A 32-year-old accountant whose body was found in a Buskett well three years after he disappeared in 1982 was possibly dismembered within 30 minutes of his death, a leading forensic expert will declare on TV tonight.

Sometimes we feel there may not have been the political commitment for this case to be solved...

Lino Cauchi left his Sta Venera home in the morning of February 14, 1982 to go to work and never returned. He was murdered by unknown individuals and, almost 30 years after his disappearance, the case remains a mystery.

At the time of his disappearance, Mr Cauchi was linked to high-profile property developers, some politically connected to the late Labour minister Lorry Sant responsible for handing out building permits.

Court evidence on a number of corruption cases in the 1980s revealed that Mr Cauchi was privy to corrupt dealings by a number of businessmen, including Mr Sant’s right-hand man and works manager Piju Camilleri. Corruption was institutionalised with some building permits only issued after the developer would have agreed to transfer part of the land or property to companies belonging to Mr Camilleri and others.

Although Mr Cauchi’s murder remains a mystery it is widely believed that it may have been linked to his knowledge of such corrupt dealings.

He was identified by at least two witnesses as Mr Camilleri’s accountant. However, Mr Camilleri has consistently denied ever knowing Mr Cauchi.

The unsolved crime is the subject of the programme Evidenza produced and hosted by journalist Dione Borg that goes on air for the first time tonight at 9.35 p.m. on Net television. The pre-recorded programme lays out the facts surrounding Mr Cauchi’s murder and invites forensic expert Anthony Abela Medici, psychologist Bernard Caruana, lawyer Joseph Bonello and former Nazzjon journalist Mario Schiavone to comment on the case.

Dr Abela Medici will say during the TV show that although it is difficult to establish when Mr Cauchi was killed, forensic evidence indicates his body was dismembered, packed in plastic bags and dumped in the well within 30 minutes of the murder.

Mr Cauchi was killed with a blow to the right hand side of his head by a mallet, which was also found in the well. According to Dr Abela Medici, the strong blow fractured Mr Cauchi’s skull in 28 places and may have been fatal.

The fact that the brain was found intact in the cranium, Dr Abela Medici says, is an indication that the brutal acts that followed the killing happened in a very short time span that allowed the remains to be relatively well-preserved in the damp conditions of the well. Had the perpetrators taken their time to dismember him, the brain tissue would have decomposed.

Dr Abela Medici explains that forensic evidence suggests more than one individual may have been involved in the killing because of the short time span it took for the body to be cut up, packed and dumped. Furthermore, both a manual and an electric saw were used to cut up the body.

In tonight’s programme, Mr Schiavone will say that, having followed the case closely at the time, he was convinced Mr Cauchi was a victim of the political circumstances prevailing then. He believed that some people had an interest in shutting Mr Cauchi up.

When he disappeared, Mr Cauchi’s wife Anna was pregnant.

The programme does not interview Mr Cauchi’s relatives but when contacted by The Times, the family insisted that 30 years on they were still waiting for justice to be served.

“Sometimes we feel there may not have been the political commitment for this case to be solved even after the change in Administration in 1987,” the family said, adding that the wound left by Mr Cauchi’s murder might never heal.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us