The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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Għargħur double murder: Insanity trial for man who stabbed mother, aunt

Wednesday, 3 May 2023, 08:53 Last update: about 2 years ago

Jurors have begun hearing evidence in an insanity trial for a man who fatally stabbed his mother and aunt after suspecting them of having spiked his coffee.

Kevin Micallef, 47, is indicted for the wilful homicide of his mother and aunt in their Gharghur home in July 2018.

Micallef allegedly stabbed his relatives in the washroom before calling the emergency number 112 and confessing to the crime. During the insanity trial, a recording of Micallef's call to the police was played in court. With her last breaths, Micallef's dying mother had also reportedly told a court-appointed medico-legal expert that they had been stabbed by her son.

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The lead investigator, Inspector Kurt Zahra, testified this morning as the insanity trial, known as a “ġurin” in Maltese, began before madam justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera earlier today. The homicide inspector recounted how he had arrived at the crime scene soon after receiving the call, finding it to have already been preserved by the duty magistrate, who had arrived before him.

The suspect had opened the door for police officers. The washroom where the murders occurred was at the back of the property, and Zahra had found the aunt lying face up with her arms spread out on the floor in a pool of blood. A blood-smeared knife was found nearby on a white table with a potted plant placed on top of it. Micallef was examined on-site for any injuries, with the doctor advising Zahra to have the man escorted to Mount Carmel Hospital.

Two days later, Micallef was examined and declared fit for interrogation by the psychiatrist treating him. He was escorted to police headquarters, where he was read his rights, and refused legal assistance. Micallef released an audio-visual statement describing the strained relationship he had with his mother and aunt during his audio-visual statement which was played in court.

Micallef told the police that his aunt would make him a strong cup of coffee every morning, which he suspected of being spiked with something. He had overheard his aunt and mother talking in the washroom, with his aunt allegedly saying, "Do you think he realized? What have we done!"

Interpreting the words as a threat, Micallef picked up a long knife from the kitchen drawer and went up to the washroom, where he stabbed his aunt, before turning to his crying mother and stabbing her too.

Micallef had explained during the interrogation that his relationship with his mother was “sometimes good and sometimes bad”, and she would always interfere whenever he tried to have a relationship with a woman. He stated that his mother wanted him to stay at home. There were no previous physical clashes between Micallef and his mother and aunt, who had been living in the family home for ten years, he said.

The trial continues tomorrow, with medical and psychiatric professionals expected to testify. Lawyer Francois Dalli is Micallef’s defence counsel.

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