Sta Venera murder victim was unrecognisable, court told
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Sta Venera murder victim was unrecognisable, court told

Suspect was calmly watching TV when police entered his flat

The scene of the murder in Sta Venera.

The scene of the murder in Sta Venera.

The blood-covered body of a Dutch woman found murdered on a Sta Venera street in August had been unrecognizable, necessitating other means of identification by investigators, a court was told on Wednesday.

Details of the identification process of the victim and the ultimate arrest of her alleged murderer were given by a CID inspector in the compilation of evidence against Jelle Rijpma, the 22-year old former boyfriend of the victim Shannon Mak.

Mr Rijpma has pleaded not guilty of the murder.

The victim: Shannon Mak.The victim: Shannon Mak.

Inspector Fabian Fleri explained how a wristband on the lifeless body, found lying in a pool of blood between a parked vehicle and a wall, had set investigators on the path to identify the woman as an employee of Gaming Evolution, a Latvia-based company with two offices in Malta.

Contacted by the police, the company management had said that such wristbands had been handed out to all employees attending a staff party on the eve of the murder on August 2.

Since at the time, the police had no clear pictures of the victim, rendered unrecognizable by the amount of blood on her body, investigators sifted through some 2000 photos taken at the party in an attempt to spot the woman by comparing items of clothing.

Although at first investigators were inclined to believe that the victim was an Italian employee who happened to live close to the scene of crime, a mobile phone discovered later led to the identification of the murdered woman as Ms Mak.

Further investigations revealed that the Dutchwoman had attended the party at Armier where she had been spotted chatting to a male employee. The latter had later told the police that Ms Mak had spoken to him about her breakup with her former boyfriend who had been physically abusive.

The woman was last been seen leaving the party with this former boyfriend, co-national Jelle Rijpma who lived in Triq l-Istampaturi, some 20 metres away from the spot where her lifeless body, with a slit throat, was discovered the following morning.

Singling out this man as ‘a person of interest’ investigators had knocked at the door of his flatlet and, upon being supplied with a key by the landlady, had entered the residence where they found the suspect lying on a sofa watching television.

The man had appeared to be “calm”, obeying police orders to kneel down to be handcuffed and to put on a jail suit for the preservation of evidence, before being escorted out to a waiting police car.

The case continues next month. Inspector Kurt Zahra prosecuted. Leontine Calleja was defence counsel. Stefano Filletti appeared parte civile.

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