Captain Paul Hendrikse was led by prosecutor Adrian Mopp through his involvement of the case from when he first visited the crime scene in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, on November 14, 2010.
The State’s 15th witness said he left the crime scene, introduced himself to Shrien Dewani at the Cape Grace Hotel, and interviewed him informally.
The next morning, Dewani phoned and told him to look between the stitching of their hijacked shuttle taxi to find his wife’s hidden engagement ring.
The ring was recovered.
That Monday, he interviewed Dewani formally because he assumed he had been in shock when he gave his first statement to a warrant officer hours after the hijack.
Dewani was apparently calm and co-operative.
He is on trial for allegedly plotting with shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo and others to kill Anni while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, murder and defeating the ends of justice.
He claims the couple were hijacked as Tongo was driving them through Gugulethu in his minibus on Saturday, November 13. He was released unharmed and Anni was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.
The State alleges he conspired with others to stage the hijacking in return for R15,000.
He maintains that Tongo helped him organise a surprise helicopter trip for Anni for R15,000.
During his formal interview with Hendrikse, a statement was taken down with amendments to his initial statement.
These included that the couple did not drive directly to Somerset West that night but first drove around Cape Town and then looked at Gugulethu.
Hendrikse asked Dewani to clarify what happened with the wedding rings handed over to their attackers because he was confused.
“When I asked him that question he became a bit uneasy with the question and started pacing up and down my office and then gave an explanation,” the policeman said.
The interview lasted an hour.
Mopp read through Dewani’s plea explanation, which included details about the surprise helicopter trip and cash to pay for that.
“The first time I heard that, my lady, was in the plea explanation,” Hendrikse said.
“My lady, had that explanation been given to me right from the start when I interviewed Mr Dewani, Mr Tongo would have automatically become a suspect,” he said.
Hendrikse added that his investigation would have been more focused because Tongo would have known about the money on Dewani and would have had a motive.
“My lady, as far as I can see as the investigation has proceeded, this version of Mr Dewani is merely a fabricated view.”
Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso said that was the policeman’s view and he replied that he understood and respected that.