Convicted rapist Nicholas Ninow, while testifying in mitigation of his sentence, shirked responsibility for his actions, arguing that if he had been sober he would have never have raped a seven-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Dros restaurant in Pretoria in 2018.
Ninow took the stand in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.
He told the court that there were stark differences between how he behaved when he was drunk and when he was on drugs, saying that a sober Ninow would never rape anyone, let alone a child.
"Anything is possible when I am on drugs and alcohol. I did act on impulse and there is nothing I can say to make it better," Ninow testified.
"I intentionally did those things to that girl, but my regret came too late. I knew what I was doing, with my mental state I knew what I was doing. Consequences meant nothing to me, I was full of hatred."
Ninow’s testimony contradicted his plea agreement, which stated that the drugs had no bearing on his mental state and his decision-making processes.
Earlier, Ninow, still focusing on his drug use, testified that he started doing drugs with his mother when he was 13 years old.
Ninow said that his mother introduced him to alcohol and Cat and that he fell in love with the drug instantly. He had since been in and out of rehab on several occasions.
The convicted rapist also admitted that, since his incarceration in September 2018, he had been using drugs in prison.
Ninow, who broke down crying on several occasions, also read out a poem in court, meant for the victim, as well as a letter he wrote to the victim’s family.
A poem written by Nicolas Ninow and read out in court on Wednesday.
Ninow was testifying in mitigation, in the hope that the court would deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence, which is life in prison for rape.
A letter written by Nicolas Ninow that was read out in court.
After a week-long trial in September this year, Judge Mokhine Mosopa found Ninow guilty of rape, possession of an illegal substance and defeating the ends of justice. He was found not guilty of assaulting two Dros employees after he was caught, and a kidnapping charge was withdrawn by the State before the trial commenced.
News24 previously reported that Judge Mosopa had rejected Ninow's version that he was in the bathroom first, doing drugs, when the victim entered and asked to urinate.
He found that Ninow had stalked the victim, followed her into the bathroom and then raped her, making his actions premeditated and not impulsive as he had argued in his plea explanation.
"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," the judge said.
He 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.
Judge 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.