Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani is on 24-hour suicide watch amid fears he will kill himself after losing wife Anni, it emerged today.
Shrien, 31, is accompanied by a friend or family member at all times as he awaits possible extradition to South Africa – and is not even allowed to sleep alone.
Friends fear the businessman will be murdered if he is forced to return to the country after being vilified by the authorities and media.
Shrien is due to face an extradition hearing in London next Thursday which will determine whether he has to face trial in South Africa.
He is a ”shell of a man” and a ”zombie” at the £1.4million home in Bristol where he is confined by bail conditions, friends say.
His wife, Anni, 28, was shot dead on November 13 after the couple travelled through a notorious township in Cape Town, just two weeks after they were married in India.
Family friend Pankaj Pandya, 58, who has been close to the Dewanis for almost 30 years, said: ”I visited Shrien with my wife to give him our support.
”I hugged him and we sat down for a while and had a chat. He had lost a lot of weight and looked like a zombie and he didn’t really know what was happening.
”I know there is a concern in the family that he could topple over, and that there is a danger that he could feel the whole world is against him and that he could take some drastic action.
”I am sure there is a fear that he could kill himself, so they are making sure that there is somebody always with him, that he doesn’t sleep on his own and somebody is there keeping him company.”
Margaret Stewart, another friend of the Dewani family, said Shrien resembled ”a shell of a man” after the allegations.
She said: ”He doesn’t look like he is sleeping or eating, he has lost so much weight and he just looks empty.
”I don’t think I have ever seen anyone in that condition.”
But Mr Pandya, treasurer of the Bristol Hindu Temple where the Dewani family worship, believes Shrien will use his faith to help prove his innocence.
He said: ”There is an inner strength in him and he is saying ‘I am going to fight this case’.”
Shrien, who runs PSP Healthcare with dad Prakash and brother Preyen, has repeatedly denied allegations he paid driver Zola Tongo £1,300 to organise Anni’s murder.
He will appear in a London court next Thursday where a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence for him to be sent to South Africa to be tried for her death.
His friends and family fear he will be killed if he is extradited – either inside or outside prision – as they claim he has been framed as a conspiracy to protect tourism in South Africa.
Friend Kamlesh Vyas, the panditji or priest at the Bristol Hindu Temple said: ”If he goes there he will get killed. The way South African politics works, I don’t think it is safe for him to go to South Africa.
”The way the media have portrayed Shrien, if he goes to South Africa he will be killed, by somebody in prison or anywhere.
”In South Africa you can buy anything, including the law. Why does he have to go there for trial?
”Why can’t he be put on trial here, or go to another country in Europe where he can have a fair trial?
”The British system, from the police to the prisons and the judiciary, is uncorrupt.”
Another friend, married Margaret Stewart, added: ”The Shrien Dewani that has been invented to fit the crime doesn’t really exist.”