‘Serial killer’ sentence makes criminal history
A “cold-blooded” murderer dubbed a “serial killer” yesterday became the first person in the history of Maltese criminal law to receive two life sentences.
Saviour Mangion, 47, from Żejtun, stabbed Maria Stella Magrin to death at her home on October 29, 1986, after bursting into the house with another man, Oswaldo Spiteri, as Mr Spiteri’s uncle Leli acted as a lookout.
All three men were arrested in 2005 after police received information about the murder and Mr Mangion was heard boasting about it.
Mr Spiteri committed suicide shortly after his arrest and his uncle died during proceedings.
Mr Mangion is already serving a 21-year jail term for murdering Francis Caruana in Żejtun in 1998 and attempting to murder Mr Caruana’s sister Josephine during the course of a robbery.
He received his first life sentence two years ago for the murder of 54-year-old Rosina Zammit after stabbing her 37 times in Safi in 1984.
He claimed he had admitted to police that he murdered the woman after they “bribed” him with a promise of cigarettes and his favourite dish: eggs and chips.
It was during that trial that Mr Justice Joseph Galea Debono said Mr Mangion could be called a serial killer.
Mr Mangion told police that the only reason he killed Ms Magrin was so that she could not identify them as the people who stole some €14,000 from her.
In his judgment yesterday, Mr Justice Lawrence Quintano described this as a “terrible and cruel” case, in which the victim was stabbed so hard the handle of the knife left an impression on her skin.
“Morals had been turned upside down”, good became bad and vice versa, the judge said, adding that the murder had been planned and the killers made sure they were not caught because no fingerprints were found.
Mr Justice Quintano said this was one of the worst crimes and also noted a point raised by prosecuting lawyer Nadine Sant, from the Attorney General’s Office, who said that Mr Mangion showed no remorse.
Previous life sentences
• Richard Grech, also known as Iz-Zinanna, was jailed for life in May 2010 after he was found guilty of murdering bank messenger Alphonse Ferriggi. He was the 12th person to be jailed for life and the second to be tried over the death of this victim, who was killed with a single shot to the head at almost point blank range in September 2000.
• The two longest serving inmates are Tunisians Mohsin Bin Brahim Mosbah and Ben Ali Wahid Ben Hassine, who were sentenced to life in jail after admitting to killing four people on separate occasions in February 1988.
Others given life sentences include:
• Joseph Harrington, after being convicted of murdering Sylvia King, who was burnt alive in her car on April 4, 1993, at Kunċizzjoni, limits of Rabat.
• Bertu Ellul, who was found guilty of killing three people – including a seven-year-old boy – in a shooting spree in May 1997. The victims were Rose Baldacchino, her son Antoine and Matthew Baldacchino.
• Andy Spiteri, who admitted shooting Police Constable Roger Debattista as he stood guard outside the Bank of Valletta branch in Qormi in November 2001. He formed part of a five-man gang that robbed the bank, with one of them, Ian Galdes Spiteri, also receiving a life sentence after admitting to his part in the theft.
• Ibrahim Ramadan Chamber Shnishah, who was found guilty of complicity in the murder of hairdresser Alfie Rizzo on February 4, 1998.
• Alfred Azzopardi, who was jailed for life after killing Vanessa Grech and her 17-month-old daughter Ailey on November 12, 2001. Their bodies were found in the well of her house with the baby sustaining four stab wounds and her mother 12.
• David Schembri, in 2009, was sentenced to life for the murder of Josette Scicluna, 32, whom he stabbed 49 times in front of their seven-year-old daughter after shooting open the door of her flat in May 2004.
• Gozitan bus driver Ġanni Attard, who was found guilty of being an accomplice to the 2001 murder of traffic warden Fortunata Spiteri in Għarb.