Three charged with attempted murder of Żurrieq jeweller

Woman charged with holdup attacks co-accused in court

Photo: Malta Police Force Communications Office
Photo: Malta Police Force Communications Office

Two men and a woman have been charged in connection with a robbery in Żurrieq which left an elderly man in danger of dying.

The thieves struck a jewellery shop in Żurrieq at 8pm on August 25. The court was told that police officers dispatched to the scene found the front door locked, but could see a man with visible wounds, tied up inside the shop.

Investigations revealed that two people had entered the shop and tied up the 67-year-old shopkeeper, before looting several items and fleeing the scene.

One of the defendants is Donna Sciberras, 29, a familiar name to the police, who had been jailed together with two men in 2015 for stealing jewellery and cash from an elderly man after the gang assaulted him.

Four years later, in 2019, Sciberras, formerly Borg Sciberras, had again teamed up with two male accomplices to assault and rob an elderly wheelchair-bound man.  Borg Sciberras told the court that she was unemployed and lived “nowhere”.

She pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, grievous bodily harm with a sharp and pointed instrument, holding the victim against his will in order to threaten him, aggravated theft and causing voluntary damage worth over €2,500. Further charges relating to carrying a knife in public and using it during the commission of a crime, as well as disobeying lawful police orders.

Donna Sciberras was further charged with breaching bail and recidivism.

The other two defendants hail from Morocco.  Zuhair Hadoumi, 26, a resident of Sliema, told the court he was an electrician and plumber. He, too, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Mohamed Anas Boualam, 37, a construction worker living in Zebbug, also denied the charges.

In the courtroom, while waiting for the sitting to begin, Sciberras suddenly jumped out of the dock to attack a co-defendant, while swearing at him in Arabic. Police officers immediately intervened and briefly ushered the man out of the courtroom, before bringing him back in - this time with police officers sitting between the defendants.

When the arraignment began, Inspector Jonathan Cassar gave the court an overview of what led to the trio’s arrests. He said that Zurrieq police station had received a phone call at around 7:30pm on 25 August about a hold-up. Police officers arriving at the scene had to force the shop’s door open to release the victim, who was rushed to hospital and eventually found to be in danger of dying. CCTV footage led the police to the defendants, who were arrested on Sunday at a residence in Sliema. The suspects had unsuccessfully tried to escape the arresting officers before being taken into custody.

Lawyer Brandon Kirk Muscat, appeared for Sciberras while lawyer Maria Karlsson represented the other two defendants for today’s sitting.

The lawyers did not request bail. Muscat asked the court to order a social inquiry report be drawn up for his client. The court refused, however, saying that this was a matter best addressed by the court assigned to the compilation of evidence.

A protection order was issued in favour of the elderly shopkeeper.

Prosecutors Anthony Vella and Kayleigh Bonnett represented the Office of the Attorney General, assisting Police Inspectors Jonathan Cassar, Shawn Pawney Lydon Zammit and Stephen Gulia.