Diego Novella is accused of murdering Gabriela Alban Kabrins in a luxury Cape Town boutique hotel. Picture: COURTNEY AFRICA
Cape Town - Guatemalan murder accused Diego Novella fought back tears and apparently suffered stomach cramps this week at the Western Cape High Court, where he is standing trial for the alleged killing of his former girlfriend, American marketing executive Gabriela Kabrins Alban.

Novella, who spent most of his time looking down during proceedings, seemed to have a particularly difficult time on Wednesday when his attorney, William Booth, cross-examined forensic pathologist Itumeleng Molefe.

Molefe described objects she found on Alban’s body and in the vicinity in the Camps Bay Retreat Hotel room the couple stayed in July 2015, saying the death scene was “bizarre”.

She told the court she had never seen anything as chaotic and overwhelming as the state of Alban’s body and the room.

“There was something peculiar about this death scene,” she said.

Albans’s body was found half-naked with hair extensions between her legs. A hair straightening iron was also found close to her genitalia. Human excrement was found on her feet and legs with some faecal matter on her face. There were Lay’s chips on her face and Rascals sweets on her body. A white T-shirt and a paper bearing the word “Cerote” were placed on her body.

Molefe said injuries on Alban’s legs were possibly the result of a struggle with her attacker. It was not clear whether she had been in an upright position or was on the floor when she died.

Booth argued that necessary tests Molefe had recommended be conducted, including DNA samples on the faecal matter to determine its origin, had not been done. He also said toxicology samples had not been taken.

Alban’s parents, Howdy Kabrins and Doris Weitz, together with their spouses, Linda Kabrins and Alexander Williams respectively, attended the proceedings and were emotional at the description of the crime.

Novella told his attorney he suffered stomach cramps and needed medical attention on Thursday, causing the matter to be postponed until Monday.

Novella has pleaded not guilty, arguing diminished responsibility due to drug intoxication.

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Weekend Argus