Girl witnesses father hit her mother with a chair
A woman yesterday told a magistrate how her husband tried to strangle her and beat her with a chair in their home in the presence of their four-year-old daughter.
The woman gave a blow-by-blow account of the beating she suffered at the hands of her husband, a 42-year-old Libyan national, who is pleading not guilty to trying to kill her and seriously injuring her on October 9.
The man, whose case is being heard by Magistrate Antonio Mizzi, is also charged with causing his wife to fear him and with harassment.
The woman, who is Maltese, described how on October 9 at precisely 3.40 p.m. someone knocked at the door. She froze in shock when she opened to find her husband standing outside, holding his luggage. He had gone to visit his family in Libya and was scheduled to return the following week.
"I was frightened because the last time we had spoken over the phone he told me he was coming to kill me... and that he did not care that that would land him in jail," the woman said.
Following the threatening phone call - made from Libya a week before the incident - the woman said she had contacted her lawyer and even spoke to a police officer about the matter.
The woman explained to the court how on the day of the incident, her husband walked into the house and closed the door behind him. He sat her down on the steps, went down on his knees and started praying and complaining that the separation proceedings would end up with him losing their daughter.
The woman, shaken by this behaviour, went into the kitchen and took her daughter with her. She sent a text message to her friend telling her that her husband was home.
The man went into the kitchen, opened his luggage and started giving presents to the girl. Soon after, he started talking again about the separation proceedings and, sensing danger, the woman moved towards the door to leave the house together with her daughter.
"Then he hit me on my back and I fell down. He grabbed me by the neck and starting pressing, pressing... I could barely breathe. I thought he was going to kill me. I bit his finger as hard as I could to try to break free... He removed his finger from my mouth...
"I dragged myself back to my feet. Then I saw him grab a chair and he hit me with it on my head and my back... I heard my daughter shout: 'Daddy, No!' so I tried to make my way towards her... I did not want her to be scared and I knew that the way I acted would affect the way she was feeling... Then he hit me again with the chair and I got dizzy and fell."
The woman somehow managed to get to her daughter and noticed that her mobile phone was ringing. It was her friend and she asked her to call for help.
Her husband then snatched the mobile phone from her. That was when their home phone rang. He answered. It was her sister.
"I was shocked at the way he spoke to her... as though nothing had happened. He told her everything was alright and I started screaming," she said, adding that her husband then walked out of the house at the same time as the police arrived.
The couple got married in 2003. Her husband first hit her when their daughter was three months old. "I remember I couldn't believe it. He hit me because I forgot to put cucumber in his sandwich. From then onwards, he would hit me every time I so much as expressed my opinion."
She initiated separation proceedings in 2004 but he did not want to grant her separation.
At the end of the sitting the magistrate ruled there were sufficient reasons for the man's indictment.
Names are not being published to protect the identity of the wife and daughter.
Police Inspector Kevin Farrugia prosecuted.
Lawyer Mark Busuttil was defence counsel.
Lawyers Vincent Micallef and Andy Ellul represented the wife.