Żabbar stabbing: Chetcuti stalked in weeks leading to murder

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The compilation of evidence against a 33-year-old man from Ħal Safi who stands accused of murdering his former partner Chantelle Chetcuti is scheduled to continue on Monday morning.

Chetcuti was found lying on the floor in Żabbar on 2 February 2020.

Magistrate Rachel Montebello is presiding over the case.

Police Inspector Kurt Zahra is leading the prosecution.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Francesca Zarb are appearing for the accused.

13:56 The case is adjourned for Friday, 3 April, at 9:30am.
Charmaine Attard
13:54 The Court, however, accepts the prosecution’s request and orders that Borg should be taken to the residence in Safi for verifications to take place.
Charmaine Attard
13:52 Inspector Kurt Zahra states that earlier today, he was given the address of the place where Borg took the knife which was used in the murder, as the rest of the set of knives could still be there.

The inspector asks that Borg should accompany on site to verify this, but the defense objects.
Charmaine Attard
13:51 Two witnesses – friends of Chetcuti – still need to testify, but the Magistrate states that there was no more time for witnesses today.
Charmaine Attard
13:51 Debono insists that he wants to clarify whether the two went to therapy to reconcile or to separate.
Charmaine Attard
13:50 Magistrate Montebello repeats that there should be no more questions on therapy.
Charmaine Attard
13:46 Debono asks Azzopardi whether he was aware that Borg and Chetcuti had attended family therapy sessions. He confirms that he knew, as he had driven Chetcuti to therapy on occasion.

The Magistrate interjects, stating that no further questions on the topic would be permitted.

Debono insists that he needs to know why Chetcuti was attending sessions. Azzopardi first says that she wanted to claim her half of the apartment, and subsequently that she wanted to fix the relationship.

Azzopardi adds that Borg did not want to go initially and that Chetcuti went alone on the two occasions he took her to therapy.
Charmaine Attard
13:46 Borg shakes his head and smiles when Azzopardi says that he does not know who bought the car, but that Chetcuti paid for insurance.
Charmaine Attard
13:45 Debono insists on asking about the BMW which Borg bought for Chetcuti.
Charmaine Attard
13:45 Azzopardi insists that this was not the case, claiming “I know Chantelle well.”
Charmaine Attard
13:44 Someone had sent a message to Chetcuti warning her that Borg was telling his clients that she was only with him for the money.
Charmaine Attard
13:42 A commotion erupts in court as Debono asks whether Azzopardi knew that Borg had bought a BMW for Chetcuti. The Magistrate insists that such questions were irrelevant to the case.
Charmaine Attard
13:39 Debono asks Azzopardi to confirm whether Borg had bought an apartment in Chetcuti’s name.

Azzopardi confirms that he is aware of the fact. He adds that Chetcuti did not want the apartment, but Borg insisted.
Charmaine Attard
13:38 Azzopardi states that he does not know of any episodes in which Chetcuti hit her former partner.
Charmaine Attard
13:37 The witness explains that such episodes erupted every so often throughout the relationship.
Charmaine Attard
13:36 The Magistrate asks Azzopardi whether Chetcuti ever told him that she was content with Borg. He says that she was not always satisfied
Charmaine Attard
13:36 Once more, Debono asks Azzopardi to states whether he considered the relationship between Borg and Chetcuti to be normal, apart from the episodes he mentioned.
Charmaine Attard
13:35 Azzopardi explains that Chantelle did not work, but would help Borg to sell fruits and vegetables on occasion.
Charmaine Attard
13:34 The witness reiterates that Chetcuti hit Borg on that occasion. Debono asks what Borg’s reaction was, and Azzopardi says that he did not react.
Charmaine Attard
13:34 As Azzopardi testifies, Borg can be seen reacting to the testimony, smiling on occasion.
Charmaine Attard
13:32 The Magistrate presses Azzopardi to remember whether Chetcuti hit Borg, stating that he could not choose what to remember and what to forget.

At this point Azzopardi says that Chetcuti touched Borg, but doesn’t know where or how. He insists that all he knows is that she confronted him.
Charmaine Attard
13:28 Debono asks Azzopardi to recount what Chetcuti had said to Borg when she confronted him at Wied iż-Żurrieq, but the witness says he does not remember.

He explains that Borg parked a short distance away, and that Chetcuti went to confront him on her own accord, asking him to leave.

Azzopardi confirms that Borg was already on site when he joined Chetcuti’s group at around 6pm.

Debono asks whether Chetcuti hit Borg, but Azzopardi states that he does not know if she did.
Charmaine Attard
13:28 Azzopardi adds that wardens eventually asked Borg to leave.
Charmaine Attard
13:27 Franco Debono insists that the witness was not focusing on the question he had asked him.
Charmaine Attard
13:20 Two days before the murder, Azzopardi and Chetcuti were having drinks with friends in Wied iż-Żurrieq. Azzopardi explained that Chetcuti was a light drinker, drinking “only until she was happy.”

Borg arrived at around 9pm – Debono notes that he had been out fishing with his friends. Azzopardi continues, stating that Chetcuti greeted him angrily, banging on his car and shouting at him, asking him to leave.

As Azzopardi questions why Borg was present when he was no longer in a relationship with Chetcuti, Debono raises his voice to tell him that he was a witness, not the victim’s lawyer.
Azzopardi continues, stating that they went to a bar and he followed them. Chetcuti walked home, and the group joined her again.

They returned to the bar and Borg was there once more, Azzopardi said, noting that they encountered him three times in one night.
Charmaine Attard
13:19 Azzopardi said that he did not know where they were going. He saw Borg in his car, sounding his car horn. Chetcuti asked him to take her home, and the group ended up staying with her.

Borg then blocked the gate. He left his car doors open, but the witness did not know where Borg himself had gone.
Charmaine Attard
13:17 Azzopardi notes that on 24 January, a woman had called him from Żurrieq, asking for a lift. He found a group of women there, including Chetuci. Borg was there and asked Azzopardi to leave as he would drive them himself, but they refused.

The women ended up in Azzopardi's car, but Borg continued following them until he drove Chetcuti to her Safi home.
Charmaine Attard
13:16 Lawyer Franco Debono starts cross-examining the witness
Charmaine Attard
13:15 Azzopardi maintains that Chetcuti was afraid of Borg on the day of her murder, since he had been stalking her during the previous two weeks
Charmaine Attard
13:14 He mentions another incident Chetcuti had recounted to him. The couple was heading to a party, but Chetcuti was late. Borg hit her, tearing her dress in the process, and ran to her friends, crying.
Charmaine Attard
13:14 He notes that Borg, a vegetable hawker, would tell his clients that Chetcuti – who did not work – was only interested in him for financial reasons.
Charmaine Attard
13:12 Azzopardi testifies that some time before last summer, someone informed Chetcuti that Borg had cheated on her.
Charmaine Attard
13:11 Azzopardi also mentions an occasion when he was spending time with Chantelle, and Justin’s mother called him, urging them to take care of her son. Chantelle told the woman that she was no longer in a relationship with the accused, and that he was no longer her responsibility. She was upset by this call, however.
Charmaine Attard
13:10 The witness mentions another incident, which happened when Chantelle and Justin went to Marsaxlokk. Chantelle ended up calling him, asking him to drive her home, as they had an argument and Justin bit her. He confirms seeing the bite marks.
Charmaine Attard
13:08 According to Chantelle, Borg had once kicked her in the back, left her lying at night and only took her to hospital the following morning. Doctors had told her that she was lucky that her spine wasn’t hit in the blow as she would have ended up in a wheelchair.

Chantelle had described this incident a week or two before her death.
Charmaine Attard
13:07 He explains that 15 years ago, Chantelle had told him that the accused had bent the door to her Daihatsu out of shape during an argument.
Charmaine Attard
13:07 The witness explains that he was friends with both the accused and the victim
Charmaine Attard
13:07 Lawyer Marion Camilleri speaks to the accused.
Charmaine Attard
13:04 Chantelle Chetcuti had messaged him on the day, and the two went out for a walk with their dogs at around 1pm.

She had told him that she was meeting someone else that evening. Azzopardi says that he had given Chetcuti a lift to Zabbar at around 3.30pm and he got to know that she was going to meet Silvan Medina.

He says that Chantelle Chetcuti used to fear her ex boyfriend. The accused had spent fifteen days stalking her. The witness tells the court that the accused would call her up and she would find him wherever she would go. The witness says that sometimes he would be out and about with the victim and the accused would suddenly turn up.
Monique Agius
13:03 Next up is Johann Azzopardi who knew Chantelle Chetcuti since she was 21.
Monique Agius
13:01 The father describes how they would always argue and then make peace. The two were together for some seventeen years.

Dr Debono asks whether theirs was a normal relationship. The father replies that from what they could see it was a normal relationship but they weren't with them.

The witness says that there were people who knew that she got hit by the accused.
Monique Agius
13:01 The father of the victim faces cross-examination by Dr Debono. He asks him about the maintenance. Chetcuti says that his daughter was unemployed. He says that the accused never failed to pay maintenance.
Monique Agius
13:00 The witness exhibits a letter dated 6 September 2019 which was written by a lawyer on behalf of the victim.

The victim's father says that his daughter would complain that the accused would stalk her. He adds that every time he would suggest filing a police report his daughter would argue that the man was the son of their children.

"I think she loved him," the witness adds.
Monique Agius
12:57 The accident happened when Chantelle Chetcuti was still living with her parents.

"They lived their childhood together. They knew each other since they were 14 or 15," her father tells the court. The tearful witness says that they loved the accused as "one of their own". He adds that he still has a mother, but the children have lost their mother.
Monique Agius
12:57 The witness says that the car could not be driven due to the damage to the car door. He adds that he had taken Chantelle Chetcuti to the police station. The mother of the accused was also there. They had accepted to pay for the damages since they did not want to cause any trouble between the families.

The accused stands up and approaches his lawyer.
Monique Agius
12:55 The father exhibits some notes from a case that happened in 2006. He says that the accused had damaged the victim's car. In his notes, he had jotted down the police number, Chantelle Chetcuti's ID card number, the date and time when the incident happened.

He explains that he did this in case something happened.
Monique Agius
12:53 The witness says that he had repeatedly told his daughter to file a police report.

Once she was at work, and his wife had called him informing him that the accused was outside their house making a scene, the witness recalls.

He says that his wife had told him that the accused wanted to beat up the children. He had knocked down the door leading to the room where Chantelle and her children would be.

The case happened seven years ago. The case eventually ended up before the court. The father says that he played the victim card and they had to forgive him.
Monique Agius
12:53 The mother of the accused had called Chantelle and asked her to "take care of him". Chetcuti had told her that they were no longer together.
Monique Agius
12:51 She had been living in her parents' house for the last five or six months. They kept in touch because of their children.

The victim's father says that the accused was "obsessed" with his daughter. He says that some three days before the stabbing, he overheard Chetcuti telling her mum that they had an accident with their car. He had taken her logbook so that he remains present in her life, the witness adds.
Monique Agius
12:50 "As long as I have known them together, I remember them arguing and I remember her calling him a liar," Chetcuti's father says.
Monique Agius
12:49 The witness says that his daughter used to complain to her mother, that her ex partner was cheating on her and lying to her. According to the witness they tried living together as friends but they did not manage, since she felt uncomfortable.

Chantelle Chetcuti's father points at the accused.
Monique Agius
12:48 He says that what hurt the most was going to visit his daughter in hospital who had the knife still stuck inside her head and that no one could remove it.

The father says that his wife passed out upon seeing their daughter on the ground. Chantelle could not speak to them, he adds.

Chantelle Chetcuti used to live with her parents, her brother and her children.
Monique Agius
12:47 The father recalls that they had gone to Żabbar.

"Upon seeing all that blood, we thought she was dead," the father said in a quavering voice.
Monique Agius
12:46 He says that someone had called on Chantelle's mobile which was with the Żabbar Police asking if there was a relative available to go to the police station. He says he does not know who had called.
Monique Agius
12:45 The father says that he received a call from his eldest daughter at around 8pm. Their eldest daughter informed them that Chantelle was stabbed and that she was going to Żabbar.

At that point he did not know who had stabbed his daughter.
Monique Agius
12:43 The second witness today is Eugenio Chetcuti who is the father of the victim. Chetcuti says that his daughter used to live with them in Ħal Safi.
Monique Agius
12:42 The witness says he had overheard Chetcuti refusing to follow her ex outside the club.
Monique Agius
12:41 The witness says he could not tell who was the person who dashed inside screaming for people to come out and see what had happened. He says that when he saw her body he recalled her from a few moments earlier playing pool inside. He adds that he was shocked by what he had seen and took his partner and son away.
Monique Agius
12:40 Chantelle Chetcuti was the first one to sit down. Her former partner took a seat next to her. The two then went outside. At this stage, the situation was calm.
Monique Agius
12:39 Dr Debono asks the witness what drinks was everyone having. The witness says he would not know.
Monique Agius
12:38 Zammit added that the accused did not behave aggressively towards Chetcuti. He was speaking to her in a "normal" tone, the witness tells the court. He describes Chetcuti's behaviour as "normal" saying that she did not behave aggressively towards the accused.
Monique Agius
12:38 He says that the it last for some 5 minutes. The accused trying to speak to her, while Chetcuti tried ignoring him.
Monique Agius
12:36 The witness says that when the accused spoke to Chetcuti, the man accompanying her (Silvan) moved away.
He says that he saw Silvan and accused speak. He adds that it was like Chantelle Chetcuti was trying to ignore the accused. He tried speaking to her. He says that at one point, Chetcuti approached his partner for a lighter.
Monique Agius
12:35 He says that he never saw Chantelle Chetcuti at the club on her own. He adds that the other time he saw them, they were sitting on a bench.

The witness says that on the day, more than one hour had passed since the accused had arrived at the club.
Monique Agius
12:33 The witness faces cross-examination.

Dr Debono asks the witness to describe his friendship with Silvan Medina.

The witness replies that he knew Medina for years. He says that he had seen Medina with Chetcuti once, but that was a long time ago. He added it might have been in summer.
Monique Agius
12:32 The witness says that he cannot identify the accused in the courtroom.
Monique Agius
12:31 Sandro Zammit says that he did not see Silvan talking with the accused.
Monique Agius
12:30 Dr Camilleri can be seen talking to the accused.
Monique Agius
12:29 The witness says that if he recalled correctly he had overheard Chetcuti refusing to follow the accused and said "no, because you'll beat me up again." The magistrate asks Zammit to repeat what he just said.

He reiterates that he heard saying "No, I don't want [to follow you] because you'll beat me."
Monique Agius
12:28 The witness gave a different measurement when asked how far away were the accused and victim from him, the prosecution says.
Monique Agius
12:27 Magistrate Montebello intervenes. She asks the witness whether he told something to the police which he had not said today.
Monique Agius
12:26 Police Inspector Kurt Zahra says that there is a difference between what the witness is saying in court and the statement he gave to the police. The prosecution however, does not have the statement with them in court.
Monique Agius
12:26 The witness recalls the victim telling the accused "I don't want. Leave me alone!"
Monique Agius
12:25 The club is divided into two, the accused and the victim were in an area which was more secluded, the witness tells the court.
Monique Agius
12:22 Police Inspector Kurt Zahra asks the witness to explain what happened in a chronological manner.

The accused had told the victim "are you coming with me?" The witness says he does not recall what the victim told the accused but recalled her as being unwilling to follow him. However, he says she still sat down with him.
Monique Agius
12:22 Dr Debono approaches the accused and sits next to him.
Monique Agius
12:20 The witness says that the victim and the accused seemed to have a "normal" conversation. He notes that the man who was with the victim did not join in the conversation.
Monique Agius
12:19 The witness says he knew Silvan Medina. The victim had asked the witness' partner for a lighter before lighting up a cigarette.
Monique Agius
12:17 The witness says that he did not know Chantelli Chetcuti. He tells the court that before he saw her lying on the ground, he had seen her inside the club playing pool with someone called "Silvan". He says that there was no one else with them.

He explains that he did not know the accused and had seen him entering the club and approaching the victim. He recalls seeing them speaking before they went outside.

It was at this time that someone came in screaming inside the party club for others to come outside, he recalls.
Monique Agius
12:16 Zammit says that on the day he was at a club in Ħaż-Żabbar having a beer when a person entered the club screaming "come outside!"

He recalls seeing a woman lying on the ground. He had his son and partner with him and left the scene.
Monique Agius
12:15 Sandro Zammit is the first to take the witness stand today.
Monique Agius
12:14 Lawyer Franco Debono can be seen speaking to his client. Magistrate Rachel Montebello enters the courtroom.
Lawyer Marion Camilleri takes a seat next to the accused.
Monique Agius
12:13 The accused is brought into the courtroom.
Monique Agius
12:06 We're live reporting from courtroom 24.
Both the prosecution and the defence counsel are present in the courtroom. The accused has not arrived yet.
Monique Agius

Highlights from last sitting

  • A witness, a man, has testified in court how he saw the accused hit the victim
  • The same witness said he stopped driving because he saw a woman getting beaten
  • He said he approached the woman who was lying on the ground with a knife stuck to her head
  • A Police officer testifies that the accused entered the Depot in shock but calm