‘My lovely lady is dead’: How murder accused Diego Novella broke the news to hotel staff


‘My lovely lady is dead’: How murder accused Diego Novella broke the news to hotel staff

Justin Deffenbacher | 2017-06-01 13:18:00.0

Murder accused Diego Novella in Cape Town Magistrates’ Court in May 2016.

Image by: Ruvan Boshoff/Sunday Times

Hotel receptionist Tarryn Wasmüth walked out of her office to a “shocking” sight on July 29‚ 2015.

Guatemalan murder accused Diego Novella was directly across from the reception desk claiming his “lovely lady was dead”‚ Wasmüth told the High Court in Cape Town on Thursday.

A frightened co-worker asked who Novella was referring to‚ but Novella only repeated the phrase “my lovely lady”.

Wasmüth said she and Novella‚ who denies murdering his girlfriend Gabriela Albans‚ had several “strange” interactions the day of the killing.

Wasmüth said she had just started her shift at the Camps Bay Retreat Hotel when she received two phone calls from Novella. During both‚ he said he was unwell and needed to cancel his tennis appointment and Alban’s spa treatment.

Taking her morning tea break‚ Wasmüth said she saw Novella pacing frantically and smoking outside the hotel dressed in shorts‚ a T-shirt‚ and slippers — an “unusual” outfit for mid-winter. Wasmüth told Judge Vincent Saldanha she was confused by Novella’s behaviour.

That afternoon‚ hotel staff found Alban’s body and Wasmüth was tasked with relocating all the other guests.

Defence attorney William Booth attacked Wasmüth‚ asking why she had not mentioned Novella’s “unusual” garb and pacing to investigating officers.

Dressed in a grey sweat suit and leather jacket‚ a departure from the suit and scarf he has worn for the rest of his trial‚ Novella listened intently to Wasmüth’s testimony.

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