MOM, PLEASE HELP ME…

Child tes­ti­fies via CCTV to a cleared court­room, says Ni­now in­ten­tion­ally fol­lowed her to women’s bath­room

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE - GOITSEMANG TLHABYE [email protected]

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.

African News Agency (ANA)

NICHOLAS NI­NOW in the dock. Tho­bile Mathonsi

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