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Drowned, Burned, And Thrown Off Cliffs: Malta’s History Of Domestic Violence Will Break Your Heart

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Since July, four women have been murdered in Malta at the hands of someone they cared for, someone who was supposed to care for them.

The issue of femicide in Malta has been brought to the forefront in recent days following the shocking case of sustained domestic abuse leading to a murder by suffocation last week.

This case has shun a spotlight on just how easy it is to murder a loved one in Malta – even if the victim has repeatedly reported you to the police or sought help elsewhere.

A list initially compiled by Yosanne Vella and Josanne Cassar shows, in stark black and white, at least 24 murders that occurred at the hands of a husband, partner, son, nephew, or brother in Malta and Gozo.

1981: Rita Casaletto

Drowned in her residence in Żabbar by her husband. She was found by her daughter.

1993: Diane Gerada

Stabbed to death by her husband at their home in Marsaxlokk. Grazio Gerada, her husband, was given just four years imprisonment due to the court finding that she had provoked him.

1993: Sylvia King

Burnt alive in her car in Rabat after being kidnapped by Joseph Harrington, the husband of a victim of domestic abuse that Sylvia King was assisting.

1999: Jane Vella

Pushed off of a cliff in Munxar, Gozo, by her husband, Ronnie Vella.

1999: Maria Buhagiar

Shot by her brother in Mosta following an argument over burnt toast and a jersey that needed fixing.

2002: Rachel Muscat

Stabbed by her boyfriend Nureddin Bazen after she tried to break up with him at his residence in Għaxaq.

2002: Pauline Tanti

Stabbed by her husband on the doorstep of his mother’s residence. The husband committed suicide shortly after.

2003: Josette Scicluna

Stabbed by her ex-boyfriend at her house in San Ġwann. She was stabbed 49 times, and the murder was witnessed by her son.

2004: Patricia Attard

Shot dead by her by ex-husband Carmel Vella.

2005: Doris Schembri

Stabbed to death while bedridden in St Luke’s Hospital. Her estranged ex-husband, Anthony Schembri, had walked through the hospital hallway, entered her room, and stabbed her to death. Her body was found on the floor.

2009: Lyudmila Nykytiuk

Fell into an empty elevator shaft after an argument with her husband where he accused her of infidelity. She was later found dead in the shaft with an injury to her eye.

2009: Catherine Agius

Murdered by her ex-husband as she got off of a public bus in Tarxien.

2010: Christine Sammut

Shot dead in her car by her ex-partner Kenneth Gafa.

2011: Irena Abadzhieva

Stabbed 40 times by her ex-partner Mustafa Kosurgeli in her apartment in Buġibba. He is still on the run and is being sought by Europol.

2011: Karen Cheatle

Drowned in her apartment in Mellieħa. Her partner, John Agius, committed suicide on a tree outside his house in Mġarr.

2012: Yvette Gajda

Stabbed 60 times by her partner Nandor Marton in their house in St Paul’s Bay. She was stabbed with a pair of scissors.

2012: Margaret Mifsud

Strangled by her ex-partner Nizar El Gadi in her car and later found at White Rocks.

2012: Meryem Bugeja

Found with several blows to head. She was pregnant with twins at the time, and her body was discovered at her home in Mġarr. Her husband was released due to lack of evidence proving her had committed the crime.

2015: Silvana Muscat

Stabbed five times, she was found dead in bed at her residence in St Paul’s Bay. Her husband, Hamid Nour Eddine G Ibrahim, is still on the run. At the time, Ibrahim was under a court order not to contact his wife.

2016: Caroline Magri

Throat allegedly slashed by her ex-partner. She was found dead at her residence in Ta’ Giorni. Her ex-partner had previously stalked her, and is suspected to be behind her murder.

2016: Eleanor Mangion

Murdered in Swieqi by hatchet blows to the head. Her husband dumped her body in a a warehouse in Qormi. They had a daughter of 9 years together, and were undergoing separation procedures.

2018: Maria Carmela Fenech and Antonia Micallef

Sisters stabbed to death in Għargħur by Maria’s son.

2018: Shannon Mak

Her body was found dumped in the street with her throat slashed in Santa Venera. Her ex-partner, who is the main suspect, attacked her after she dropped him off home.

2018: Lourdes Agius

Strangled to death. The mother-of-six was found dead at her house in Paola. Her partner, Michael Emmanuel, was the father of at least two of her children.

What do you think of all these cases of domestic violence?

READ NEXT: ‘Love Shouldn’t Hurt’: Former MP And Family Lawyer Breaks Down Malta’s Domestic Abuse Problem In 11 Points

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