'I lied': murder accused Novella stuns court

Outburst leaves lawyer 'gobsmacked', delivers yet another blow to the family of murdered Gabriella Alban

12 June 2018 - 19:01
BIZARRE BEHAVIOUR: Murder-accused Guatemalan Diego Novella during his trail in the Western Cape High Court earlier this year.
BIZARRE BEHAVIOUR: Murder-accused Guatemalan Diego Novella during his trail in the Western Cape High Court earlier this year.
Image: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

It has been a long and hard journey for the family of Gabriella Alban, the 39-year-old executive who was in 2015 brutally murdered in a Camps Bay hotel room, where her body was found with faeces and chips on her face and a note on paper in lipstick saying “cerote” (meaning piece of shit in Spanish).

Beside her body lay a curling iron with which she had been sexually assaulted.

The man accused of the heinous crimes, her boyfriend Diego Novella, was placed on suicide watch on Monday after he arrived in court and blurted out: “I lied in my testimony”, much to the surprise of his counsel, advocate William Booth.

The balding Novella, in a leather jacket with his “good luck charm” (a badly sketched tattoo on his neck) revealed, stared down with his empty ink-black eyes while Judge Vincent Saldanha listened with incredulity to the detail-free confession of having lied under oath.

Novella’s admission was met with shock from Booth, who later said it left him “completely, utterly gobsmacked”.

Saldanha told Novella to not say another word and quickly adjourned the court to allow Booth and Novella to consult.

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