The Malta Independent 17 July 2019, Wednesday

Ghaxaq murder: witness hints at sexual relationship between brother and sister

Monday, 15 April 2019, 12:56 Last update: about 4 months ago

The compilation of evidence against a man accused of the murder of his mother and sister continued this morning before magistrate Joe Mifsud, as a family witness hinted at a sexual relationship between brother and sister.

Joseph Bonnici, 38. is accused of the double murder, having allegedly shot dead his mother and sister - Marija Lourdes Bonnici and Angele Bonnici - before taking a sledgehammer to their heads.

A police sergeant from the Criminal Investigation Department told the court that the bodies were found at around 3am and taken away in a hearse after crime scene investigations were carried out.


The daughter was found to have been shot twice in the head and the mother once.

One of the accused's paternal aunts took the witness stand.

In the morning, the accused's father had called her from prison telling her to go check at home as he was calling and nobody was answering, the aunt said. "I went and knocked and nobody answered and when he called me back I told him nobody answered and he hung up. He called again and asked me to try again."

The aunt said that the accused asked his aunt to accompany him inside the house to look for them. The father then called the accused and the accused said there was nothing.

He had asked his aunt to accompany him into the house to look for them. Then his father called the accused and he said there was nothing, the witness testified.

 "Joseph was a very good man...never had any arguments with him. He's very diligent and his mother used to say that he did everything for her at home."

Another paternal aunt told the court of her surprise at the news of the murder. "I know Joseph as a quiet boy loved by everyone," she said.

Asked about Joseph's relationship with his mother and sibling, the woman said that she had no idea there was any trouble.

A third witness, also a paternal aunt, took the stand.

In 2014 she had spoken to Angele who was singing her brother's praises at that time.

No mention of any sexual relationship was made, said the aunt. But in 2017 the victim was fighting with her brother because she had always given him what he wanted and he didn't, she said. The woman had then mentioned that he had abused her sexually, the aunt said.

The witness said she didn't believe her, as knowing her sex life in the preceding years, it was more likely that she had done something to him, she said. "I would have believed it had it been the other way around." At this point the witness asked that everyone be sent out of the courtroom because of personal details in her testimony. The magistrate obliged.

When the public was allowed back in, the woman ended her testimony, saying that Joseph was a kind and helpful man. His mother had only expressed fear at the prospect of the father leaving prison, she added.

The case will continue tomorrow.

Lawyer Franco Debono is defending the accused. Inspector John Spiteri is prosecuting.


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