Murder suspect went to police to say his partner 'could not be roused' from sleep

Victim's mother heard argument... then 'silence'

Michael Emmanuel. File photo.

Michael Emmanuel. File photo.

A man accused of strangling his former partner actually went to the local police station to report that she could not be roused from her sleep.

This information was revealed in court at the first hearing of the compilation of evidence against Michael Emmanuel, the 28-year old Ivorian national and the father to three of her seven children.

Read: Man pleads not guilty to murder of mother-of-six

On September 15, shortly after he filed the report, Maria Lourdes Agius, the 35-year old woman, was found strangled to death in her bedroom in the Paola apartment.

Police reaching the apartment first met the woman’s mother, who informed them that her daughter was still asleep. The mother thought her daughter was sleeping in because she had allegedly suffered a beating at the hands of her partner just a couple of days before.

Although at first sight, the victim appeared to be asleep, the police sergeant was aware of a domestic violence report and sensed that the woman might have been dead.

Inspector James Grech, taking the witness stand today, explained how at one point a commotion had broken out between the mother of the victim and the accused, with the police having to intervene to keep them apart.

The suspect told the police that the night before, he had sex with the victim and they had gone to bed at 10pm. Waking up next to her, he said he noticed that she was unresponsive.

Inspector Grech explained how medical forensic expert Mario Scerri noted bruising on the victim’s neck and suspected she had been strangled, a suspicion that was subsequently confirmed by the autopsy. There were bruises all over her body and signs of two hard blows to the head.

The argument two days prior had involved the accused behaving violently towards the woman and her mother, kicking her and hitting her with a chair on her back. The injuries were certified as slight. After that violent episode, the man was kicked out of the house by the victim and her brother, ending up sleeping rough.

The mother of the deceased told the police that she had heard a disturbance on the night preceding the grim discovery, and later silence in the couple’s flat – although she could hear the accused pacing up and down on the roof.

At 7am she had met him coming down from the roof and asked about her daughter. The man replied that she was not at home and that he did not know where she had gone.

The mother had then gone to her daughter’s bedroom to make the grim discovery.

Lawyer Lucio Sciriha was defence counsel and magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo is presiding over the compilation.