The Malta Independent 26 September 2018, Wednesday

‘I should have died, not him’ – man who killed Dutchman tells court

Thursday, 12 July 2018, 13:57 Last update: about 4 months ago

“I hate myself because he died because of me. I can’t imagine what his family must be going through… I would like to give his family compensation, it is the least I can do. Even if I have to work for the rest of my life. He shouldn’t have died, I should have died,” the driver whose car went off the road and hit eight pedestrians, killing one, told a court today.

Michael Caruana Turner, 20, has been placed under house arrest after he was arraigned this morning.

Inspector Trevor Micallef arraigned fitness coach Michael Caruana Turner, 20, from Birkirkara on charges that included negligently causing the death of 19-year-old Tim Scholten, slightly injuring five other people, driving recklessly and driving drunk. Lawyer Joe Giglio entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the accused.

After the accident, Caruana Turner was given police bail to see how the injured people recovered, the inspector told the court. “One of them died and so we had to add the charge of involuntary homicide.”

The accused was in Paceville and heading to Balluta to visit his grandmother that night. He was speeding, said the inspector and mounted the pavement, hitting eight people.

“He was drunk and driving fast. The pavement was high - you had to be going really fast to mount it.”

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Michael Caruana Turner

The police said the accident, which took place at around 4.50am, happened when the 20-year-old lost control of the Subaru Impreza he was driving and injured a number of pedestrians who had been walking on the St Julian's promenade.

Four Dutch men aged between 19 and 25, two Croatian women aged 21 and 23 respectively and two 25-year-old Englishmen were taken to Mater Dei Hospital for medical care after the accident.

“I don’t think his place is in prison,” said the inspector, candidly.

Laywer Joe Giglio concurred, saying that incident was “tragic for everyone.”

On bail, the lawyer said there was no risk of the accused absconding as the man had strong family ties to the island. There cannot be any tampering with evidence as all the witnesses were heard by an expert in the inquiry. The accused has a clean criminal record, said the lawyer.

Giglio read from the man’s statement. “ ‘When I was going home I felt tired but felt I could drive. It was only a two-minute drive.’


Victim Tim Sholten

“He was asked about the victim who died. Did he have anything to say about this? He said ‘I hate myself because he died because of me. I can’t imagine what his family must be going through…I would like to give his family compensation, it is the least I can do. Even if I have to work for the rest of my life. He shouldn’t have died, I should have died.’ He must carry it for the rest of his life, your honour.”

He concurred that prison is not a good option for the man.

The incident was caused by the fact that the accused was out at 4am and was tired, said the lawyer. “I suggest that he be placed under a curfew and prevented from driving.”

The accused shed tears of anguish as his lawyer spoke.

“I cannot get it off my conscience, I cannot live with the fact that this happened…he looked like a good kid. I am destroyed,” read the lawyer.

“Let me make myself clear,” said the magistrate. “4 am is not a time for young people to be outside… you will consume more alcohol. Then we end up in situations with alcohol impeding our brain… it will make you do things you wouldn’t normally do. Secondly, speed kills. The speed limit is 80km/hr…better to drive slowly than have an accident.”

“I have to pass on a message that there is laxity in society and this must end once and for all. Until we introduce discipline people will continue to die.”

Caruana Turner was placed under house arrest, ordered to sign a bail book 3 times a week and deposit €2,000, as well as provide a personal guarantee of €10,000.

He was also banned from driving until the case was decided. “Walk to the police station. It will do you good,” quipped the court.

 

 

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