The day the love of his life was found dead‚ murder accused Diego Novella was “emotionless”.
Receptionist Kerri Damant had just started her shift on July 29‚ when she first saw Novella. A short conversation ensued during which Damant asked about his day. “Good so far‚’’ she claimed he said.
Damant was testifying in the High Court in Cape Town where Novella is on trial for the murder Gabi Alban.
Damant’s next question received a shocking reply: “How is your lovely lady today?”
Novella responded‚ “She is dead‚” repeating it several times because Damant was unsure of what she had heard.
But what shocked Damant most was Novella’s demeanour.
“He seemed emotionless‚ there was no expression on his face. His answer was without blinking; he didn’t hesitate to answer‚” Damant said.
Unable to process what she was hearing‚ Damant went to fetch Novella some water.
When she returned she was confronted with another statement.
“He asked if I could do him a favour: ‘I said yes‚ sure.’ He then attempted to hand me a business card and asked if I could call a Dr Walker‚” Damant said.
But before she could make that call‚ a shrill scream caused Damant to flee the lobby area. The scream had come from outside‚ near the room where Alban was found dead.
Prior to that conversation‚ Damant said she had been confused by Novella’s behaviour. The night before when she delivered hot water bottles to his room‚ Novella quickly stepped outside.
After shutting the door behind him‚ Novella stepped into Damant’s “personal bubble” several times causing her to back away from the room.
Prosecutor Monet Julius asked Damant if she thought Novella was under the influence of alcohol or drugs‚ but Damant said she was unable to say.