Guatemalan murder accused, Diego Novella. FILE PHOTO: Courtney Africa/ANA

Cape Town - Guatemalan murder accused Diego Novella is expected to appear in the Western Cape High Court for judgment in his case on Thursday. 

Novella is accused of murdering his American marketing executive girlfriend Gabriela Kabrins Alban, after her body was discovered in the room she was sharing with Novella at an upmarket boutique hotel in Camps Bay on July 29, 2015. She had been strangled and had suffered blunt force trauma. 

Alban's face was covered with chips and faeces and a note had been left on her body with the Spanish word “cerote” scrawled on it, which means piece of shit. 

Earlier in the trial, a fingerprint expert testified that Novella’s fingerprint was found on the note. Novella was arrested on the same day, a few hours after hotel staff found Alban’s body.

He has pleaded not guilty and in his plea statement, Novella, who is from a prominent and wealthy family in Guatemala, claimed he had been in an abnormal mental state after having taken hallucinogenic substances.

On June 19, Western Cape High Court Judge Vincent Saldanha lost his patience and demanded progress in Novella's trial. In an open spat with Novella's defence lawyer, William Booth, the visibly frustrated judge told him he was repeating himself and that "even in finality you can't get it right". 

Booth had been finishing his questioning of private psychiatrist Dr Konrad Czech.

But, Booth hit back: "I take exception to some of the personal comments you have made throughout the trial" and said he planned to take the issue further.

Earlier in June, Novella stood up and told the court he had lied during testimony which lead to an urgency to have his mental state assessed and to determine whether he is fit to stand trial at present.

African News Agency (ANA)