Dembska murder: Accused boasted with inmates about 'tearing up Pole with a key'

Warning: graphic detail follows. Court hears that accused Abner Aquilina boasted with inmates of how he murdered victim Paulina Dembska

Abner Aquilina (left) is being charged with the murder of Paulina Dembska on 1 January 2022
Abner Aquilina (left) is being charged with the murder of Paulina Dembska on 1 January 2022

Warning: graphic detail follows

Abner Aquilina boasted to a fellow cellmate about how he tore into Paulina Dembska's vagina with a key before penetrating her, a criminal court heard Wednesday.

Inspector Jonathan Ransley was testifying in the compilation of evidence against Aquilina, who stands accused of raping and murdering Dembska on 1 January, 2022.

Ransley testified that in January this year, Birkirkara police officers were approached by a CCF inmate, Charlo Cutajar, who wanted to talk to them about his cellmate, Abner Aquilina.

The police were told how Aquilina used to brag about how he killed Dembska by strangling her with a bandage. He also told prisoners, according to this cellmate, how he managed to rupture her vagina before penetrating the victim using a key.

The same prisoner reportedly informed investigators that Aquilina had insisted on negotiating a reduced sentence of 20 years in jail. Inspector Ransley, on the other hand, promptly dismissed this accusation.

The man accused of murdering a young Polish student on New Year’s Day, 2022, burst out laughing while the inspector testified how he was caught masturbating in his prison cell while calling out “that f***ing Pole.”

During cross-examination, Ransley confirmed that investigators discovered vaginal tears and seminal fluid within the victim during the autopsy.  Ransley further stated that during a cell search, a t-shirt with the words “that f***ing Pole” (in Maltese) scribbled on it, was discovered

Finally, the inmates who spoke to the police also said they had heard Aquilina declare he was going to kill his mother, brother, and his lawyer. In response to this, lawyer Mario Mifsud, who is representing Aquilina, urged that a court application be made to have his client transferred to Mount Carmel Hospital for mental health.

Sergeant Brandon Borg from the police forensic laboratory testified on the evidence of eight parcels and two suitcases discovered in a Sliema hostel where Pauline Dembska was staying. Wayne Camilleri from the Homicide Squad, also confirmed the existence quarrel between Abner Aquilina and Charlo Cutajar inside Corradino Correctional Facility.

Camilleri said that according to the cellmater, Aquilina brags to newcomers at CCF about who he is; and recalled an incident when Aquilina undressed, during which he produced his penis to police to show them "what was inside her", and volunteered to bag his sperm for them.

Camilleri also said Dembska greeted the officers at the CCF wearing a t-shirt with a crude depiction of him having sex with the murder victim.

Aquilina's mother was crying in court when the accused burst out laughing, prompting his defence counsel to tell the court: "What can you do? Three psychiatrists have certified him insane."

Police also discovered a diary which Aquilina titled "Abner's Adventures in the Psychiatric Ward", which described the whole homicide, according to what was disclosed during the cross-examination. In the diary, Aquilina wrote that he tore Dembska with a motorbike key before having his way with her. 

Camilleri said the autopsy had indeed revealed a foreign object being placed into the victim's vagina, causing her to tear.

The court will rule on a request by Aquilina's defence to be committed to Mount Carmel Hospital, on 29 March.