Ħal Far murder; Music still played as he lay dead in the street

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The court has heard how the headphones belonging to the victim of a racially motivated murder committed on April 6th, were still playing music.

Police Inspector Keith Arnaud explained that when he arrived on the scene and approached the corpse of murdered Lassana Souleyman Cisse, his headphones lights were still flashing.

This account is part of the evidence being delivered in the trial against two AFM soldiers named as Lorin Scicluna and Francesco Fenech. They are accused of the murder of Cisse and the attempted murder of two fellow migrants on Triq il-Ġebel in Ħal Far.

The Court presided by Magistrate Ian Farrugia showed that:

  • The two suspects did not have a liking towards immigrants.
  • Fenech asked Scicluna to go shoot cats on the day of the murder.
  • Fenech threatened Scicluna that he would shoot him. This happened after Fenech shot Cisse.
  • The Police used multiple footage to identify where the car went. It showed that it was very close to where Scicluna lives.
  • The suspects tried to alter the car’s appearance after it was made public that the Police were searching for a Toyota Starlet.
  • The suspects used to roam around in Ħal Far picking on immigrants with the motive that they would react and would give the suspects a reason to detain them. There was a case involving an immigrant who was cycling who threw rocks at their car, before getting off his bike and fleeing. The two suspects responded by exiting their car and smashing the bike.

9mm bullets were discovered both at the murder scene and under Scicluna’s bed

Arnaud explained that he had received the call at 11:10 pm describing how there was blood running into the road. When Arnaud arrived, two bullet cartridges identified as 9mm caliber were found close to Cisse’s body. The prosecuting officer also explained that according to the autopsy report, the bullet had entered his left temple.  

The Inspector stated that Scicluna had 4 guns registered on his name. He told the court that following Scicluna’s arrest on 17 May at around 11:40 am, the accused showed the policemen his weapons which he kept under his bed. The Police collected several 9mm caliber rounds, said Arnaud.

It was also explained that there was a separate crime scene involving two other migrants, both of whom had received bullet wounds to their lower torso.

The Toyota Startlet

Arnaud showed images from security cameras where Cisse was killed, at 10:52 pm. He explained that the only car to pass in the same direction in the same time period (about two minutes later) was a Toyota Starlet.

During the investigation, the Police compiled footage from 55 CCTV cameras which spotted the car.

Inspector Arnaud told the court that the car had distinctive marks, with a missing passenger mirror, while the lamps were fairly bright. He said that the bulb of the right side was brighter than the left side. He also said that there were no registration plates on the vehicle. Arnaud requested the collection of all information about this brand of car in Malta, even those which are intended to be scrapped.

Using Transport Malta’s automatic car identification technology, the Inspector stated that the vehicle was registered to Lorin Scicluna.

In his statement, Scicluna originally said that he had lent the vehicle to a foreigner, possibly a Syrian, who offered him €1000 to use it. However, Scicluna later admitted to being inside the vehicle during the time when the act was committed.

Scicluna told the police that he had adjusted the mirror and stuck tape in order to modify the vehicle.

Shots were fired from driver’s side

Inspector Arnaud said that one of the victims described a white car passing by, and then they heard shots departing from the driver’s side. One victim described the two people in car as being white men, while the driver was a bit darker and had facial hair or a goatee.

Fenech was riding as a passenger in the car while the car was being driven by Scicluna.

Scicluna’s girlfriend told him to stay away from Fenech

Scicluna’s girlfriend confirmed that she was not with her partner at the time if the murder, as she was at the cinema with her sister. However, she explained that at about 11:30 pm, Scicluna started messaging her asking where she was.

She added that she did not like Fenech, and she wanted Scicluna to stir away from him and had told him to alter his character. She knew that Scicluna and Fenech had similar attitude towards immigrants. ‘They both do not like them, because they believe that immigrants come to Malta and try to take over’, continued Scicluna’s girlfriend.

She also confirmed that the Toyota Starlet’s mirror has been recently fixed.

Running their identification papers, police found that the victims had no criminal records, and they had never caused any problems or disputes with the authorities or other people.

Both victims, Ibrahim Bah (22) from Guinea had already spent three months in Malta while Muhammed Diallo (29) of Gambia had been nine months in Malta. Both victims came to Malta from Italy to work while they lived together. They had said that they were returning home after watching a football match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, in Birzebbuga. The Inspector Arnaud stated that while the two survivors were living together, neither of them knew Cisse.

Representing Lorin Scicluna were the lawyers Franco Debono, Julian Farrugia and Marion Camilleri. Gianella DeMarco represented Francesco Fenech.

The lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Alfred Abela are representing the victim’s family.

The prosecution is being led by Inspector Keith Arnaud and Trevor Micallef.