The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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Pelin Kaya murder: 37-year prison sentence requested for Jeremie Camilleri

Tuesday, 13 February 2024, 11:41 Last update: about 18 days ago

Jeremie Camilleri will be sentenced next month for the murder of Pelin Kaya after he pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal which would involve a 37-year prison sentence.

The Criminal Court, presided by Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera, heard brief submissions on punishment for the Toulouse-born accused in a short hearing on Tuesday morning, before adjourning the case for sentencing.

Camilleri stood in the dock with a sullen expression, as the judge heard the submissions.

Lawyer Alfred Abela, for the defence, told the court that he had nothing to add to the agreement, which he said, had been reached after months of negotiations. Abela stressed that the family of the victim had also participated in the talks. He declared that they had agreed on the punishment.

It is understood that the parties have requested a 37-year prison sentence. The court is not bound to accept it, however, and remains free to impose a higher punishment.

Camilleri had reversed his initial plea and admitted guilt to all charges last week as part of a plea deal with the Attorney General. Magistrate Rachel Montebello, who presided over the compilation of evidence against him, had then sent the acts of the case to the Criminal Court for sentencing.

He had been charged with a total of 14 offences, including the wilful homicide of Pelin Kaya, the lesser charge of causing grievous injuries which had led to her death, grievously injuring a second woman and slightly injuring a man. Other charges included dangerous and reckless driving, driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, violently resisting arrest and attacking private citizens.

Kaya, an interior designer from Turkey, was killed when she was struck by a BMW X6 being driven by Camilleri, in Gzira on 18 January 2023 - the day of her 30th birthday.

CCTV footage from the area showed a black BMW X6 careening headlong into the Gzira KFC outlet, next to the Paul & Rocco petrol station. Kaya, who had been walking next to the petrol station, was hurled forward by the violent impact, before coming to rest several metres away. The cameras also captured Camilleri getting out of the vehicle and attacking passers-by, before throwing pieces of rubble at the victim as she lay on the ground. Police officers testifying about Camilleri’s arrest told the court that the suspect had shouted “where is TVM? I want to be famous.”

The callous murder of a young woman in her prime - on her birthday, no less - as well as the nonchalance demonstrated by her killer caused outrage. 

Camilleri had to be tasered twice by police officers before he could be taken into custody. Drug tests revealed high levels of cocaine and alcohol in his bloodstream.

He will be sentenced on March 5.

Lawyers Kayleigh Bonnett and Nathaniel Falzon from the Attorney General’s office prosecuted, together with Police Inspector Kurt Zahra.

Lawyers Alfred Abela and Rene’ Darmanin were Camilleri’s defence counsel.

Lawyer Shazoo Ghaznavi assisted the victim's family as parte civile, together with lawyers Charlon Gouder and Ramona Attard.

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