Novella’s iPhone data probed

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FA­TIMA SCHROEDER

IF THE mur­der of US mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive Gabriela Al­ban Kabrins was part of a cold-blooded plot, lo­cal po­lice will soon find out be­cause her iPhone and that of the man ac­cused of her mur­der have fi­nally been cracked.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors are piec­ing to­gether ev­ery bit of in­for­ma­tion they find on the cell­phones, in­clud­ing calls, text mes­sages, me­dia files, and so­cial me­dia and in­ter­net brows­ing his­to­ries.

Th­ese, it emerged in the Cape Town Mag­is­trate’s Court this week, were be­ing an­a­lysed to try to prove that Kabrins’s boyfriend, Diego Novella, who has been charged with her mur­der, planned the killing.

A full anal­y­sis is ex­pected to be made avail­able to the de­fence next month.

In the in­terim, Novella is pre­par­ing to ap­proach the Western Cape High Court to ap­peal against the Mag­is­trate’s Court’s re­fusal to re­lease him on bail, his at­tor­ney Wil­liam Booth con­firmed.

The ap­pli­ca­tion has not yet been filed.

The anal­y­sis of the iPhone data comes three months af­ter Valken­berg Psy­chi­atric Hospi­tal sub­mit­ted a re­port to the court in which a panel of ex­perts, who as­sessed Novella, in­di­cated that a plea of di­min­ished re­spon­si­bil­ity could be con­sid­ered due to his pro­longed drug abuse.

It re­vealed that Novella ex­pe­ri­enced al­leged hal­lu­ci­na­tions the night that Kabrins was killed.

Th­ese in­cluded his claims that he and Kabrins used drugs to­gether and that she looked like the an­tag­o­nist in The Ex­or­cist when he last saw her through a glass door.

Novella told the panel he re­called ar­gu­ing with Al­ban, but couldn’t re­mem­ber large chunks of that day.

How­ever, he told the ex­perts he thought he’d seen mu­si­cian and singer David Bowie and that he noted that two cats were sit­ting in the rain near the ve­hi­cle.

He felt this was sig­nif­i­cant but could not ex­plain why.

His sis­ter Ce­cilia also re­ceived a se­ries of text mes­sages from him in the early hours of that morn­ing, some of which seemed unusual – such as pic­tures of a me­te­orite and flow­ers in the hotel lobby, the re­port de­tailed.

While the panel found him fit to stand trial, their re­port in­di­cated the court could con­sider a plea of di­min­ished re­spon­si­bil­ity on the ba­sis of his pro­longed drug abuse.

Al­ban’s body was found on July 29, with fae­ces on her head and a curling iron be­side her.

Novella was re­port­edly semi- naked on Camps Bay beach when he was ar­rested.

Dur­ing his court ap­pear­ance, a tat­too of the num­ber 13 was clearly vis­i­ble on his neck.

While there have been sus­pi­cions the tat­too sug­gested Novella had links to the feared Mara Sal­va­trucha 13 gang, which has El Sal­vador roots, this was de­nied by Booth.

The case re­turns to the Mag­is­trate’s Court on July 20, when the State is ex­pected to show whether Novella will be charged with pre­med­i­tated mur­der.

fa­tima. schroeder@ inl. co. za

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