Qbajjar murder trial: Witness says he saw accused drive right over victim

The jury were read the testimony of a bystander, who claims to have seen Gerard Galea, 67, run over John Spiteri, 45, who died shortly after

Matthew Agius
27 September 2017, 4:35pm
The jury trying Gerald Galea, 67, for murder were read the testimony of a bystander who claims to have seen the accused run right over the victim.

Galea faces possible life imprisonment for the charge of murder after John Spiteri, 45, died shortly after being run over by Galea in Qbajjar, Marsalforn back in 2013.

Galea is also indicted with the attempted murder of Spiteri’s son, Matthew and with causing thousands of euros worth of damage to the car he was driving, which was not his.

READ MORE Trial of man accused of murder over tamarisk trimming in Marsalforn begins

The fatal incident occurred on the Qbajjar promenade in Marsalforn, Gozo on June 19 2013, at around 3:15pm.

Spiteri and his son had been trimming some trees to allow them to set up a kiosk on the site, when the accused turned up in his car and complained about this. An argument ensued, after which the accused is alleged to have driven around the parking area a number of times before driving at John Spiteri.

Spiteri was dragged underneath the vehicle and admitted to hospital suffering from critical injuries, which claimed his life shortly afterwards. Matthew Spiteri was not injured, having avoided being mowed down by the onrushing vehicle.

Spiteri’s widow was in the courtroom with her two children this morning, as Joseph Asciak’s testimony was read to the jurors this morning.

Asciak, a holidaymaker, had testified in the compilation of evidence before returning to his home in Australia. He had explained how he had been watching a film when he heard a car revving its engine and decided to look out of the window. He saw a man running, tripping up, falling over and being run over by a car.

Asciak said he had shouted for his daughter, a nurse, to accompany him in trying to assist the dying man. At the scene he had also found a young man, who identified himself as the son of the victim. Asciak had restrained the driver as he emerged from the vehicle, as he thought he was going to try and escape.

In his testimony, the witness had said that he was scarred for life and would never be able to erase the horrific scene from his memory.

The accused’s brother, Jude Taddeo Galea, also testified today, saying that he had not recognised his own brother when he had gone to see what the commotion in the parking area was about.

The accused’s face was “like something from a horror movie,” swollen and bearing black and blue marks, “as if someone had tried to strangle him.”

He also saw a man on the ground crying in pain, who was later taken to hospital in an ambulance, together with his brother. He insisted that he had not known the victim, but had recognised his son, Matthew Spiteri, who had bought food from his kiosk in the past.

The accused was not a violent person, his brother insisted. “If he were to see an ant in the road, he would use another road to avoid hurting it.”

A number of other eyewitnesses testified to the fatal incident. One Gozo resident, an English national, recalled being inside her apartment when she heard someone shouting “Good God, he killed him”, and upon looking outside, seeing a man on the ground and an angry young man attacking an older man, whilst bystanders tried to hold him back.

The trial continues.

Lawyers Kevin Valletta and Giannella Busuttil from the Office of the Attorney General are prosecuting. Galea is being defended by lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Jason Azzopardi. Lawyer Joe Giglio is appearing as parte civile for the Spiteri family.

Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...