Things Aren’t Looking Good For Camps Bay Murder Accused Diego Novella — Nigeria Today
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Things Aren’t Looking Good For Camps Bay Murder Accused Diego Novella

That’s Diego Novella above, who is currently on trial for the murder of his girlfriend Gabriela Kabrins Alban at a Camps Bay hotel in July of 2015.

There’s so much about this case that is truly bizarre, culminating in the Western Cape’s only specialist in psychologically-motivated crimes calling it “one of the strangest ever encountered by police”.

We covered all of those details here, but let’s move ahead to the dramatic events of the past 24 hours.

With the Western Cape High Court proceedings wrapping up, things took an abrupt turn. Here’s IOL:

The defence’s final arguments were due to be heard yesterday, but had to be abruptly adjourned after Novella told Judge Vincent Saldanha he had lied in his testimony…

Defence lawyer William Booth [with Novella below] said he was “gobsmacked” by his client’s admission and despite consulting with him on Saturday when he was “very depressed”, was hearing of this for the first time.

After a brief adjournment, Booth told the court that the accused seemed to be “in a very bad emotional state” and should be seen by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

“It puts me in a somewhat difficult position to be able to proceed until I can clarify his position regarding his comment earlier,” he said.

Booth said “from a psychological point of view, Novella was not well” and he needed more time to consult with him.

Due to that state of mind, Novella has now been placed on suicide watch. This also came out during yesterday’s proceedings, as the Sowetan reports:

After lunch‚ Louise Friester-Sampson‚ for the state‚ returned and told Judge Vincent Saldanha: “The district surgeon confirmed that he [Novella] had suffered from a panic attack. He was prescribed medication and diagnosed as a suicide risk.”

She said that in light of this‚ arrangements had been made with Pollsmoor Prison to have Novella moved from a single cell to a cell where there is “more than one person”.

Authorities at the correctional facility would also “conduct a search of his belongings and remove anything of risk”.

The staff there would be advised to “keep a close watch on him”.

Novella comes from a wealthy family in Guatemala, and has claimed that he was under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs at the time of the murder.

We’ll go over some of the specifics from the crime one more time:

The 39-year-old Alban’s body was discovered in the room she was sharing with Novella at an upmarket boutique hotel in Camps Bay on July 29, 2015.

She had been strangled and had suffered blunt force trauma.

Her face was covered with chips and faeces and a note had been left on her body with the Spanish slang word “cerote” scrawled on it.

Cerote means piece of s***.

A fingerprint expert who was called in earlier testified that Novella’s fingerprint was found on the note.

Novella was arrested the same day, a few hours after hotel staff found Alban’s body.

He pleaded not guilty, and the court case will continue once the district surgeon has assessed whether he is able to follow court proceedings and fit to stand trial.

[sources:iol&sowetan]

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