MOM, PLEASE HELP ME…
Child testifies via CCTV to a cleared courtroom, says Ninow intentionally followed her to women’s bathroom
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it believed it had advanced its efforts to prove that Nicholas Ninow’s intention to rape the then 7-year-old girl at Dros restaurant in Silverton was premeditated.
Both the mother and child testified with their identities concealed in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, yesterday. The child testified first on a CCTV monitor in a cleared courtroom, while the mother gave her testimony in another room; only her voice could be heard.
NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said afterwards the child gave the court a different version from what the self-confessed rapist said in his plea explanation. “From the child’s testimony, the accused followed her to the toilet.”
Mjonondwane said they had managed to prove that by following the child, Ninow had an intention to harm the child.
According to Ninow, 21, he grabbed the girl after she walked in on him as he was hiding in the women’s bathroom to use drugs.
Earlier, the mother told the court she was assisted to forcibly push the door open to save the child from Ninow who did not want to open the door.
The mother said her child cried out for help when she called out her name while she was looking for her, saying: “Mom, please help me”.
She said she and other restaurant employees struggled to open the bathroom stall Ninow had locked her in. “And as we pushed harder, the person inside said ‘What do you want? You are disturbing me.”
She said that when they eventually managed to get the door open she grabbed her child and took her out of the bathroom immediately.
However, she said it was the image of Ninow running out of the bathroom toilet naked and into the men’s bathroom that shocked her.
She said that in trying to find out more, she gave her daughter to another woman and went back to see Ninow. “When I arrived in the men’s toilet, I found him wiping his private parts with my daughter’s tights and underwear.
“Afterwards, I asked him why he was flushing my daughter’s clothing, but he didn’t respond.”
Returning to her daughter’s side, the mother told the court she noticed there was blood on her daughter’s blue tutu skirt. She checked immediately as feared the worst.
She explained that she was still traumatised by the events of the fateful day. “I’m not okay with what I witnessed… I don’t think I’ll ever be okay… I’ll continue going to counselling, together with the child,” she said in between sobs.
On Monday, Ninow’s legal representative Herman Alberts read Ninow’s statement to the court where he admitted guilt on three of the four charges. He pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, possession of illegal substances and defeating the ends of justice, but not guilty to assault.
Mjonondwane, who commended the victim for her bravery in giving her account of what transpired, said they were pleased the girl was able to dispel the version Ninow had given to the court about her having found him in the toilet using drugs.
“The girl was able to inform the court that unlike Ninow claimed, he had in fact followed her to the toilet. So he went there with the intention to harm the child.”
Members of the public and media were barred from being present during the girl’s testimony, as presiding Judge Papi Mosopa indicated that he had taken into consideration the child was still a minor.
The images, names and other details of her statement were also not to be published, Judge Mosopa ordered.
Following an adjournment Judge Mosopa called in the investigating officer who took down the child minder’s statement, which Ninow’s legal defence was questioning.
However, they (Ninow’s defence) abandoned the query and finally dismissed the child minder.
The matter will proceed today with the court hearing the closing arguments, and a possible judgment by the judge.
NICHOLAS NINOW in the dock. Thobile Mathonsi