Novella's murder orgy: We now know the full horror

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Novella's murder orgy: We now know the full horror

Diego Novella has been found guilty of the murder of his American girlfriend in Camps Bay

Journalist

Forensic pathologists described the scene where Gabriella Kabrins Alban was murdered in Cape Town two years ago as “bizarre” – and on Friday the man responsible was convicted.
Diego Novella was found guilty on Thursday for the brutal murder of his 39-year-old American girlfriend Alban in Camps Bay on July 29 2015.
But more bizarre than the scene, which included Novella defecating on her head and feet post-mortem – was his claim that he bludgeoned, kicked and strangled his girlfriend to death because he thought she was a demon.He claimed that he did not murder her because his mind was “hijacked” by a demonic entity.
On Thursday, Judge Vincent Saldanha read from a lengthy judgment and recalled Novella’s testimony from the incident, which occurred at about lunch time on July 29.After ingesting a veritable buffet of substances the night before the murder, Novella was described by staff at the Camps Bay Retreat Boutique Hotel as seeming happy and even playing air guitar, at one point while lying on his back.
He ruminated with staff into the early hours of the morning about issues ranging from the hotel windows looking like spiders, to pondering on the question: “What is sleep?”
When he headed back to his hotel room, however, he was confronted with a scene which he had developed a severe irritation for. Alban was lying in bed again. Debilitated by illness after she was diagnosed with Lymes Disease.
Novella had brought Alban to South Africa so she could be “cured” of her disease by using homoeopathic treatments, which Novella himself had tested during a “soul tour” to “high-energy” places scattered about the country.The treatments included taking ibogaine, a psychoactive substance, at a spiritual retreat in Magaliesburg, a treatment which the owner Rhoda Slabbert-Barron described as “a deep fragging of the brain”.
This was apparently done to cleanse him from the demons which possessed him as a result of the drugs he used.
He described his irritation with Alban’s perceived lethargy when she lived with him in Guatemala City. As a result of him having to take care of her, it also prevented him going overseas on his biannual trips.
Although he did not work, he was the beneficiary of a large inheritance left by his late mother whose family owns Cementos Progreso, one of the largest cement manufacturing companies in Central America.Her diet was also apparently a source of anger for him, as she would continually eat foods containing MSG, a substance which Novella believed was poisonous and which Slabbert also recommended she cut out in preparation for Alban’s visit to the Magaliesberg retreat, which she was also supposed to visit.On the night before the murder, Novella and Alban were supposed to go to the Mount Nelson Hotel for dinner but their booking was forfeited because Novella claims she was not ready in time.
Instead they went to an Italian restaurant at the V&A Waterfront where they argued over money.
On returning to the hotel and despite Alban being in a “bad mood” Novella claims they ingested various substances including cannabis oil, scaletium and dronabinol.According to Novella she called him a “faggot” and an “idiot” the next morning, words which made him “feel bad”.
The court found that consistent with other cases of femicide in South African society,
Novella was enraged by this and, while at full cognitive capacity to distinguish between right and wrong, he took out his vengeance upon Alban after feeling insulted.He then set upon her, bludgeoning her to death. But he was not yet finished.
In a depraved display of desecration, he shoved chocolates into her battered mouth, scattered sweets and chips over her body battered body and burnt her with cigarettes. He placed hair-straightening tongs between her naked thighs as a phallic symbol and defecated on her head and feet.
He took the time to gently lay a shirt with the word “Ubuntu” written on it. And on her forehead, he left a paper sign with the Spanish phrase “sorote”, meaning “piece of shit”.
The court dismissed his testimony that he attacked Alban perceiving her to be a demonic entity likened to a character in the movie The Exorcist.Likewise, his testimony that he had waded into the sea, receiving Morse code messages from the vibrating ocean, seeing David Bowie on the beach, and seeing a black pulsating sun after having left the murder scene, were said to have been exaggerated in order to try and show that he was having a psychotic episode. This was, the court said, an attempt to create an element of diminished responsibility for the court to consider.
Novella was, ultimately, after 120 days of trial and more than 7,000 pages of evidence, found guilty of first-degree murder.
Alban’s mother, Doris Weitz, said there was “an element of relief” after the judgment.
“I hope that he [Novella] gets as long a sentence as possible, and I wish him a very long life in prison,” she said after court.
The sentencing will take place in August.

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