The Malta Independent 15 August 2022, Monday

Police ‘not ruling out’ charging former Prime Minister’s daughter, her son and Romanian man

Sunday, 30 October 2016, 11:30 Last update: about 7 years ago

Monday night’s triple stabbing incident in Tarxien that involved Yana Mintoff, the daughter of former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, her son Daniel and a Romanian national remains shrouded in mystery, with the police offering very little information and with no charges having been pressed five days after the altercation.

The violent incident that took place on Monday night left all three individuals injured with stab wounds and the Romanian national, purportedly Ms Mintoff’s partner, hospitalised and in intensive care.

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Mater Dei Hospital sources speaking with this newspaper have confirmed that the Romanian, identified by the press as 39-year-old Gheorghe Popa, is still in Mater Dei’s Intensive Care Unit, where he is reportedly in stable condition and recovering from a stab wound to the stomach.

Mr Popa is under 24-hour police surveillance. But the same cannot be said of Ms Mintoff and her son, who according to our sources were questioned only once about the incident and are free to roam around and even leave the country if they wish to do so.

Ms Mintoff and her son suffered slight injuries, according to the single statement on the incident released by the police so far. They in fact left the hospital and have not sought medical care after the incident, which has been described in the media as a matter of domestic violence.

Contacted by this newspaper on Thursday, the police confirmed that the case is still under investigation. Further queries on the case sent to the police yesterday remained unanswered as of yesterday evening.

But sources within the police force, speaking to this newspaper anonymously, were concerned that the secrecy in which this case has been shrouded by the investigators working on the case has raised eyebrows within the police force. Besides being the daughter of former Prime Minister and Malta Labour Party leader Dom Mintoff, Yana Mintoff is also a consultant to the government and contested the election on the Labour Party ticket. If the police decide to press charges, her son, her Romanian partner or she could face serious criminal charges.

A second police source speaking with this newspaper on condition of anonymity assured that no one involved in the case will be given any preferential treatment in any way whatsoever over considerations of the people involved in the altercation.

“The dark days of the 1980s, when frame-ups and cover-ups inside the police depot were the order of the day, are long gone,” said the source, a person who today has an important role in the force.

But the latest attempt at a cover-up does not go back as far as the 1980s. The case of former Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia’s former chauffeur Paul Sheehan — who gave chase to and fired a gun at a car that damaged the ministerial car's side mirror — would have gone under the radar had the independent media not revealed the facts of the incident. That had spelt serious trouble for Manuel Mallia, who was made to resign from his ministerial post, and former Police Commissioner Ray Zammit, who resigned soon after.

In a case that has set tongues wagging across the country, 65-year-old Yana Mintoff and her 32-year-old son Daniel Mainwaring suffered stab wounds respectively to the chest and thigh, for which they were treated at the nearby Paola health centre soon after the incident. Both were taken to Mater Dei Hospital for further treatment and were discharged soon afterward.

The Romanian, reportedly Ms Mintoff’s partner, was far more seriously injured and was certified as having been grievously injured in the altercation, the reasons for which remain unknown.

In their statement the next morning, the police said that an argument broke out on Monday night between Ms Mintoff and 39-year-old Mr Popa, who lives at the same residence.

In the statement, the police said that Mr Popa had attacked Ms Mintoff with a knife, which prompted her son to intervene. Both men were wounded in the ensuing scuffle, with Mr Mainwaring having been stabbed in the thigh.  Mr Popa is believed to have been stabbed in the stomach.

Despite the seriousness of his injury, the police said that when they went to the residence to investigate they found a fire had been started inside Ms Mintoff’s residence, purportedly by Mr Popa, and the Civil Protection Department was called in to extinguish the blaze.

Mr Popa was later found hiding in a tree in the adjacent Joanne Gardens – named after Dom Mintoff’s two daughters Yana – real name Joan – and Anne.  He was taken down from his perch with the help of a cherry-picker and was found covered in blood and grievously wounded.

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