Manipulator who used ‘demon voice’ wreaked havoc over mentally ill woman’s life

‘Demon’ ruse: mentally ill victim powerless inside her own home as daughter’s boyfriend overpowered entire family

The case in question deals with the ruse crafted by a man, who caused a family to believe a demon was overpowering the entire household
The case in question deals with the ruse crafted by a man, who caused a family to believe a demon was overpowering the entire household

This story contains graphic depictions of sexual abuse which some may find disturbing

The victim in the ‘satanic sex’ trial against a man who overpowered a traumatised family, admitted covering up for the accused in a previous testimony in the Court of Magistrates.

The accused is now on trial for forcing her and one of her daughters to perform unspeakable sex acts – allegedly at the request of a ‘demon’.

The woman, who said she suffered from borderline personality disorder, told Madame Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera that she had previously decided not to tell the truth in court, because she had received a call from her youngest daughter who was threatening to kill herself if she did, minutes before taking the witness stand.

The trial of the 22-year-old man, indicted for, amongst other offences, aggravated rape of his girlfriend’s vulnerable mother and forcing her and her two daughters to perform sex acts against their will, entered its second day on Tuesday morning.

The names of the parties and the witnesses are being withheld at the court’s orders. The woman’s eldest daughter testified yesterday.

The accused started dating her youngest daughter when she was just 14, until the end of January 2019, and then lived with them for a time.

“In the first 3 months he was very nice and very easy-going,” the witness recalled, before he became increasingly demanding. “He started dictating what to do, commanding us. He would command me to clean, shouting, telling me to cook. He was in charge around the house.”

She described the accused as possessive of her daughter, having hit her in the face and sometimes not even allowing her to go to school.  On one occasion they went to eat out and he had started shouting at her because the waiter looked at her a certain way.”

Unemployed, the accused would not contribute financially at all to the household.

‘Demonic’ ruse

The witness said that one night on 15 August, 2018, she was woken up at 11pm in her bedroom, in which both her younger daughter and the accused were also asleep – they shared the same mattress.

“I felt water on me, I started to think ‘what on Earth is this water?’ Then I got hit with a shoe repeatedly.... [the accused] started to shout ‘what is happening?’… I wanted to go to the toilet but a voice told me to use the balcony instead. I thought ‘my goodness… I have a spirit here’.”

The victim said the accused appeared to be asleep at the time, but said she heard a voice telling her the accused was very powerful and “had seven spirits with him at all time”.

She added that she saw that her daughter was very afraid too. “The voice ordered me to kneel down and say the Act of Contrition and then ‘do what was expected of me with my husband’.”

The woman did so the next day in the children’s bedroom. “Then I heard a low voice tell me ‘I am happy that you did what was expected of you… The voice had spoken in Maltese.”

The witness said that on other occasions, her daughter, husband and herself were present when the voice spoke. “But when [the accused] was out of the house at football training, there was calm inside and no voices were heard.”

She also said ‘the voice’ would order her young daughter to punch her. “I would allow her because I would see [accused] giving her a sort of look…”

She said on one occasion the accused ‘excused himself’ to go into a room alone “and speak with the spirit” and later emerged with news of having struck a deal with the ‘demon’. He then proceeded to command her to perform servile tasks, order him food from fast-food outlets, and when she would complain the accused would say: “I’m sorry but this is what the spirit has commanded me.”

The victim then said that in September 2018, the ‘demon’ started whipping her while ordering her to undress. On the witness stand, she made an impression of a spooky whispering voice. “Tonight, I will punish you,” she said.

Then he ordered both mother and daughter to drink whisky; and later coaxed her into performing sexual acts with a broomstick, together with a male ‘family friend’ – ostensibly her lover. The ‘voice’ then ordered them to get dressed, and when the mother disobeyed an order to turn off the bedroom light, the accused told her: “I’m sorry but I’m going to have to suffocate you.”

She was beaten and suffocated, but right after the aggression stopped, the woman caught a glimpse of the accused running out of the room. She confronted him but the accused claimed he had been in bed at the time.  Her other daughter, the accused’s girlfriend, had backed him up.

In another incident, the eldest daughter was ordered to sexually abuse the mother with a broom handle, which the daughter refused. When the accused ‘offered’ to do it himself at the behest of the ‘demon’, he used great violence, and then repeated the action on the victim, rectally.

Both mother and the elder daughter were beaten and whipped, but not her youngest daughter, that is, the accused’s girlfriend never was, observed the mother. “My back and legs were purple. I turned to look at him and bang! I was hit in the eye. I had a black eye as a result… He was holding me hostage and taking my money. I checked my internet banking and found most of my salary missing. The voice ordered me to withdraw the rest from an ATM and put the money on the shelf or it would ‘box my daughter in the eye’.”

When the cash later subsequently ‘disappeared’ from the shelf, she was told it was the work of the ‘demon’.

The victim said she deliberately overdosed on medication to be able to admitted to Mount Carmel mental health hospital, claiming that the accused did not allow her to leave the house.

She said she smuggled a cordless phone into the toilet, locked herself in, called an ambulance, because the accused had seized her mobile phone. She said the accused would claim to receive anonymous calls on his mobile phone from the spirit. Her husband – who later left the household – installed a call recorder app to record the spirit. “But the accused kicked up a fuss when he found out, because, he said, the spirit sounded like him. The husband had then smashed the mobile phone in a fit of anger.”

The accused owned a dog, allegedly purchased for €700, which the victim said would defecate everywhere inside the house. “It happened right after the spirit told me to put €700 on the stairs. I had asked my husband to get me the money, but he couldn’t that night.” The woman was struck in the eye by the ‘spirit’ for her disobedience. The next day the husband brought the cash.

Mother ‘dabbled in occult’

The mother even admitted having dabbled in the occult, apparently performing Magick acts some 15 years before, having been addicted to the consult of fortune-tellers, using a Ouija board with her husband, and also purchasing allegedly haunted dolls from the internet. “I would talk to them in the hope that they would talk to me…. Only one spoke to her, she said. ‘It would always tell me ‘no’, ‘no’. I suspected that it was some kind of gimmick’.”

In 2013, she says she had cursed a neighbour “who had spread a malicious rumour that caused us a lot of damage.”

Mount Carmel stay

The victim said a priest she had opened up to had only told her to pray at their house, never advising her to see a doctor.

The victim said she had asked a priest celebrate mass in the house, claiming objects in the house were flying around; but that she was unable to attend since she needed treatment at Mount Carmel hospital at the time.

After spending a month at Mount Carmel, the woman returned to her home.  All was quiet and no supernatural happenings took place, she said. She said her youngest daughter and the accused would go to their room. “They were always in a bad mood. He would be on his PlayStation, she would be on her mobile. She would skip school regularly.”

The accused moved in because he claimed his mother told him that if he kept on dating the daughter, he was not welcome at home. The victim said he boasted that her daughter “liked rough sex.”


Cross-examination by defence

Cross-examined by defence lawyer Mario Mifsud, the victim felt that her daughter’s “obsessive” relationship as “very good”.

“I was suffering from depression at the time. Today I realise that obsessive possessive relationships are not good. When I testified the first time I was traumatised and my memory was blocked.”

Before testifying the first time before the Court of Magistrates, she said she had received a panicked phone call from her daughter, who threatened to commit suicide if the mother didn’t cover up for the accused. “I did what I could to cover everything up. My daughter’s life always comes first.”

She said her husband left home because “he was afraid of the spirit.”

She said that at home she kept a vibrator and handcuffs as sex aids; claimed she had witnessed a television set moving by itself; and described the alleged lover in the saga, as a man “obsessed with her” who had gifted her €100 when her own husband refused to give her the money.

The defence lawyer made reference to two videos, part of the evidence of the case retrieved by a court expert from the accused’s girlfriend’s mobile phone.

A video filmed in the car shows the victim talking about the ‘demon’ voice ordering her not to go to work. “It’s just [the accused]” – one of the daughters is heard saying. “Sometimes I have suspicions….”

The husband is heard saying he is upset about her missing work. “It’s the spirit” – she says. “It’s not the spirit,” the husband answers. “You are a mother with a family.”

“I will go to work, then.”

“Or I will call your father and tell him that his daughter is…

“How are you going to pay your debt? Don’t put it all on me.”

“Who is sticking the broom up you, that’s who you like.”

“Other people are living well and going abroad. What do you have? You just want to hate and curse other people,” the husband tells her. The victim replies: “Why are you leaving me to raise the children?”

The conversation happened on 11 December 2018, and the defence lawyer pointed out that it was the victim who had wilfully allowed the accused in her own home.

“My daughter would make a massive fuss,” she pleaded.