Camps Bay murder accused was a sweet man - nephew

2016-05-06 13:04
Gabriela Kabrins Alban. (Picture: Facebook)

Gabriela Kabrins Alban. (Picture: Facebook)

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Cape Town – The Guatemalan man accused of killing his American girlfriend, Gabriela Kabrins Alban, at a Camps Bay hotel was a sweet and kind man, his nephew said on Friday.

"It was a shock to us. It was totally out of character for a person we have known our whole lives," said Javier Ocano, who had flown from Guatemala to support to his uncle Diego Dougherty Novella, and his uncle's family.

"He is a very charismatic, empathic, very sweet kind of person. What happened here is a tragedy for the families that the media have turned into a circus to sell papers."

Some media organisations have described him as a "millionaire playboy" with a drug habit. The Weekend Argus reported in April that he had been visiting retreats in an effort to clean up.

Ocano said people had lied and assumed things that were untrue about his uncle.

He was arrested on July 29 last year and charged with murder after the 39-year-old marketing executive's body was found at the Camps Bay Retreat Hotel. The two were believed to be sharing the room.

Prison 'hell'

Ocano described conditions at Pollsmoor Prison, where his uncle was taken after his arrest, as "hell".

His lawyer, William Booth, had already asked that Novella not have to share a cell with up to 40 people.

"It is just sad to see that that's a correctional centre. That's where people go to get better," said Ocana.

He was distressed by delays in the case, particularly regarding the presentation of evidence.

The honorary consul for Guatemala in Cape Town, Pedro Estrada Belli, was available if needed.

Friday's appearance was in the "backlog court" in Cape Town, a cramped room in a run-down building, housing the Cape Town Community Court.

So far, he had been sent for a psychiatric evaluation.

The case was delayed over the possibility of a media application for Magistrate Grant Engel to lift a ban on publishing Novella’s picture. The ban was put in place so an identity parade could be held. The case was moved to the main magistrate's court building.

Present at Friday’s proceedings was Siwe Coka from the Sinoxolo and Inkanyezi Gender-based Violence Group, which lobbies for better and faster criminal justice in murder cases.

The group was formed over the time when comparisons were being drawn between the police’s investigation into the murder of teenager Franziska Blöchliger in the Tokai Forest and Sinoxolo Mafevuka's killing in Khayelitsha.

Police were accused of prioritising the Blöchliger case.

Read more on:    gabriela kabrins alban  |  diego novella  |  cape town

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