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British Man Arrested for Wife's Murder During South African Honeymoon

Honeymoon Murder

Undated handout photo of Shrien Dewani and Anni Dewani (right) made available by the Bristol Evening Post.AP

LONDON -- A British man has been arrested at the request of South African authorities for allegedly arranging the killing of his wife during their honeymoon, police said Wednesday.

Scotland Yard said Shrien Dewani, 30, was detained overnight after turning himself in at a Bristol police station.

The arrest comes after a South African man convicted in Anni Dewani's murder accused her husband of paying to have the 28-year-old Swedish woman killed in what was staged to look like a carjacking on Nov. 13. Shrien Dewani has denied any role in her death. He will appear at London's City of Westminster Magistrates' Court later Wednesday.

Taxi driver Zola Tongo claimed Shrien Dewani approached him about killing his new wife the day the couple arrived in Cape Town, according to a plea agreement submitted in a South African court.

Tongo said he drove the couple from the airport to their hotel. Once the wife was out of earshot, the driver said Shrien Dewani asked if he could find someone to kill her. Tongo said Shrien Dewani offered about $7,000 for each person involved, but paid only about $145.

British news outlets have been speculating for weeks about Shrien Dewani's possible role. He told authorities the couple was returning to their hotel from dinner and had detoured to visit an impoverished township when gunmen forced him and the taxi driver from the vehicle.

Anni Dewani's body was found the next day in another township; she had been shot in the back of the neck.

Neither Shrien Dewani nor the driver was hurt. Suspicions were raised immediately because the vehicle was not stolen.

The family of Shrien Dewani, who has hired celebrity publicist Max Clifford to deal with the media onslaught, dismissed the allegations as "totally ludicrous."

Clifford said Wednesday Shrien Dewani maintains his innocence and is struggling to cope with the loss of his wife.

"He's devastated, and now all this on top of everything," Clifford said. "He's in a dreadful state." Clifford said he does not know if his client will fight extradition.

The case has drawn wide attention in Britain and in South Africa, where violent crime is high but attacks on foreign tourists are rare.

As a result of his plea bargain, Tongo was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was expected to testify against the other suspects, including two South Africans who were arrested soon after Anni Dewani's body was discovered.

South African authorities said they have started the extradition process for Shrien Dewani, but that it is in the very early stages.