Murder suspect Abner Aquilina raised the middle finger at onlookers and journalists gathered to see him hauled into court.
Sat between police officers in a police vehicle, Aquilina can be seen sending the offensive gesture as he approaches the crowd right before the vehicle turns and drives behind the court’s gate.
Shortly afterwards, he pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges, including the murder of Paulina Dembska, holding her against her will, and forcing her to perform acts against her modesty.
@lovinmaltaofficial The national broadcaster just about managed to capture the moment last night 👀 #fyp #fypmalta #lovinmalta #malta #abneraquilina #valletta #tvm ♬ original sound – Lovin Malta
Dembska, a 29-year-old Polish national, was murdered on 2nd January at Independence Gardens, Sliema, where she used to feed stray cats.
Lovin Malta has revealed how Aquilina told investigators that he was a “soldier from God” and was acting upon the orders of “frequencies” in the lead up to the murder.
Just half an hour before his arrest, Aquilina allegedly appeared at the Balluta Church, which is close to where Dembska was discovered. He reportedly approached the altar and caused a scene, overturning some seats.
The murder has shocked the nation, with many pointing to the country’s long-standing issues with femicide and violence against women as directly leading to these kinds of incidents. However, others have placed further emphasis on the mental health issue in Malta.
Several women have also claimed they were harassed by Aquilina, with Lovin Malta receiving numerous screenshots from messages sent by the murder suspect.
Meanwhile, a woman detailed how she and a friend were confronted by an erratic Aquilina when she visited Xrobb l-Għaġin on New Year’s Eve.
Police have asked women who claimed they were sexually harassed by Aquilina to come forward and file an official complaint, pledging to take it “very seriously”.
If you or someone you know needs to talk about their mental health, please call national support service 179. Alternatively, visit www.kellimni.com; the Richmond Foundation’s OLLI.chat to get in touch online; or the Kif Int? website.