of paying three men to kill his wife, days after their lavish £200,000 wedding in Mumbai.
Dewani said he and his wife were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi. He was released unharmed, but Mrs Dewani’s body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot.
Mngeni was convicted of shooting Mrs Dewani, while taxi driver Zola Tongo and Mziwamadoda Qwabe are also serving jail terms in connection with the murder.
Reports suggest prosecutors in South Africa had spoken to Mngeni but had not planned to call him as a witness in the trial because of the poor state of his health.
Mngeni was found guilty at the Western Cape High Court in 2012 of premeditated murder . He was also convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. But he was acquitted of Mrs Dewani’s kidnapping.
During sentencing, Judge Robert Henney said Mngeni deserved the maximum punishment for killing Mrs Dewani.
The judge said: ” He had no regard to her right to freedom, dignity, and totally disregarded and showed no respect to her right to life by brutally killing her with utter disdain.”