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Stabbing suspect convinced not to commit suicide

A magistrate this evening managed to convince a man who spent hours threatening to commit suicide to reconsider.

The man, Noel Calleja, has now been taken to hospital by ambulance.

Calleja, who allegedly stabbed and seriously injured a nurse in Qormi yesterday evening sat on a horizontal flag pole off a roof in Triq tal-Hlas, Ta' Farsina Housing Estate, Qormi for about four hours.

Photo: Matthew XuerebPhoto: Matthew Xuereb

It is understood that the man took the police to the place where he claimed he hid the knife used in the crime and escaped their custody while inside the building.

Calleja has no connection with the building, which is down the road from where he committed the alleged crime. He told the district inspector and another police officer that he found the door open and went up to the roof where he hid the knife. The weapon has not been found.

A police superintendent, an inspector, a psychiatrist, Calleja's brother and other unidentified individuals, negotiated with him to try to convince him to get off the pole to safety. A young boy was also spotted on the roof. 

The psychiatrist, David Cassar, was at one point heard telling Calleja "speak to me, speak to me, tell me what's bothering you".

Magistrate Ian Farrugia arrived on site at around 8pm, went up to the roof, sent everyone, except for Calleja's brother, away, and talked to Calleja.

A few minutes later Calleja got off the pole and was helped over the roof as the many curious passers-by who had gathered below applauded.

Two fire engines and an ambulance were on stand-by throughout the adventure.

The 33-year-old man from Santa Venera is believed to have attacked the 44-year-old nurse on Thursday down an alley in Wied is-Sewda.

Sources said Calleja was involved in a similar incident last year.

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