Victim of Rabat abduction threatened with having his fingers cut off and his sister raped

A man who escaped his kidnappers after being beaten and threatened has testified in court against the five men charged with the crime

The prosecution said Christian Borg was the master mind behind the abduction
The prosecution said Christian Borg was the master mind behind the abduction

Carlos Schembri, the alleged victim of a Rabat abduction earlier in January was threatened with having his fingers cut off, and his sister raped, a court heard on Friday.

Testifying in court, Schembri explained how on the day of the incident, he was at his garage in Rabat and saw Jeremy Borg, who ordered him to get out of the car he was in as a van stopped next to him.

Christian Borg, 28, from Swieqi, Thorne Mangion, 27, from Qormi, Tyson Grech, 26, from Isla, Burton Azzopardi, 20, from Bormla and Jeremy Borg, 20, from Qormi appeared in court today accused with the abduction.

All the five accused entered a non-guilty plea. 

Schembri explained how the accused stepped out of the van and started beating him and pulling him from his seat. The accused told him to get out of the car but he refused and fought with them. Eventually he could not resist anymore, and after being beaten and kicked for about 15 minutes, he gave up.

He explained how among the people in the van, there was also Luke Milton. Milton, a business partner of Christian Borg, is yet to be arraigned, as he is currently in hospital. Milton, director of Gold Car Malta, has been recently accused of stealing thousands in crypto currency.

Schembri said the accused kept asking him about a stolen van during a drive to Mtarfa, while keeping him down, so that he would not be visible from the outside. He said he was constantly beaten by Tyson and Thorne.

The van stopped at Kordin, where according to the witness, Borg kept his cars. Borg is the owner of multiple car hire companies and showrooms.

The victim said he was taken to another van and recounted how he was in great pain with a swollen face and injuries to his shoulders and ribs.

READ ALSO: Court denies bail to five charged with abducting man in Rabat

He also explains that he kept being interrogated about the stolen van, with Christian Borg threatening to cut his fingers and that “he would not make it back home.” He also said that Tyson Grech threatened to rape his sister, and that Thorne Mangion broke a tooth of his.

The witness said the keys to his van, his mobile phone and around €1,000 in cash were stolen from him.

He said he kept denying he stole the van and that they searched his phone to find evidence of the theft.

The witness said the accused eventually gave up and they phoned someone else and a car with British plates arrived. He mentioned as well that someone known as ‘Kukku” was mentioned by Chris Borg, as the one who would be dealing with him. The victim denied knowing who this individual was.

Blood pouring down his face

While on the way to the next place, they stopped to fill up the van with fuel and while they were not moving, the victim opened up the backdoor and ran away. He said he ran towards Fgura and arrived at the police station of the locality.

“I didn’t know what was happening and ran as fast as I could. I had blood pouring down my face and coming out of my mouth. I preferred being run over by a car than being captured by them again,” said the victim.

He added how he was told to go to the Paola health centre, for his injuries to be certified. The certificate was exhibited in court and the court noted that slight injuries had been listed. The victim said he is still experiencing vision difficulties in one eye due to the ordeal.

The victim said he saw the accused in a different car, whilst walking back to the police station, but explained that they did not notice him. Eventually he arrived at the police station and asked police to call his mum to pick him up.

The witness said that in the following days, Tyson Grech called his mum and his sister, and messaged him directly on Instagram.

Sven, who is the brother of Burton Azzopardi also tried to make contact with him. The victim presented a pen drive to the court, which he said contained all the information of the calls, chats and messages. He said only Sven and Tyson made contact and he added that his mum was threatened.

Whilst the victim was offering testimony, Jeremy Borg, who was present with his hand in cast, was heard saying to Tyson Grech that he could not hear any more of the testimony, claiming the testimony was all lies.

The victim kept on explaining how he was employed with Christian Borg twice, and that some pending bills were forgiven by Borg on a vehicle he purchased from him. He added that he had also purchased a Mercedes from Borg but it had failed the SPS automotive performance and was checked by the police. Eventually the car was repossessed by Borg.

During the counter examination by the defence, the witness insisted the accused only spoke to him about one missing van. The defence insisted pictures found on the accused’s phone, showed evidence of the theft of the van, with the victim denying this and saying it was another car.

The defence kept insisting that the victim had told the accused about where the missing parts of the van where and at whom they were. They also said that six cars were stolen and that the accused had spoken to the victim about this as well. The defence also said the victim had been let go by the accused, with him denying their statements.

The mother of the victim was called to the witness stand and she recounted how she received a phone call on 21 January at around 5pm from the Paola police station, telling her to pick up her son. She said she found her son beaten and with visible injuries on him.

She explained her son told her he was abducted, and had mentioned the names of Christian Borg, Tyson Grech and Thorne Mangion. The mother identified Christian Borg in court.

She also confirmed she was called by Tyson Grech the day after the abduction at around 3pm, telling her: “Your son is not getting away with it.”

Christian Borg’s defence asked for bail, with Gianella De Marco arguing the gravity of the case should not condition the granting of it. She also said that an investigation was still open and that the co-accused Luke Milton was yet to be questioned.

De Marco also mentioned a MaltaToday clip, where Borg and Milton were seen threatening two men, saying that Borg had been investigated and was eventually liberated from the accusations.

The prosecution argued the accusations were “shocking and grievous” and that the accused acted as police, jury and judge in this incident, and. It also argued that there was fear of evidence tampering and that the accused could make contact with Milton. Karl Muscat from the Attorney General said Christian Borg was the mastermind of the abduction.

Photographer offers bail guarantee

Joseph Camenzuli, a photographer, acted as a third-party guarantee for Borg, saying he knew him for five years and could vouch for him.

The prosecution questioned Camenzuli whether he was aware of the responsibilities and the accusations Borg was facing. Camenzuli insisted on the guarantee. Camenzuli explained how he had handed a report about the six stolen cars on behalf of Christian Borg.

Burton Azzopardi’s lawyer Franco Debono said the prosecution was exaggerating the claims and painting a different story. He also said there was no fear of absconding. The prosecution argued Azzopardi was involved in a violent incident, where had used a knife and that he had breached bail.

Michael Scriha argued in favour of Thorne Mangion’s bail and said it would be “cruel” to keep him arrested. The prosecution disagreed.

Jason Grima, defence lawyer for Tyson Grech and Jeremy Borg said they cooperated and handed themselves in. Grech and Borg are both recidivists.

During the prosecution’s arguments, Jeremy Borg seemed frustrated, leaping out of his seat and approaching his defence.

Thorne Mangion and Burton Azzopardi were released on bail against a deposit of €3,000 and a personal guarantee of €5,000. They were ordered not to approach the witness and his family.

Christian Borg, Tyson Grech and Jeremy Borg’s bail decision has been deferred for 8 February.

Lawyers Giannella De Marco, Gianluca Caruana Curran, Michael Sciriha and Stephen Tonna Lowell appeared for Christian Borg.

Thorne Mangion was represented by lawyers Michael Sciriha and Roberto Spiteri.

Tyson Grech was represented by lawyers Franco Debono and Jason Grima.

Jeremy Borg was assisted by lawyer Jason Grima.

Lawyers Franco Debono Marion Camilleri Francesca Zarb appeared for Burton Azzopardi.

Karl Muscat and Francesco Refalo from the Office of the Attorney General prosecuted.

Lawyers Edward Gatt and Shaun Zammit appeared for the victim.

Once outside of the courtroom, Jeremy Borg allegedly offended the witness and his family.

Magistrate Vella ordered him to get back in court and sentenced him to three days in prison.

She also ordered the Police Commissioner to investigate the case as well.