‘My lovely lady is dead,’ murder-accused apparently told luxury Camps Bay hotel staff

2017-05-25 18:46
Gabriela Kabrins Alban. (Facebook)

Gabriela Kabrins Alban. (Facebook)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – On the day that the body of US marketing executive Gabriela Kabrins Alban was found in a suite at a luxurious Camps Bay hotel, her Guatemalan roommate calmly told staff “my lovely lady is dead”.

This was according to the testimony of Tarryn Wasmuth, who dealt with reservations at the Camps Bay Retreat Hotel, and where the 39-year-old was found dead in one of the suites on July 29, 2015.

Wasmuth said the deceased and Diego Novella had stayed in the same room.

On the afternoon of July 28, Kabrins Alban phoned her to make a tennis booking for Novella the following morning, she said.

The next morning, she received a call from their room just before 09:00.

“He had called to cancel his tennis appointment as he said he was not feeling well.”

She got back from mid-morning tea, sat at her desk and looked out the window at the grass patch in front of her, between the main building and the spa building, where the sun loungers were.

Diego - wearing shorts, a t-shirt and slippers - was apparently pacing back and forth on the grass, smoking what she believed was a cigarette.

She thought nothing of the pacing.

Later that afternoon, she walked out the office and saw him sitting in an armchair at reception, chatting to the duty manager.

She stopped at the reception desk and heard him tell the manager: “My lovely lady is dead”.

Again, she thought nothing of what he had said.

Asked by the State what the tone of his voice was, she said it seemed very calm and placid, nothing unusual.

“She [the duty manager] asked when did this happen. He said a little while ago.”

Novella, dressed in a grey suit, with a navy blue scarf almost obscuring the ‘13’ tattoo on his neck, kept his eyes cast down.

He recently pleaded not guilty to the murder.


The duty manager decided she would go across to their room to make sure everything was okay.

Wasmuth and a colleague left at the same time to walk down to the mountain pool. They returned around 10 minutes later, where she saw Novella smoking on the terrace a few metres away.

They got to the rope bridge and saw there were a lot of people at the room. Novella passed them, walked over the bridge and went to the room.

She did not see him again.

The defence said it was taken by surprise that “95%” of the witness’ evidence-in-chief was not contained in her two statements they received.

Novella’s lawyer William Booth accused the State of “ambushing” him.

He would need time to raise the new evidence with his client and get instructions.

Prosecutor Louise Friester-Sampson said much of the witness’s evidence on Thursday came out of consultations in preparation for the trial.

“We are not obliged to re-take and re-take statements to cover all aspects. There is no malice from the State.”

The trial would resume on Monday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.