Man jailed for 36 years after admitting to murdering his mother and sister in 2019

Joseph Bonnici pleaded guilty to murdering his mother Maria Lourdes and his sister Angele in 2019

A man has been sentenced to imprisonment for 36 years after he admitted to having murdering his mother and sister three years ago at their Għaxaq home.

Joseph Bonnici’s lawyers entered a guilty plea to avoid a trial by jury and possible life sentence.

Bonnici, now 41, had been charged with having murdered his mother Maria Lourdes and sister Angele on March 26, 2019. The charges he faced included wilful homicide, unlicensed possession of a firearm, concealing the traces of a crime, and hiding the victims’ bodies. 

The victims’ bodies were later found buried in a field by scene of crime officers. The court heard how they had been rendered unrecognisable by the gunshot wounds and had plastic garbage bags wrapped around their heads.

During the compilation of evidence, the court heard disturbing details of how the man had meticulously planned the double-murder, manufacturing a silenced firearm for this purpose and purchasing a jet wash cleaner to destroy any forensic evidence.

Although eventually indicted for the murder, Bonnici had always protested his innocence, with his lawyers submitting preliminary pleas to his trial.

However, he recently changed his plea to one of guilt, after a plea bargaining exercise with the Attorney General after which a prison sentence of 36 years was suggested by both prosecution and defence.

After taking judicial notice of the request, and warning the man of the consequences of his plea, Mr Justice Aaron Bugeja, presiding the Criminal Court, declared Bonnici guilty, condemning him to a 36-year jail term and a fine of €18,909.91. The court also ordered the confiscation of all weapons and vehicles registered to the man, revoking his firearms licence and banning him from ever holding a weapons licence again.