For almost two weeks, a jilted lover evaded arrest after he stabbed his student nurse girlfriend 10 times at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.
On Thursday, Ben Novela, 38, handed himself over to the police after negotiations lasting almost a week with The Star Africa.
The newspaper was first contacted by Novela’s uncle, asking that we help negotiate his handover.
Novela, from Orlando East, Soweto, eventually handed himself over to the Jabulani police station at lunchtime on Thursday.
Visibly agitated but unfazed, a slightly lean Novela came armed with a plastic bag carrying items he said were proof that the nurse had been “cheating” on him. He was at pains to explain to the police that he had never planned to stab her.
He said he had merely gone to the hospital to seek an explanation about the nurse’s infidelity, but that he had stabbed her in a fit of rage. This, he added, was after she screamed. “I just went mad with anger,” said Novela, who has lost his job as a security guard at a private company.
The nurse had to be transferred to Milpark Hospital, but she has since been discharged. Milpark Hospital spokeswoman Erin Walsh said she could not disclose the condition of the nurse as that was “a patient-doctor confidentiality”.
Novela said he and the nurse were in a love relationship, despite both being married. He said he had waited for the nurse at the hospital’s main entrance and then chased after her with the aim of chatting to her. He became angry when she drove through the entrance in the company of the man he knew as her lover. The man and the nurse, he said, were involved in a plot to kidnap and murder him.
Asked how he gained access into the hospital with a knife, Novela said: “I told the security that I was taking an envelope to the occupants of the car. They did not stop me. I then ran parallel to the car until it stopped near the ward.”
His free entry into the hospital raised concerns about the security and the safety of staff at Bara, with medics expressing outrage about working in dangerous circumstanCes. A few days earlier, a patient at the hospital had left five fellow patients and a doctor injured when he went on a stabbing spree.
Police spokesman Kay Makhubelasaid Novela had been detained at Diepkloof police station.
He has been charged with attempted murder and will appear in court soon.
Gauteng Department of Health spokesman Simon Zwane said: “We welcome the arrest because this will show that issues of domestic conflict were brought to the workplace.”
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