Al­leged ho­tel killer wants bet­ter prison

CityPress - - News - – Staff re­porter

Why do the author­i­ties bend over back­wards when rich, for­eign mur­der sus­pects com­plain about the crowded and dirty con­di­tions in lo­cal jails?

This is the ques­tion be­ing asked af­ter the lawyer of a sus­pect from Gu­atemala was able to per­suade a Cape Town mag­is­trate to have his client trans­ferred from a crowded cell to the hos­pi­tal sec­tion of Pollsmoor Prison. Wil­liam Booth, the lawyer for Diego Novella (41), told Mag­is­trate Grant En­gel he was con­cerned that his client had to share “ter­ri­ble” toi­let fa­cil­i­ties in a sin­gle cell with 40 oth­ers.

Novella also had to share his bed. This past week, his clothes were stolen and he was blackmailed for money.

Novella is ac­cused of mur­der­ing US busi­ness­woman Gabriela Kabrins (39) in the Camps Bay Re­treat bou­tique ho­tel. Her fully clothed body was found in her ho­tel room last Wed­nes­day. Her face had been defe­cated on and a strange ob­ject, pos­si­bly an elec­tri­cal hair iron, was found near her body. She was ap­par­ently stran­gled or suf­fo­cated, but it is not clear if she was raped.

Novella was also charged with pos­ses­sion of drugs af­ter about 1kg of co­caine was found in the room.

Ac­cord­ing to the Daily Mail, Novella is a “rake” and the “black sheep” of the su­per­rich Dougherty Novella fam­ily of Gu­atemala. Kabrins was the daugh­ter of Doris Weitz, a Span­ish in­ter­preter who worked in the OJ Simp­son mur­der trial. Weitz was in court last Tues­day. Novella will ap­pear on Fri­day again, when a date for a bail ap­pli­ca­tion will be de­ter­mined.

Booth yesterday told Rap­port, City Press’ sis­ter pa­per, that his ap­pli­ca­tion for bet­ter con­di­tions for his client had noth­ing to do with the fact that his client was a for­eigner or had a lot of money.

He said his ar­gu­ments ap­plied to all await­ing-trial pris­on­ers and or­di­nary pris­on­ers, es­pe­cially those who strug­gled to pay their le­gal fees. This also ap­plied to guards who had to work in squalid con­di­tions.

“The prison author­i­ties must im­prove con­di­tions in pris­ons quickly and dras­ti­cally. Not much is be­ing done in this re­gard,” he said.

Gabriela Kabrins

Diego Novella

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