Assaulted widow frustrated at lack of police protection

Relatives says the police tried to downplay victim's statement, did not intervene when the threats started again.

A 34-year-old man from Mgarr and two women from Hamrun, aged 37 and 19, will be arraigned in court in the coming days after they allegedly assaulted a woman in Hamrun on Wednesday night.

Muna el-Dawoud, 45 of Marsaxlokk, suffered a broken lip and bruises to her head and back in an argument that broke out in Logga Street at around 9.15pm. The police confirmed el-Dawoud was conveyed to Mater Dei Hospital by ambulance for medical treatment and was certified to be suffering from injuries of a slight nature, save complications.

El-Dawoud was released from hospital the following day.

Meanwhile, the 34-year-old man and the 37-year-old woman were also taken to the Floriana health centre for medical treatment before they were interrogated by the police. The teenager suffered no injures.

“The 34-year-old and the 37-year-old were immediately arrested and interrogated by the police. Charges were issued against the male and the two females and they will be arraigned in court in the coming days,” a spokesperson for the police confirmed.

But el-Dawoud, a Maltese national and a widow, says she is living in fear and cannot bear the thought of spending the night alone at her home in Marsaxlokk.

El-Dawoud lost her husband four years ago but has a 26-year-old son. Problems with the 34-year-old man allegedly started on Monday when he claimed el-Dawoud and her husband owed him €5,000 for work carried out 10 years ago.

The couple used to own a restaurant in Rabat and the man had worked with them as a bartender.

Speaking to MaltaToday, el-Dawoud explained that the 34-year-old called her on Monday demanding the money. “I told him he should take the matter to court if he really believed we owed him the money he claims he should have received 10 years ago,” she said, adding that he had threatened her over the phone, “I will show you what court is”.

El-Dawoud decided to file a police report, but by the time she got dressed and left the house, the 34-year-old made it just in time to where she lived. He blocked her car with his own and walked towards her car.

“I remained inside the car and he started shouting and banging on my car. He dented two doors, the mudguard and broke a side mirror. I was terrified,” she said.

The damages to the car were estimated at €2,100.

After the first attack, El-Dawoud filed a report with the Birzebbugia police station. According to her relatives, the aggressor was called in by the police but was later released. A police report was drawn up.

Following the attack, the woman feared spending the night alone at her home. So on Wednesday, she decided she had to do something.

“I couldn’t live in the fear that he would come and find me again. So I decided I would go talk to his girlfriend’s mother, thinking she could help him reason. But someone informed him I was there as soon as I arrived,” el-Dawoud said, admitting that with hindsight she shouldn’t have gone.

“But I was scared living under my own roof! I thought we could reason things out.”

Soon enough, the 34-year-old man, his girlfriend and her sister found her and allegedly started hitting her and throwing stones at her. The details, el-Dawoud added, are not clear as she fainted and couldn’t remember exactly what happened.

Her relatives however expressed frustration at how the police “handled the case”. They said the officer who visited her at the hospital “tried to downplay her statement” while her son insisted an officer did nothing when the alleged perpetrators started threatening her once again.

“In front of the police officer he told me he would kill her if she didn’t give him the money while his girlfriend started shouting she had been the one to hit my mother,” 26-year-old Ali Moussa said. “Instead the officer asked me to leave because he claimed I was making his work more difficult.”

While el-Dawoud and her relatives feel that the police did not offer the necessary protection, questioning why the alleged aggressor was not behind bars, the police told MaltaToday that the necessary action was taken and he, together with the two other women, will be charged and arraigned in court.

Informed sources confirmed that both reports were immediately drawn up and charges prepared for the arraignment.

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