Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani is willing to return to South Africa voluntarily to stand trial over the death of his wife, friends said today.
The businessman has so far resisted extradition and is due in court later this week to discover his fate.
He is currently on bail after being arrested on suspicion of conspiring to murder his wife Anni, who was shot in Cape Town in November in an apparent bungled robbery.
But his friends now say he is willing to return voluntarily to clear his name under certain conditions.
Family friend Hasmukh Shah, a trustee of the World Council of Hindus, said Mr Dewani would require bail up to the point of final appeal, if one is needed, as well as freedom of movement to help him build his defence case.
Mr Shah told the BBC’s Inside Out West programme: ”There are certain issues and questions and guarantees which must be answered and given, such as if Shrien had to go to South Africa, would he be given bail?
”It is for Shrien’s legal team and the South African authorities to discuss this and agree a mutually-agreed programme.”
Mr Shah first met Dewani, 31, while they were both students at the University of Manchester.
He said he thinks of him as family and is confident he can clear his name if he stands trial.
Mr Shah said the Dewani family are now looking for a number of reassurances from the South African authorities before deciding whether Shrien will return voluntarily.
Many of his supporters fear he will not get a fair trial after being vilified by the police and media in a ‘conspiracy’ to protest the South African tourist.
But these concerns have been rejected by the country’s justice minister, Jeff Radebe.
He said: ”As far as we are concerned, Mr Dewani, if he comes before a competent court in South Africa, will receive a fair trial.”
Dewan’s wife Anni, 28, was shot when the taxi she and her husband were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on 13 November.
Shrien is now due to appear in court for a preliminary extradition hearing this Thursday (20/01) at City of Westminster Magistrates Court.
The driver of the taxi, Zola Tongo, 31, from Bothasig, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and perverting the course of justice.
Xolile Mnguni, 23, and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25, who are charged with murder, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances, will appear before Wynberg Regional Court on 25 February.