Gabriela Alban’s father Howdy takes the stand and refuses to stop speaking
Justin Deffenbacher | 2017-05-18 14:42:55.0
Family members of the slain US businesswoman Gaby Alban leave the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court after the first appearance of her alleged murderer Diego Dougherty Novella in 2015. Howdy Kabrins‚ Alban’s father‚ delivered his final statement on Thursday morning. File photo.
Image by: Esa Alexander
Howdy Kabrins‚ the father of Gabriela Alban‚ stood tall in the witness box.
Despite multiple attempts by Judge Vincent Saldanha to allow the court to recess‚ Kabrins refused to step down‚ continuing his testimony.
Multiple times‚ gripping the side of the box as he spoke‚ Kabrins recounted his daughter’s relationship with murder accused Diego Novella as well as learning of her death in 2015.
Kabrins looked directly at Novella to deliver his final statement of the morning’s proceedings. He banged his fist against the witness box‚ and in a raised yet shaky voice described his emotions after learning of what had happened to his child.
“From seeing her‚ From being told by the police what they could tell me‚ by meeting with the forensic pathologist‚ knowing they had to keep part of her body here and that all of her body couldn’t go back for her burial‚ from all of the information she was brutally‚ brutally murdered‚ horrifically‚ almost satanically‚” he pressed.
After a momentary pause during which he closed his eyes and clutched the witness box‚ he went on to reveal a letter found on Alban’s body at the time of her death.
As the letter had not previously been mentioned‚ leading prosecutor Monare Julius attempted to interrupt Kabrins. Saldanha quickly waived off the interruption allowing Kabrins to finish.
“What I can’t process is the letter put on her body‚ stating an ugly message of hate. I have been traumatised. My only child is dead‚ I will not have any grandchildren‚ I will not have some one to say kaddish (a Jewish prayer said for the dead) for me when I die‚ my heart is broken. I will do everything I can to get justice. I will always be her dad and she will always be my baby‚” Kabrins said.
Novella stared straight ahead‚ only taking short glances at Kabrins‚ and as many in the courtroom were moved to tears he kept a straight face.
Kabrins spent a majority of his testimony describing the pattern of “aggressive behaviour” by Novella that first began with his trip to Guatemala in 2014. He accompanied his daughter to her home with Novella in Guatemala‚ after she experienced severe symptoms from her Lyme disease.
“Her physical condition made it difficult and she required her daddy’s assistance‚” Kabrins said.
While only spending three days with his daughter’s new boyfriend‚ Kabrins said Novella’s behaviour was rude and off-putting from the start.
From their first encounter‚ Kabrins said he was concerned by the large tattoo across Novella’s neck‚ but shook it off.
As his trip progressed Kabrins said he noticed Novella being distant‚ refusing to walk with the father-daughter duo during their day trips‚ and retreating to his home office. When he accessed the office computer Kabrins said he was greeted by “pornographic images”. Marijuana was regularly smoked by Novella during his visit‚ and Kabrins said he was propositioned.
Kabrins left for Los Angeles‚ after being reassured by his daughter. Alban only returned to the United States one final time before travelling to South Africa‚ a trip that worried Kabrins.
“She said she was frightened – the accused kept saying she must come to meet him‚” Kabrins said.
The next time he would see his daughter would be in the morgue of the Camps Bay police station. Kabrins’ testimony will continue after the morning recess.
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE