The Malta Independent 9 December 2023, Saturday
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Mosta ‘cat killer’ challenges seven-year detention inside mental health facility

Tuesday, 10 August 2021, 13:34 Last update: about 3 years ago

Nicholas Grech, the man believed to be responsible for the Mosta cat killings but acquitted of all charges due to insanity, is challenging his seven-year detention inside the Mt Carmel mental health facility.

Grech, now aged 44, was in 2014 sentenced to be kept at Mount Carmel Hospital for as long as is necessary after court-appointed psychiatrists had told the courts he had no criminal intent during a four-year stint of mock crucifixions of cats and dogs.


Grech was said to have been suffering from impaired judgement due to his mental condition, and was declared insane and therefore not criminally liable for his actions.

Grech’s lawyer Rachel Tua said her client has never posed a danger to society, and that his actions were down to having stopped his medication, which led him to suffer from schizophrenia.

He had since been held in custody at Mount Carmel Hospital without any means of communication, the lawyer said.

“This arrest is illegal, and with or without cure, Grech appears to have recovered,” Tua said, presenting documentation from medical professionals saying Grech cannot be incarcerated without any prospect of being freed.

Tua is asking the courts to hear witnesses previously involved in Grech’s psychiatric assessment to determine whether there are still grounds for his continued detention.

Habeas corpus is a legal remedy whereby a person claiming unlawful detention or imprisonment is brought before a court to have the legality of the arrest examined. Such cases are always regarded as urgent.

Grech, an engineer of Mosta, had been charged with animal cruelty, violation of burial grounds, trespassing on religious grounds, forcing entry into the Mosta parish church and the Speranza chapel, and vilifying the Catholic religion. The hangings and crucifixions of dog and cat carcasses around Mosta dated back to 16 October 2011, with the last case taking place on 3 February 2014. In the last incident, a dog and cat were found hung upside down at the side and on the front of the Mosta Church.

Grech would find dead animals to hang, accused claiming that it was his way of “passing on a message against animal cruelty”.

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