Nicholas Ninow has been found guilty nearly a year after the horrific rape of a seven-year-old at a popular family restaurant in Silverton, Pretoria. Known as the ‘Dros Rapist’, Ninow will now be sent to prison for the crime that shocked South Africa.
In addition to being found guilty of two counts of sexual assault, Ninow was also found guilty of possessing drugs and defeating the ends of justice. He was, however, declared innocent of a fourth charge of assault for allegedly hitting patrons with a belt buckle on the afternoon of the rape.
Exactly a week ago, Ninow admitted to raping the little girl who is now eight-years-old, and claimed that she had found him in the bathroom. He denied that the crime was premeditated.
During the trial, which took four days to complete, the State called forth six witnesses in total, including a member of staff at the Silverton Dros and the little girl’s mother. The Dros employee alleged that Ninow had requested to be moved closer to the kiddies corner, where the little girl was playing before she went to use the bathroom.
Last week, the little girl was cross-examined in private for roughly an hour on what she could recall about that dreadful afternoon. Her testimony has not been shared with media or the public, and the decision was made by the judge after the State applied for her testimonial not be shown to an audience.
Her mother also took to the stand, recalling every detail about how she discovered her daughter in Dros’ ladies restroom. The little girl was locked in one of the three cubicles with Ninow. The little girl wore a pair of maroon leggings, a blue tutu with polka dots, a blue t-shirt and a pair of maroon sneakers.
Her mother had signed her into the kiddies corner at the restaurant, and could not find her when she went to check on her. The child-minder said that the little girl was in the bathroom, but was not there when her mother searched and called out for her. Her mother returned to the bathroom a second time with the child-minder in tow, and this was when she heard her daughter call for help.
Ninow reportedly shouted “You are disturbing me!” as the mother and child-minder attempted to push the cubicle door open, and the woman recalls finding her daughter in only the tutu and t-shirt.
“I handed my child to a lady and went to the men’s toilet and I [found] him cleaning himself with the child’s clothes – he was cleaning his penis with the child’s panty,” she said. “There is no parent that should see what I saw. Emotionally, I am not okay with what I witnessed.”
She also recalled seeing Ninow flush her daughter’s underwear down the toilet.
Court will resume on October 16 as both sides will present their cases on how long Ninow will be sentenced for. It is alleged that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is gunning for a life sentence.