Sliema double murder: Accused found wearing victim’s necklace at time of arrest

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Police Inspector James Grech testified during criminal proceedings against 25-year-old Daniel Muka who is one of the two men who have been charged in court so far in connection to the Sliema double murder.

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.

The compilation of evidence against the ‘prime’ suspect, a 25-year-old Albanian man, will started on Thursday before a magistrates’ court presided over by Magistrate Nadine Lia.

Daniel Muka was arrested in a dramatic raid in Floriana. A second suspect was arrested a day later after a brief chase in Gzira, and the third suspect was apprehended in Cadiz, Spain after the police issued a European arrest warrant.

14:28 Thank you for following us.
Monique Agius
14:28 Muka is escorted out of the courtroom.
Monique Agius
14:27 The court orders that the acts are remitted to the Attorney General.
Monique Agius
14:27 Inspector Sheldon and court experts will be testifying then.
Monique Agius
14:26 The case will continue on 8 October at 11.30am.
Monique Agius
14:25 The prosecution asks for the prima facie decree be given today. The defence does not object.
Monique Agius
14:24 The court asks whether the prosectution has further evidence for the purposes of prima facie.
Monique Agius
14:24 The court appoints a court expert to transcribe the accused statement to police.
Monique Agius
14:23 The court will now appoint court experts.
Monique Agius
14:23 Police Inspector Grech informs the court that there are no more witnesses for today.
Monique Agius
14:22 The items seized in the car and at the residence were passed onto the forensics.
Monique Agius
14:20 The witness exhibits photos of the rented car that was found in Westin's parking St Julian's.
Monique Agius
14:18 Inside this car which was rented by Muka, the police found a car key on the driver's side which was later matched to the Tijuana found in Pietà.
Monique Agius
14:18 The vehicle was found in St Julian's parking close to Westin.
Monique Agius
14:17 The officer confirms that the same plates were used on a separate car. That car was a rental and registered under Muka's name.
Monique Agius
14:16 The PS says that the raid took place in the presence of Muka. From the Floriana house the police seized among other items – a yellow coloured necklace a ring, one pendrive, and clothes.
Monique Agius
14:14 One of the suspects entered Dolce Sicilia. One of the suspects entered the cafe and asked for a WiFi password so that he could book a Bolt taxi.

The taxi was booked under Jesper Kristiansen from Msida to Sliema.
Monique Agius
14:13 Cut cable ties were attached to the number plate. Cable ties were found on the floor by the getaway car.

A brown female handbag containing soap bars and business cards belonging to Paula Pandolfino was found in the car.
Monique Agius
14:11 The police sergeant is giving a list of locations from where CCTV footage was gathered and where the Tijuana was spotted.
Monique Agius
14:10 PS tells the court that he was informed about the shooting. He was informed about the getaway car – it had two distinctive marks including the panoramic roof.
Monique Agius
14:09 A police sergeant from the homicide squad takes the witness stand.
Monique Agius
14:08 The accused knew that by targeting that particular residence they would find valuables. The inspector says that Muka blamed it on others for choosing the residence and that he just tagged along.

Grech says “Muka said ‘I don't know, it’s not my plan they just picked me up’ and so on. The other person said the same.”

The court asks whether so far, the motive was theft. “Yes,” replies the witness.
Monique Agius
14:07 Dr Giglio asks about the motive, when was the plan hatched and who's idea was it.

Grech says that the two suspects said it was not their idea and that he does not have information how the house was chosen.
Monique Agius
14:05 Dr Giglio is asking the witness why the doorbell was used if they forced the door open.

Grech says that what he suspects happened is that two of the suspects were inside and the third found the door closed.
Monique Agius
14:05 We're back inside.
Monique Agius
13:46 We're out of the courtroom and waiting outside.
Monique Agius
13:44 "At this stage of the tendering of evidence, the defence requests that all evidence given in open court concerning any statement by the accused be held behind closed doors. After hearing the prosecution and parte civile not objecting, the court orders that the court is vacated by everyone except for the parties, staff and two police wardens," Magistrate Lia says.
Monique Agius
13:40 Prosecution, parte civile and defence are currently discussing the way forward with the Magistrate out of earshot.
Monique Agius
13:39 Magistrate Lia asks the prosecution. Police Inspector James Grech he says not a problem, and points out that if it is the security of the lawyer then it is different.

Magistrate Lia demands a reason, to which Dr Bianco asks to approach the bench.
Monique Agius
13:39 Dr Bianco says "Because of mine and my client's safety."
Monique Agius
13:38 Dr Noel Bianco makes a request that Police Inspector James Grech testifies behind closed doors on the statement given by the accused, citing security concerns.
Monique Agius
13:36 Muka was even found wearing a necklace usually worn by Pandolfino. This gets an audible reaction from the family.

The police seized two laptops and four mobile phones from Muka.
Monique Agius
13:36 The clothes allegedly used by Muka were found in Floriana.
Monique Agius
13:35 The evidence indicates that the gun was loaded when the men allegedly entered the residence of Pandolfino and Maciejowski.
Monique Agius
13:34 The raid was carried out when the police confirmed that there was someone living at the residence.

A pistol with six bullets missing was taken away from Muka.
Monique Agius
13:32 Police Inspector now describes the raid.

Muka had moved out of the residence listed for his bail book.

The police were informed that there was a green door in Floriana which had a padlock. A tall man was seen breaking the lock and entering the building, never to leave again.
Monique Agius
13:31 Muka kept on signing until 21 August. He stopped signing when the police found the car.

The police had already its DNA and fingerprints in their records. DNA and fingerprints found on evidence retrieved from the car matched with that in police records.
Monique Agius
13:29 The inspector who knows Muka from previous cases, had his mobile number and asked the service provider to provide the police with the call profile.

From the data obtained, it seems that the mobile was switched off during the time of the shooting. But the phone connected to the antenna at Portomaso at 10.22pm on 18 August 2020.

It was also captured by antennas in Gzira.
Monique Agius
13:28 Muka, who is believed to be the tall man in the footage,was wearing a black outfit.
Monique Agius
13:27 CCTV footage from shops, buses and other locations was crucial to locate the men.
Monique Agius
13:27 The inspector recognised the tall man as Daniel Muka. The accused had gone to Valletta police station to sign the bail book wearing the elbow support.
Monique Agius
13:26 Police Inspector Grech exhibits other stills from CCTV footage.
Monique Agius
13:24 The three men were caught walking along Ursolini Street on CCTV.

There is also CCTV footage of the three men walking towards Floriana. A tall man was drinking water and was wearing an elbow support.
Monique Agius
13:23 The police found a handbag a wig, a replica AK47, a replica Thompson gun, and the number plates used in the crime, were found in the car.
Monique Agius
13:22 The car was found in a car park near St Luke's Hospital carrying a different set of stolen number plates.
Monique Agius
13:20 After the shooting, the three men drove the car through Tigne Street, onto Tower Road, and took an exit towards Kappara.

Cameras were able to capture it moving through Santa Venera before going to Floriana. They were in Floriana within 10 minutes after the shooting.
Monique Agius
13:18 Police Inspector James Grech presents reports of the stolen license plates and the stolen car. The officer says that it could be that the suspects made used of another stolen car using the stolen plates as these showed up on CCTV on 14 August 2020.
Monique Agius
13:17 The number plates were stolen on 3 August 2020.
Monique Agius
13:17 A tall man and a short man entered the house.

The 'chubby' short man, who wearing striped trousers and a face mask, is seen going to the car and returning to the house with the third subject.

They left within four minutes of arriving.
Monique Agius
13:15 Dr Martin Bajada who was appointed as an expert in the inquiry told the inspector that Pandolfino was seen returning home at 10.10pm on 18 August.

At 10.13pm the white car used by the three suspects parked some meters away from the house.
Monique Agius
13:15 A ballistics expert and an expert to extract footage were appointed.
Monique Agius
13:13 Pandolfino was shot five times. Maciejowski was probably proceeding downstairs after hearing the gunshots. He was killed with one shot close to the forehead, shot from the landing between the ground floor and the first floor.
Monique Agius
13:13 Grech says that the victims were known for wearing golden necklaces.

The ransacking was minimal according to Grech.

The perpetrators had forced the door open.
Monique Agius
13:12 Pandolfino was found lying at the entrance of the house in his underwear. Ivor Maciejowki was found upstairs.
Monique Agius
13:12 Only two people were present for the shooting. The third was in the car and went to the house when he heard the shooting.
Monique Agius
13:10 Gunshots were heard inside the residence before they left.

The three suspects were seen leaving with a brown bag.
Monique Agius
13:09 The witness says that he was informed about a shooting on Locker Street, Sliema on 18 August 10.30pm.

He says that three men had entered the residence between 10.19 – 10.23pm. They left in a white Volkswagen.
Monique Agius
13:09 The witness says that he was informed about a shooting on Locker Street, Sliema on 18 August 10.30pm.

He says that three men had entered the residence between 10.19 – 10.23pm. They left in a white Volkswagen.
Monique Agius
13:09 Inspector James Grech takes the witness stand.
Monique Agius
13:08 Magistrate Nadine Lia enters the courtroom. We're in session.
Monique Agius
13:07 The accused, Daniel Muka, just entered the courtroom wearing an orange boiler suit and flip-flops.
Monique Agius
13:07 Dr Joe Giglio and Dr Roberta Bonello are back in the court room.
Monique Agius
13:06 We're about to start.
Monique Agius
13:00 We're still waiting, we're an hour and a half behind schedule. There should be one last hearing before the compilation of evidence starts.
Monique Agius
12:16 Family members of Chris Pandolfino begin coming in.
Monique Agius
12:10 We're still waiting.
Monique Agius
11:52 The courtroom is full with people standing on the sides. Journalists have already taken their seats.
Monique Agius
11:45 The second suspect will face be in court on Wednesday 9 September at 1pm for his own case.

The third suspect is facing extradition proceedings in Spain.
Monique Agius
11:33 Magistrate Nadine Lia is presiding over the case. The court is currently hearing some other cases.
Monique Agius
11:30 We will be live blogging from Hall 9. Today the gathering of evidence against the 'prime' suspect in the gruesome double murder will begin. The Albanian national was charged with the murder of Chris Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski.
Monique Agius
11:27 Good morning and welcome to this Newsbook.com.mt live blog.
Monique Agius

The ‘prime’ suspect and the second suspect have both been arraigned and have both pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them.

Police Inspectors Colin Sheldon and James are prosecuting.

Lawyers Joe Giglio and Roberta Bonello are appearing for the families of the victims.

Lawyers Noel Bianco and George Anthony Buttigieg are appearing for the accused.

Magistrate Nadine Lia is presiding over the court.

One of the three suspects arraigned in court
Sliema double murder: Prime suspect pleads not guilty