Testifying in mitigation of his sentence on Wednesday in the High Court in Pretoria, convicted rapist Nicholas Ninow said his rape of a seven-year-old girl in a toilet at the Dros restaurant in Silverton, Pretoria in November last year “wasn’t personal”.
“I wasn’t angry at her, nothing was aimed at her,” he said, in answer to a question from state advocate Dorah Ngobeni.
This after Ninow claimed the three day drug binge he had been on prior to the incident made him “angry and full of hatred”. He claimed he acted on impulse alone and that he was a “different person” when he was high, and would not have committed such an “evil act” if sober.
Ninow was reportedly on a combination of crystal meth and khat.
Ninow read a poem and a letter to the victim’s family earlier during proceedings, a move Ngobeni dismissed as an attempt to get a more lenient sentence.
The rapist denied this, and said he felt it was his duty to apologise.
While Ngobeni said he lacked remorse for his crime, because if he was truly remorseful he would be truthful about what happened, Ninow said he was full of self-loathing due to his crimes.
“People don’t need to hate me, I do enough of that for all of us,” he said.
Ngobeni told Ninow that the victim still saw him in her nightmares regularly and that an image of him wearing a bloodied T-shirt was etched in her brain.
The prosecutor told Ninow his evidence contradicted that of a witness, who said he seemed to be in control and present following the act. She questioned why he pled guilty if he claimed to not have been in control of his actions.
Ninow said he did so because he wanted to “take responsibility for his actions” like his grandmother had taught him to do, and added that he hoped to be a productive member of society one day.
Ngobeni countered that he only pled guilty because he had no choice as he was caught in the middle of the act, adding that his version of events – in which he said he acted impulsively rather than in a premeditated fashion – was not accurate.
Ninow had earlier described being abused as a child, and Ngobeni questioned why he would then do so to another child “in a public space”. He had no answer to this, saying only that he didn’t know why he had committed the act.
Ngobeni questioned why he forced himself on a child when he had never done so to his ex-fiance or grandmother, to which the rapist answered that he had acted “in the spur of the moment” for reasons unknown to him.
The prosecutor also questioned how Ninow could be attracted to the girl, who she said weighed only 21kg and was only “three rulers” high and skinny. He answered that he was not attracted to her.
Ngobeni also mentioned that his ex-fiance had indicated that he became “more sexual” when on drugs, and put forward the theory that Ninow had raped the girl because he knew he wasn’t able to seduce a woman at the restaurant he had made sexual comments about earlier in the day, according to a witness’s testimony during the initial trial.
The prosecutor questioned Ninow on whether the attack was planned. He denied that it was, or that he’d followed the child around prior to the act as alleged by the prosecution.
While Ninow said he hated himself, he also said he believed he could be an “amazing person” if given a second chance, in response to Ngobeni saying he was a danger to society.
“If I had a second chance in life, I could be one amazing person, and I can prove to this world, just how much I can make, actually, I’ve been through a lot in my life, and… if I have a chance I can be something better, I can be … a valuable member of society, I believe that. So no, I don’t feel like I’m a danger to the public now,” he said.