Court turns down owner’s request to retrieve getaway car in Sliema double murder

Sarah Cassar Dymond

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A request by the original owner of the Volkswagen Tiguan used in the Sliema double of murder of Christian Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski was turned down by the court on Tuesday.

The car which was stolen two years ago, was found in a parking lot close to St Luke’s Hospital after the police investigated the CCTV footage retrieved during the investigation.

The gathering of evidence against 36-year-old Viktor Dragomanski, the second suspect charged in the Sliema double murder, continued on Tuesday morning.

Doctor turned banker Christian Pandolfino (58) and art dealer Ivor Maciejowski, 30, were shot dead at their residence on Locker Street Sliema on Tuesday 18 August at around 10.20pm.

In brief:

  • Christian Pandolfino was shot multiple times with a shots in the brain and in the heart;
  • According to the court expert, Pandolfino was shot at close range;
  • Dr Mario Scerri has described the gunshot wounds as “rapidly fatal” for both victims.

Dragonmanski was the second suspect to be arrested following the arrest of 25-year-old Albanian national Daniel Muka.

The third suspect, Jesper Kristiansen, managed to escape from Malta only to be arrested shortly after in Spain where he is facing extradition to Malta.

While both Muka and Dragomanski have admitted their role in attempted theft, the two suspects have blamed each other for the murder.

At the end of Tuesday’s sitting, the Court ruled that it was still early during the proceedings to release the car which is evidence in this case.

10:32 The next sittings are on 19 November 11.15 and 22 December at 9am.
Monique Agius
10:30 They are deciding whether a sitting should be held on 19 November and send the files to the AG after that sitting or send the files now and have a sitting on 21 December.
Monique Agius
10:26 Magistrate Joe Mifsud says that there was a court application by a certain individual to retrieve the VW Tiguan.

He explains that the application has been turned down since the proceedings are still in its early stages.
Monique Agius
10:25 The next sittings are being planned.
Monique Agius
10:25 There are no more witnesses for today.
Monique Agius
10:24 Dr Brincat walks back in.
Monique Agius
10:23 Police Superintendent James Grech who is now stationed at ECU, presents an envelope with €950 which were found on Dragomanski.
Monique Agius
10:20 On 27 August, Mamo and other officers carried out a search at Dragomanski's residence where they found an orange cap, a tank top and shoes which the suspect was wearing when he was spotted outside the cafe in Msida.
Monique Agius
10:20 Mamo explains how Dragomanski was arrested.
Monique Agius
10:18 Mamo says that after the VW Tiguan was found, they continued investigating the CCTV footage and followed the three suspects.

The witness is now recounting how one of the three suspects entered a cafe in Msida, asked for the WiFi password and left for Sliema in a taxi.

The mobile used to book the Bolt taxi was that of Kristiansen.
Monique Agius
10:16 On 21 August he was instructed by Inspector James Grech and another surgent about the investigation of a double homicide in Sliema. He explains that from the information they had, the suspects had fled on VW Tiguan from the scene. He adds that the licence plates were stolen.

Mamo goes through the work carried out by the police on the CCTV footage retrieved and how they found the VW Tiguan.
Monique Agius
10:15 Police constable Sandro Mamo takes the stand.
Monique Agius
10:13 The witness is testifying in Maltese. He says that on 18 August he was on his night shift with his colleague Edward Zammit. It was around 00.30am that they were called to go to a residence in Sliema.

They retrieved the corpses and took them to the morgue.
Monique Agius
10:11 Oliver Magri, a police constable, takes the witness stand.
Monique Agius
10:08 Another witness take the stand, Vincent Ciliberti, who photographed each and every room of Pandolfino's and Maciejowski's residence. The witness says that proceedings were all recorded and there is a CD which shows how they documented the house.

The witness says that it is next to impossible of creating an inventory of the house.
Monique Agius
10:08 Dr Vassallo is appointed to transcribe the testimonies of some witnesses.
Monique Agius
10:07 Dr Katia Vassallo presents the translation of the three individuals who gave evidence in Maltese.
Monique Agius
10:07 She presents transcripts of the statements given by Dragomanski.
Monique Agius
10:06 Dr Brincat walks out.
Monique Agius
10:06 Dr Marisa Mifsud (not relation to the presiding magistrate) takes the stand.
Monique Agius
10:05 The next sitting on 19 November at 11.15am.
Monique Agius
10:03 Dr Brincat asks whether it was one or two firearms, with Dr Scerri replying that he is a ballistic injuries expert.
Monique Agius
10:00 "Essentially according to the dynamics of the case, the aggressors went in and shot Pandolfino. These shots were rapidly fatal and Pandolfino died. Then Maciejowski was shot and died," Dr Scerri says.

Dr Giglio remarks that it is possible that we are in the realm of speculation because Pandolfino could have been gasping for his last breath.

Dr Scerri says that a shot to the brain is rapidly fatal.
Monique Agius
09:59 Dr Scerri presents his report.
Monique Agius
09:56 Dr Giglio asks whether it would be in his remit to determine the distance from where the shots were fired.

'It shows that they were fired at a close range shot,' Dr Scerri says explaining that contact shots would have produced an "explosion". For Maciejowski, the lesion was slightly different because it was fired from further away.

"That shot is rapidly fatal," he adds.
Monique Agius
09:55 Dr Scerri says that there five shots and two exits.

"The victim must have turned and the shot labelled six, was an abraded shot," Dr Scerri explains.
Monique Agius
09:52 Dr Scerri says that there was a shot on the lip, the right side of the neck, a direct hit that went through the heart, among others.
Monique Agius
09:50 Dr Scerri says that the door had some scratches. Pandolfino's body was on his side and there was blood on the floor. There were shells on the right side of the victim. Other cartridges were found on the stairs.
Monique Agius
09:49 Dr Mario Scerri takes the stand and presents his report.
Monique Agius
09:48 Dr Giglio asks the witness whether she could explain the distance between the person was firing and the victim.

Dr Ali Safraz says that it was an "effective range" but no contact.
Monique Agius
09:47 Dr Buhagiar explains that Ivor Maciejowski was shot straight in the face.
Monique Agius
09:45 Dr Buhagiar says that some bruises had to do with the injuries sustained due to the gunshots.

The medical expert explains that the bruises are labelled accordingly in the report.

A total of 12 wounds. In the report, the 12 wounds are described accordingly.
Monique Agius
09:44 Dr Giglio: Am I correct to say that there are five entry wounds and two exit wounds?

Dr Buhagiar goes quickly through the report and confirms.
Monique Agius
09:44 Dr Giglio takes over questioning. He asks about the first report.
Monique Agius
09:43 Dr Buhagiar says that for Ivor Maciejowski had a single entry and exit wound.
Monique Agius
09:41 Dr Buhagiar explains that the first body they received was that of Christian Pandolfino. She explains that the body had various lesions.

Projectiles were found in the heart and the stomach. A projectile went through the cranium. He was certified dead of multiple gun shot injuries.
Monique Agius
09:41 Dr Brincat walks in.
Monique Agius
09:40 Dr Ali Sarfraz, and Dr Tiffany Buhagiar take the stand.
Monique Agius
09:39 After calling Dr Brincat three times, the court decided to have the witnesses testify while cross-examination of the witnesses will be postponed to a later date.
Monique Agius
09:38 We're waiting for defence counsel Joe Brincat.
Monique Agius
09:35 Murder suspect Viktor Dragomanski walks in.
Monique Agius
09:35 Parte Civile lawyer Joe Giglio walks in.
Monique Agius
09:34 Magistrate Joe Mifsud and Police Superintendent James Grech and Police Inspector Colin Sheldon are in the courtroom.
Monique Agius
09:32 We are live from Hall 25.
Monique Agius
09:32 Good morning and welcome to this live blog.
Monique Agius

During the last sitting, presiding magistrate Joe Mifsud ruled that there was enough evidence to indict Dragomanski.

Police Inspectors James Grech and Colin Sheldon are leading the prosecution.

Legal aid lawyer Dr Joe Brincat is appearing for the accused.

Lawyers Joe Giglio and Roberta Bonello appeared parte civile for the Pandolfino and Maciejowski family.