Pair jailed over ‘bestial’ mugging that broke elderly woman’s arm in three places

The victim had been walking home late at night when a silver car pulled up beside her and a man shouted at her to hand over her handbag

A convicted thief and a former policeman have been jailed over the violent mugging of an elderly woman in Sliema, beating her with a 19cm metal tow hook and breaking her arm in three places.

Miriam Elabed, a 30-year-old woman from Xghajra and former policeman Ramon Abela, 46, from Cospicua had both initially pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated theft, grievous bodily harm and relapsing, when they were arraigned in court in September 2019. 

Elabed alone was also accused of breaching a suspended sentence that she had received in 2017 in connection with another mugging.

The court had heard the victim, a woman from Macedonia, testify how she had been walking home in Sliema late at night when a silver car had pulled up beside her. A man inside the car had started shouting at her to hand over the handbag which she was carrying on her right arm. She refused to surrender the bag, which she had said, held her passport, and started shouting for help. The male robber had then repeatedly hit her with “some kind of metal bar” when she didn’t give up the bag, she said.

The victim suffered severe injuries as a result of the assault, including stitches to her head and an arm broken in three places.

The metal implement used to beat her was described as a cylindrical metal tow hook, that was 19cm long.

The court, presided by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, was shown CCTV footage of the violent mugging, which showed the victim being thrown to the ground and blows raining down mercilessly on her head, face and hands.

After taking her bag, the assailants drove off in the Mercedes. The injured woman walked to her son’s house. She was driven to St. James’ Hospital and was later transferred to Mater Dei Hospital for treatment.

The police had subsequently arrested the two accused after they were identified from the footage and other evidence. During their interrogation, Elabed and Abela both confirmed that they had been together at the time of the incident, but had blamed each other for the violent crime, with both of them claiming to have been in the driver’s seat.

The court noted how they had then bought drugs with the €70 cash they had found in the woman’s wallet.

The victim’s mobile phone, passport and a cheque had also been in the stolen handbag, these were later handed over to the police after someone found them in  Balluta. Abela had also led the police to the Cospicua skip where he had dumped the handbag and wallet, together with the victim’s keys and the tow hook used in the beating.

In sentencing Elabed to 8 years in prison, Magistrate Frendo Dimech described her as “inhuman and cruel, lacking in all moral and civil fibre” who attacked the elderly victim in a “bestial frenzy.” The court also rendered active a two-year suspended jail sentence previously handed to Elabed.

 Abela, who the court noted had stood idly by while Elabed mercilessly beat their victim. was sentenced to imprisonment for 5 years. The court placed both accused under a three-year treatment order.

Elabed was ordered to reimburse €6,000 to the victim, Abela €3,000.

Inspectors Fabian Fleri, Lydon Zammit and Jonathan Ransley prosecuted.