Ex-teenager’s boyfriend recounts sickle attack
The former 30-year-old boyfriend of a girl half his age told a magistrate yesterday that the girl’s grandfather and uncle had attacked him with a sickle thinking the teenager, who had run away from home, was with him.
Josef Grech of Rabat, who said he was a journalist, testified that his relationship with the girl was nothing sexual and was actually condoned by her parents. Her mother had once even let them sleep together at their home in a double bed. The problems between him and the family began when he and the girl had discovered the mother was flirting with a man on Facebook. She had also flirted with him, he said.
The girl’s grandfather, John Vassallo, 61, and his 25-year-old son Johann, both of Dingli, are pleading not guilty to Mr Grech’s attempted murder two weeks ago. Chewing gum while testifying, Mr Grech denied he knew the girl was 16-years-old and made a second denial when defence lawyer Franco Debono noted the witness had actually organised a surprise birthday party for her. He also denied being questioned by the police Vice Squad over their relationship.
Mr Grech said the girl used to run away from home regularly and whenever the police had called him it was because they thought the girl was with him. On the day in question, the girl’s grandfather phoned him and insisted the girl, who had again run away from home, was with him even though he denied it. To prove what he was saying, the witness said he went to the police station and spoke to an officer. From there he went to look for the girl and made his way to a public garden in Mtarfa. Shortly after arriving there, the grandfather arrived in his van and, all of a sudden, the girl’s mother jumped out and told him to run away.
At that point, Mr Grech testified, the grandfather chased him with a sickle. After covering a short distance, the witness said he stopped to try and reason things out but the grandfather was waving the sickle at him and, at one point, he found himself on the ground. The uncle then kicked him and the grandfather placed a white nylon cord around his neck and wound it three or four times before telling him that he would tie him to the van and drive off, Mr Grech said.
He was hit with the sickle on his left side, he added.
The police arrived soon afterwards and brought the situation under control.
Magistrate Jacqueline Padovani granted the accused bail against a deposit of €3,000 and a personal guarantee of €10,000. She also explained they were not to contact Mr Grech in anyway.
The case continues.