Nicholas Ninow pleads guilty to rape in a restaurant toilet, but trial to go ahead
This was the account of a waitress who served Ninow on September 22 last year. She took the stand yesterday in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on the opening day of his rape trial.
According to the waitress, Ninow came into the restaurant and indicated that he was there to meet a female companion. He then ordered a number of drinks, including beer, tequila and Jagermeister shots, and brandy, throughout the time he spent there.
At one point the waitress said was on her way to the bathroom when she ran into the mother of the girl who asked her if she had seen her little girl anywhere.
When she got to the bathroom, she said she tried to enter the toilet cubicle but someone on the inside pushed the door back. A few moments later, she said, the child minder and two waiters came into the bathroom asking about the child’s whereabouts. “I told them I had not seen the child, but there was someone else in the bathroom. The restaurant's child minder knocked on the door and there was no response, so she tried to push the door.
“As she struggled, the other two waiters joined in and that’s when the mother arrived, shouting for whoever was inside to open the door as we were looking for her child. Eventually I also joined in to try to help open the door and we only managed to get the door open slightly.”
The open door revealed the sight of Ninow with his shirt off, attempting to hit the staff and mother with his belt.
The waitress said it was only then that they heard the child screaming and crying for her mother.
In pleading guilty as the trial started, Ninow conceded to the court that he knew what he was doing was wrong when he forced his penis into the mouth of the 7-year-old and his fingers into her vagina. The plea was read to the court.
Ninow admitted that he had no justification for the rape, possession of illegal substances and defeating the ends of justice, hence his guilty plea. He did, however, plead not guilty to assaulting the mother of the girl and Dros employees at the scene.
In giving his account of the day in question, Ninow alleged he had been taking excessive amounts of the drug CAT.
He then said that when he felt unwell while at the restaurant, he decided to use more drugs in the bathroom as he was worried the manager would disturb him.
He said he then decided to use the women's bathroom instead of the men’s. Inside he got undressed to give the impression he was using the toilet.
He said he started “burning up” while inside the bathroom and took off his shirt. The little girl, according to Ninow, walked into the stall and indicated she wanted to use the bathroom, whereupon he impulsively grabbed her.
He said he took off her pants and forced his penis into her mouth and his fingers into her vagina. “I knew what I was doing was wrong. I knew she was a minor and could not give consent, and I had no justification for my actions. The mother and others barged in shortly after and I attempted to run off.
“As I was trying to get away I realised I still had the little girl’s panties with me and then attempted to flush it to get rid of anything that would implicate me.”
State prosecutor Dorah Ngobeni said that while she accepted the guilty plea on three counts, the State still intended to proceed with the trial.
The second State witness was a customer Ninow allegedly said was his uncle on the day. On taking the stand, the man denied knowing Ninow and said the latter had approached him in the parking lot asking to speak to him.
He said he told Ninow to follow him to the Dros restaurant When he got to the bar, he bought him a beer. The man said he asked the manager to join him and hear what Ninow had to say. “He told me he was a millionaire as his mother and father had died. But there was something not right with him.”
Ninow appeared distraught earlier during proceedings and was crying when his version was given. But he seemed to be more relaxed and sniggered as the man gave his testimony.
The trial proceeds today.