Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera sentenced Erin Tanti to 20 years and six months in prison, and ordered him to pay €22,000 in costs. Tanti was standing trial by jury but filed his guilty admission at the start.
Tanti was accused of the murder of the student who became his lover has pleaded guilty of the wilful homicide of Lisa Maria Zahra.
Zahra, 15, died in an apparent suicide pact when she fell from Dingli cliffs in March 2014.
The sensational case saw Erin Tanti, 28, then her boyfriend, jailed for the murder, despite having been rescued from beneath the cliff during the search for the two persons.
Tanti was indicted for wilful homicide, assisting a person to commit suicide, participation in sexual activities with a vulnerable, underage person to whom he was an authority figure, as well as creating and possession of indecent images of the underage girl.
Tanti’s trial by jury was due to start on Friday in the court of Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera , but as the trial was about to begin and before the jury had been empanelled, he filed a last-minute admission in order to receive a mitigation in punishment.
In a post on Facebook, Mr Winston Zahra Jr, Ms Zahra’s cousin, reacted to the news and wrote “As a family, from all the evidence we had seen, we always knew this was a case of murder but we could not speak about it due to court proceedings. It is impossible to comprehend what possesses people to carry out such atrocities.”
“Now that Tanti is behind bars for a very long time, we can close this chapter and continue to focus on the work carried out by the Lisa Maria Foundation which we set up with an objective to help safeguard children, most especially through working to ensure that people who have a duty of care towards children are properly screened and checked.”
As a family he thanked everyone for all the overwhelming support we have received over this difficult period.