Updated 1815 – Statement by Police
In a statement issued this evening, the Police said that Melvin Theuma is in stable condition and is currently at Mater Dei’s ITU.
Updated 0952 – Police Commissioner says Theuma admitted to self-harm
Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa said confirmed first indications that injuries on Melvin Theuma were self-inflicted, adding that Inspector Keith Arnaud spoke to Theuma yesterday evening, with the latter confirming it was his own doing and no-one else was there.
Gafa explained that all apertures were closed and there were no reports of a struggle.
The Commissioner added that Theuma’s condition has now stablised.
The self-confessed middleman in the murder of Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was in critical condition on Wednesday with knife injuries to his throat and torso, authorities and local media said.
Melvin Theuma, a former taxi driver, was granted a presidential pardon in November to reveal all about the car bomb murder which shocked in the Mediterranean island in October 2017.
His evidence so far has implicated top businessman Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind who was arrested in late November and accused of complicity in the murder. He is awaiting trial and denies the charge.
“First indications are that Melvin Theuma self-harmed but investigations are continuing,” police said in a statement, suggesting attempted suicide.
The statement said Theuma was found late Tuesday in a pool of blood at his residence by officers who were mounting a round-the-clock guard outside. They were alerted by a lawyer who said he could not reach Theuma by phone.
Media reported Theuma’s wounds included serious injuries to his vocal cords and abdomen.
The incident happened hours before Theuma was due to continue to give evidence in a Valletta court.
In evidence so far, Theuma has alleged he was paid by Fenech to contract three men – currently under arrest – who carried out the car-bombing.
He also described how he has since lived in fear of his life and how he had gone to a seminary for confession.
“My life ended at 3 p.m. on October 16, 2017,” he told a magistrate, referring to the time and date of the murder.
Sources quoted by The Malta Independent that stab wounds were found in his neck and chest while he was in his home on Triq is-Sirk in Swieqi.
The Times reports (1235) that his condition was described as “critical” by one source who told Times of Malta that Theuma had been found with his throat slit inside his bathroom. He was also found with a large abdominal wound. Newsbook.com.mt reports that police officers have sought testimonies from Theuma’s neighbours.
MaltaToday reports that police said the first indications are that Theuma, found suffering from serious wounds, had harmed himself but it was not ruling out anything, adding that Theuma was expected to continue his testimony in court tomorrow Wednesday, with the defence counter-examining him. The magistrate had ordered that recordings requested by the defence be exhibited in the compilation of evidence. Fenech’s lawyers set much store by the content of recordings which could have attacked the testimony of Theuma against the alleged mastermind.
LovinMalta reports that Jason Azzopardi, the lawyer of the family of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has asked how police ascertained so quickly that an incident involving Melvin Theuma was an attempted suicide. “Many people are asking how it could be that the police issued a statement declaring this is as an attempted suicide after only a few minutes,” Azzopardi wrote. “How did they find out so quickly?”
Maltatoday reports that Theuma was granted a presidential pardon to turn State’s evidence in December 2019, when he was arrested on a money laundering charge and later confessed to his role in the assassination. Theuma had contracted the three men arrested for the October 2017 assassination, brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, and Vincent Muscat, on behalf of Fenech, to carry out the hit on Caruana Galizia. He amassed a large collection of recorded conversations on his mobile phone, of exchanges he had with Fenech and other associates of his. The conversations revealed his knowledge of details of the police investigation into the assassination, knowledge of Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri’s association with Fenech, police collusion, and even advance notice of a pardon.
CD eNews / Reuters