'He didn't seem to be in trouble': Colleague recounts last moments of 2018 Gozo murder victim

Aleksander Stojanovic has been placed under a bill of indictment for the 2018 murder of Wali Salah Abdel Moteleb Mohamed in Gozo

A court has declared it has seen sufficient evidence to place Aleksandar Stojanovic under a bill of indictment for the murder of Walid Salah Abdel Moteleb Mohamed in Gozo.

The compilation of evidence against Stojanovic, 42, a Serb who lives in Safi, continued on Friday. Stojanovic is accused of the murder of Egyptian father of two Walid Salah Abdel Motaleb Mohamed, who was found shot dead in a remote field in Għarb, Gozo, on January 15, 2018.

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech heard the last man who saw Walid alive, his business partner Terence Zammit, testify this morning.

Zammit told the Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech on Friday that he never thought Walid was in any trouble and that the last thing he did before leaving the man’s apartment on the evening of the murder was give him some beers that he had bought from a nearby bar.

“I had known him for around 18 months. Some eight months before he died, we took on a job together and we were both happy. I did not socialise with him. We were work colleagues, but I never got the impression that he was in any kind of trouble,” Zammit told the court.

Walid, who Zammit said he knew as Willy, worked as a plasterer. He explained that he had spent his last day with him. At around lunchtime, Walid and his two daughters accompanied him to meet a client in Mellieha, after lunch. The client owed him money for a job, he said.

While they were waiting in the queue to board the ferry back to Gozo, Walid had pointed to a grey BMW and told him: “That is the Russian guy I told you about”.

He explained that Mohammed would often receive calls on his mobile from a private number and would speak in English. Afterwards, he would tell him that it was a man who he always referred to as the Russian and who had promised to give him lots of work in construction.

As they were boarding the ferry, Mohammed waved at the man in the BMW and told him he would call him later, Zammit said. In court today, Zammit recognised the man in the BMW as the accused.

Zammit said that when they got to Gozo he went to collect his children and they all went to his apartment in Xlendi. At about 8pm, Mohammed offered to drive his children home and returned to the flat where they spent the evening discussing work, fooling around and drinking beer.

He said that at around 11pm, Walid received a phone call from a private number and he told the caller that he’d see him soon. After hanging up he said it was the Russian man who had called and he left his apartment.

He left at around 11:15 pm but returned a few minutes later with some beers he had bought from a shop next door. Walid dropped them off and left. “He was his normal self. He was not agitated or anything. He did not seem to be in any kind of trouble. I called him some 30 minutes later to tell him not to stay out late as we had to work the following morning but I never saw him again,” Zammit said.

Under cross examination, Zammit said he was shown 12 photographs by the police to identify the person who was driving the BMW.

Several police officers testified about their involvement in the investigation, including when the man’s body was found in a field in Gharb. There were others who assisted court experts obtain footage from various CCTV cameras.

Police inspector Bernard Charles Spiteri also confirmed that the victim had previously been jailed for five months in a domestic violence case. He said Walid was well known to the police due to reports they investigated, mostly over drugs and access to his children.

Spiteri said the victim was found with a sachet of white powder, suspected to be cocaine, in his pocket when he was found.

The inspector said he obtained an arrest warrant for Stojanovic when the police received a tip about his potential involvement. The accused always denied any involvement in the murder.

At the end of the sitting, the court declared that there was enough evidence for Stojanovic to be placed under a bill of indictment.

The case continues in July.

Lawyers Anthony Vella and Etienne Savona from the Attorney General's office prosecuted along with Superintendent Keith Arnaud and inspector Spiteri. Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi appeared parte civile for the victim's family. Lawyers Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb were defence counsel.