EXCLUSIVE | Convicted Dros rapist Nicholas Ninow kept in a single cell, away from other prisoners

Nicholas Ninow. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)
Nicholas Ninow. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)

Dros rapist Nicholas Ninow is being held in a single cell, separately from the general population of Kgosi Mampuru prison in Tshwane.

Correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed to News24 that Ninow was housed in a single cell and that he was kept apart from other prisoners after a needs-based assessment was done.

According to Nxumalo, the assessment by various specialists found that Ninow could be a threat to himself and that other inmates could also target him because of his elevated profile.

READ | Dros rapist Nicholas Ninow officially found guilty

He added that the assessment was ongoing and it could later be determined that Ninow should be moved to another section of the prison or another facility entirely.

Once Ninow is sentenced, the department will also work out a sentencing plan which will determine an appropriate place for him to serve his sentence.

Although Nxumalo said Ninow was not on suicide watch, he has a history of suicidal behaviour.

Attempted suicide

In November 2018, the Pretoria Magistrate's Court referred Ninow to Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital for observation.

Ninow's attorney, Riaan du Plessis, told the court that his client had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2013 and that he used drugs since he was 14.

It was put on record that the accused previously underwent rehabilitation for substance abuse and that he tried to commit suicide because of severe depression and bipolar disorder.

In February this year, a Weskoppies panel found that he was fit to stand trial.

READ:Alleged Dros rapist declared fit to stand trial

According to the psychiatric report, Ninow was diagnosed as a mixed substance abuser.

However, the report stated that the diagnoses had no bearing on his ability to understand court proceedings and contribute to his defence.

"At the time of the alleged offence, the accused did not suffer from a mental illness or intellectual disability that affected his ability to distinguish between the rightful and wrongful nature of his deeds.

"A mental illness or intellectual disability did not affect his ability to act in accordance with the said appreciate of the rightful and wrongful nature of his deeds."

Guilty verdict

In September this year, Ninow was found guilty of raping the 7-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Dros restaurant in Pretoria in September 2018.

Ninow pleaded guilty to rape, defeating the ends of justice and the possession of an illegal substance.

Ninow admitted raping the victim but claimed the victim found him in the bathroom and that he acted impulsively.

He also said he went to the women's bathroom to snort the drug CAT because he was afraid of being caught.

READ: 'No parent should see what I witnessed' - mother of Dros rape victim

However, the State rejected his guilty plea on the basis that it contradicted the State's evidence.

It was the State's case that Ninow planned the assault and followed the child into the bathroom.

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria rejected Ninow's version, finding that he preyed on the minor and followed her into the bathroom with the intention of raping her.

"The only reasonable inference the court can draw is that the accused saw the victim playing in the play area, saw her going to the bathroom, followed her and then undressed and raped her," Judge Mokhine Mosopa said.

The court found that Ninow gave no reasonable explanations for moving closer to the children's play area or for choosing to use the women's bathroom.

Mosopa also found that Ninow's actions were premeditated in that he changed his seat at the restaurant so that he could have a clearer view of the children's play area to stalk his victim and strike when the opportunity presented itself.

Ninow was found not guilty of assaulting two Dros employees after he was caught. 

He is expected to be sentenced on October 16 and 17.

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