Nicholas Ninow (21), the alleged Dros ‘rapist’ won’t be in his son’s life. So says Berta Wessels*, mother of Mariaan*, Ninow’s former fiancée.
Since Mariaan (20) gave birth to their son, Charl*, in December last year, Ninow has only seen his son once, under the supervision of a social worker. He’s also never indicated that he wants to be a part of his son’s life.
“Charl is so cute,” Berta exclaims. “He’s keeping the whole family together and we love him very much.”
Mariaan and Charl are staying with her parents, Berta and Johan, and her two brothers. She was six months pregnant with dreams of a wonderful future with Ninow – whom she dated for two years – when she got that terrible phone call on 22 September last year that changed her life forever.
“Do you know Nicholas Ninow? He’s done a horrific thing – an unbelievably horrific thing,” she heard the police officer say.
Mariaan broke down into a thousand pieces that night,” Johan said in an interview with YOU.
Ninow, who’s since been dubbed the Dros ‘rapist’, was found guilty of raping a seven-year-old girl in the restroom of the Dros restaurant in Silverton, Pretoria.
He appeared in the high court in Pretoria last week. He stood trial for two counts of rape, kidnapping, possession of drugs, assault with the intent of causing grievous bodily harm as well as obstruction of justice. He plead guilty to the charges of rape against him.
“We follow the case,” Berta says. “When Mariaan comes home from work, we’ll talk about the court proceedings.”
Berta says Mariaan desperately wanted to believe in Ninow’s innocence. She’s visited him in the Kgosi Mampuru ll jail in Pretoria as well as the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital where his fitness to stand trial was being assessed.
But last week the scales fell from her eyes, Berta says, adding it’s something she hoped would’ve happened long ago.
“Mariaan heard some of the details that emerged in court about what he [Ninow] did to that little girl and she couldn’t stop crying when she got home.”
Berta says it’s been an exceptionally difficult week for Mariaan, as the events of that day is being rehashed in court.
“She loved him so much and she has a child with him. I’ve always hoped things would turn out for the better, but I think this court case will be the final nail in the coffin.
“She struggles sometimes, but she’s coping. Charl is getting big now and we support her all the way.”
What are the thoughts that run through their minds when they see Ninow in court?
“I get so sad whenever I see him. That’s when I realise Charl is going to grow up without knowing his father. He does have a lot of people that love him and that are there for him, but there will always be the void of a missing father,” Berta says.
A few times after his arrest Ninow called Mariaan from the prison payphone, but after a while she blocked the number.
“She’s become somewhat repulsed by him. We regret what happened, but we’re just grateful that one day we don’t have to drop Charl at his dad’s place to visit, even if he [Ninow] could be in his life.”
Will Charl know his dad is the Dros ‘rapist’?
“It’s a difficult situation, so we don’t know yet. We’ll decide with time. Maybe we’ll tell him when he’s older,” Berta says.
**Not their real names to protect Charl’s identity