Convicted criminal Romeo Bone has become a suspect in the murder of Gozitan businessman Joe Baldacchino, after a piece of paper with a scrawled note of the victim’s car licence plate number was found in his car.

Mr Baldacchino, the managing director of the Baldacchino Group, which also owns the Kempinski San Lawrenz Hotel in Gozo, was shot in broad daylight on November 23 and died on December 27.

The mafia-style assassination of the father of five took place near Hastings Garden in Valletta where he had just parked his car. According to witnesses, he noticed a motorcyclist had dropped his number plate and told him about it. The motor­cyclist nodded, drove up behind Mr Baldacchino, unzipped his jacket, produced a firearm and shot him in the back.

It was during a search of Mr Bone’s car in another high profile case that the paper bearing the plate number and make of Mr Baldacchino’s car was found.

This crucial detail is now part of the magisterial inquiry into Mr Baldacchino’s death, which makes Mr Bone the only suspect in the murder.

The search of the car was conducted after the main witness in three other major criminal cases, PC 99 Mario Portelli, had accused Mr Bone of stalking him.

PC Portelli had previously testified in the case against former police inspector and lawyer David Gatt that Mr Bone was a member of Dr Gatt’s alleged gang which allegedly committed a number of crimes.

During the compilation of evidence yesterday, in the case where Mr Bone stands charged with stalking the officer, another policeman, Jeffery Attard Mcarthy, testified that he was among the first on the scene in the arrest of the accused.

The officer said he received a call to drive up to Luqa and arrest Mr Bone who already had an arrest warrant issued against him and was being followed by PC Portelli.

In a previous sitting, the court heard how PC Portelli had followed Mr Bone after he spotted him outside his house in January.

PC Attard Mcarthy said he saw PC Portelli at the scene and he overheard him saying to the accused that he did not want to speak to him. At that point he had told PC Portelli to step aside and move away from the scene, which he did.

Lawyers Steve Tonna Lowell appeared for Mr Bone.

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