17032015Tue

Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Shrien Dewani has "improved enough" to face extradition to South Africa

Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani has "talked about" returning to South Africa to fight charges that he arranged the murder of his wife Anni, an extradition hearing in London has heard.

Lawyers for the South African government also told Westminster Magistrates' Court that there has been a "significant and sustained" improvement in his mental health.

Dewani has been treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a mental hospital near his hometown of Bristol since soon after his return from South Africa where Anni Dewani had been shot dead while the couple were on a night-time excursion in Cape Town in November 2010.

The 33-year-old businessman from Bristol is accused of orchestrating Ms Dewani's murder, a charge he denies.

Hugo Keith, QC, representing the South African authorities, told the court on Monday: "We suggest that there has been significant and sustained improvement (in his depression), largely as a result of the administration of drugs but also due to the grounding techniques and coping therapies which he has acquired during his time at Fromeside and more recently at Blaise View since his transfer to Blaise View in January this year."

His depression is now moderate, not severe, and in April his PTSD was found to be "considerably less" and is now moderate or severe, rather than severe.

He still has a substantial inability to concentrate and poor memory, the court heard, but he no longer makes active references to suicide. 

Instead he has expressed "several times" his willingness to travel to South Africa to fight the murder charges.

The South African government has offered reassurances that he will be admitted to mental hospital if he is found to be ill, and if remanded in jail will be kept in a single cell, which will reduce the chance of being attacked, the court heard.

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