Diego Novella gets 20-year sentence for murdering girlfriend

06 September 2018 - 12:39 By Aron Hyman And Tanya Farber
Diego Novella awaits sentencing in the high court in Cape Town on September 6, 2018, for the 2015 murder of his girlfriend, Gabriela Kabrins Alban.
Diego Novella awaits sentencing in the high court in Cape Town on September 6, 2018, for the 2015 murder of his girlfriend, Gabriela Kabrins Alban.
Image: Esa Alexander

Diego Novella was jailed for 20 years on Thursday for murdering his girlfriend in Cape Town in 2015.

Judge Vincent Saldanha told the Guatemalan the sentence took into account the gravity of his crime but also a measure of mercy.

Last month‚ Novella was found guilty of murdering Gabriela Kabrins Alban‚ a 39-year-old executive from New York who had come to South Africa to visit him.

Novella is the son of a Guatemalan multi-millionaire family and as a trust fund kid‚ has never worked — instead living a life of drugs‚ parties and endless travel.

Shortly after the two met in Cape Town‚ Alban was found murdered in the room they shared at a boutique hotel in Camps Bay. Alban had faeces and chips on her face‚ and a note on paper in lipstick saying “cerote” (Spanish for “piece of s**t”).

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

Last month‚ Alban’s mother Doris Weitz told Saldanha in aggravation of sentence: “Diego Novella has given me a life sentence without parole. There will be no recovery from this.

“He has given Gabi’s father‚ Howdy‚ a life sentence without parole. All I can say is I hope he will not be outside of prison while I am still alive.”

She said the way he had butchered her daughter “reflected extraordinary rage”‚ and as a mother she now lives with post-traumatic stress disorder‚ sees a psychiatrist weekly‚ takes medication and cries herself to sleep.

Gabriela Kabrins Alban was murdered in a lavish Camps Bay hotel in Cape Town in 2015. Three years later, Alban’s boyfriend, Guatemalan national Diego Novella, was found guilty of her murder by Judge Vincent Saldanha in the Cape Town High Court. Alban’s father, Howdy Kabrins, took TimesLIVE through the final moments before her death and the effect her murder has had on their family’s life.

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