Updated - Man explains why he killed his wife
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Updated - Man explains why he killed his wife

Prosecution insists this was premeditated murder

The scene of the murder

The scene of the murder

A man who has admitted to killing his wife and mother of their three children, told a court today that he had not intended to commit the crime.

But the prosecution called for life imprisonment and said that the fact that the accused had carried a knife in his bag showed that this was premeditated murder.

Roger Agius 49, of Fgura, admitted to fatally stabbing his estranged wife Catherine, 41, just before he was to undergo a trial by jury this morning.

He told the court how at the time they were going through separation proceedings and he suspected she was seeing another man.

Matters, he said, had been deteriorating for him. He lost his job and was seeing his children only once a week.

On the day of the incident he waited for his wife at the bus stop and wanted to discuss where they stood. But she refused to talk to him and insulted him.

He said he did not know what happened next, but he reached for a knife which was in his bag and then he turned himself in at the police station.

Mr Agius said he now had no relationship with his children. He wanted to have such a relationship, and had filed the guilty plea so that the children would not suffer the ordeal of the trial..

He denied ever having taken any money from his wife or having previously ever hit her.

In the past, he said, because of his drinking problem, he used to tell his children to be like their mother, not like him. Later he told them to be like him, not her, because he did not break up the family.

PROSECUTION DEMANDS MAXIMUM SENTENCE

Dr Nadine Sant, prosecuting, said a husband killing the wife he was expected to protect was the worst act. The murder, she said, was premeditated because the accused had been carrying a knife. He stabbed her close to her heart with such force that even part of the handle penetrated the body. This man had a drinking and gambling problem and even evicted the family from their home so that he could enjoy his lifestyle.

Furthermore, his guilty plea was only filed on the eve of the trial. This was no early admission of guilt, and the accused deserved to be jailed for life. When he turned himself in at the police station he asked the police to wash his hands. He then asked for a cigarette and coffee...this did not reflect remorse.

Dr Joe Giglio, appearing parte civile, also called for the maximum punishment and said the testimony of the accused showed he was not sorry for his crime. What disturbed him most, Dr Giglio said, was that the accused even told his children to be like him. He had destroyed his family and orphaned his children. 

Defence counsel Malcolm Mifsud said the legal system was not one of retribution and the whole point of punishment was  reform. He said the accused made his admission within five minutes when he turned himself in. The accused had not been trying to justify his actions, but to explain what had happened. 

Sentence will be handed down tomorrow.

Mrs Agius was stabbed on July 13, 2009 at abut 6 p.m. when she stepped off a bus in Neolithic Temples Street, Tarxien.

At the time of the incident it was reported that Mr Agius went to the Paola police station and informed the police that he had seriously injured his wife.

When the police arrived they found the woman lying in the middle of the road with a knife lodged in her side. She was rushed to Mater Dei Hospital where she later lost her life.

A woman who lived close by explained how, when she realised something wrong had happened, she ran outside and saw a nurse tending to Mrs Agius.

The nurse asked her for a piece of cloth, to assist Mrs Agius from losing more blood, and the neighbour ran inside and grabbed a white towel.

"The poor woman had turned pale and was groaning in pain. I've never seen anything like it. She was wearing a white shirt that was covered in blood. Then I noticed the knife, with a grey rubbery handle," the woman said.

As she was stabbed, Mrs Agius dropped her hand bag and shopping bags on the spot where they remained - in a cordoned-off area - until Magistrate Joseph Apap Bologna appointed several court experts to assist him during the inquiry.

During compilation of evidence, the victim's sister  was said to have told the   police that the couple had argued over property.

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