Jeremie Camilleri admits to murdering Pelin Kaya, in plea deal with Attorney General

Jeremie Camilleri pleads guilty to murdering Pelin Kaya in January 2023

Jeremie Camilleri (left) pleads guilty to the wilful homicide of Pelin Kaya (top right) after running her over in Gżira with his black BMW that also smashed into a KFC restaurant
Jeremie Camilleri (left) pleads guilty to the wilful homicide of Pelin Kaya (top right) after running her over in Gżira with his black BMW that also smashed into a KFC restaurant

Updated at 10:20am with parte civile statement

Jeremie Camilleri, the man accused of the murder of Pelin Kaya, has admitted guilt to all charges, in what is understood to be part of a plea deal reached with the Attorney General.

Kaya, an interior designer from Turkey, was killed when she was struck by a BMW X6, driven by Camilleri, in Gzira on 18 January 2023 - the day of her 30th birthday.

When the case was called this morning, lawyer Alfred Camilleri informed the court that his client wished to change his plea. He explained that the parties had reached an agreement that the defendant would be pleading guilty.

The magistrate asked Camilleri whether he understood that he was pleading guilty to all the charges, including that of murder. “Yes,” replied the man in the dock.

“That crime carries with it the punishment of imprisonment for life,” warned the court, before adjourning the sitting briefly to give Camilleri time to discuss his plea with his lawyers.

“Yes, I confirm,” replied the defendant, when asked a second time by the court.

After confirming Camilleri’s admission of guilt, the acts of the case were sent to the Criminal Court for sentencing.

The murder of the young woman sent shockwaves across the Maltese islands. CCTV footage of the incident that went viral showed a black BMW X6 careening headlong into the Gzira KFC outlet, next to the Paul & Rocco petrol station. Kaya, who had been walking next to the petrol station, was hurled several metres forward by the violent impact.

Cameras captured the driver, who was later identified as Camilleri, emerging from the vehicle and assailing passers-by, before throwing pieces of rubble at the victim as she lay on the ground.

Camilleri had to be tasered twice by police officers before he could be taken into custody. Drug tests revealed high levels of cocaine and alcohol in his bloodstream.

The Toulouse-born accused had been arraigned in January 2023, and was charged with 14 offences in total, the most serious of which were wilful homicide, inflicting grievous injury leading to death, grievously injuring a second woman and slightly injuring a man. The other charges he faced included dangerous and reckless driving, driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, violently resisting arrest and attacking private citizens.

'A wound is a wound'

Speaking to journalists outside the courthouse on Monday, lawyer Shazoo Ghaznavi, representing Pelin Kaya's family, give a brief statement on behalf of the family. 

In a first reaction to the guilty plea, Ghaznavi said the family is still in pain. "They want their daughter back. With or without an admission, their daughter won't come back," he said. 

With the case now at a close, Ghaznavi said the family can spend time away from Malta and heal from their loss. The family had been coming down for each court sitting since the murder. 

Lawyers Kayleigh Bonnett and Nathaniel Falzon from the Attorney General’s office are prosecuting, together with Police Inspector Kurt Zahra.

Lawyers Alfred Abela and Rene’ Darmanin are assisting Camilleri.

Lawyer Shazoo Ghaznavi is appearing for the victim's family, together with lawyers Charlon Gouder and Ramona Attard.