Attempted murder victim Vince Muscat asks shooter, ‘Why did you do this to me?’

Vince Muscat, aka 'il-Kohhu', tells court that two days prior to the attempted murder, he and his alleged shooter were drinking coffee at his home.

Victim Vince Muscat 'il-Kohhu' covers his face as he is escorted out of court by police officers on 7 July, 2010
Victim Vince Muscat 'il-Kohhu' covers his face as he is escorted out of court by police officers on 7 July, 2010

The victim of an attempted murder - HSBC bank heist suspect Vince Muscat, aka 'il-Kohhu' - today turned to his alleged aggressor in court and asked him" “Why did you do this to me? What did I ever do to you?”

The remark was made before the sitting against the accused, Jonathan Pace, the owner of Tyson Butcher in Zejtun, who is pleading not guilty to the attempted murder of Muscat.

The incident occurred on the evening of 8 April in Triq Bordin, Qormi, when Muscat – who is one of the men allegedly involved in the heist on the HSBC headquarters in 2010 – was shot while in his car. He then drove himself to the Msida police station with blood gushing from his head before being rushed to Mater Dei Hospital. where he was certified to be suffering from life threatening injuries.

Taking the witness stand against the alleged shooter, Muscat told the court that two days before the attempted murder was carried out, the two were at his home, drinking coffee and chatting together.

Asked by lawyer Arthur Azzopardi, who is appearing in parte civile for Vince Muscat, Muscat recounted that prior to being shot he had just parked his Mitsubishi van outside his home in Bordin Street, Msida. A car then approached him, and a man wearing a mask and a hood got out from the passenger’s side of the car.

Muscat explained that since on that evening he had parked differently from the way he normally does, this had caught the accused off guard.

“Someone then got out of the passenger’s side and started shooting. He was holding a large pistol in his right hand, and as soon as he got out of the car he rolled back his hood, and wore his mask with his left hand.”

“At this point, I recognised the shooter,” he said.

Taking the witness stand, Muscat told the court that as soon as he was shot, he reversed the car onto a wall, and sounded the horn to grab his neighbour’s attention. “I then drove to the Msida police station and told the policeman that I would get them [the aggressors] back and make them pay,” he said.

Asked about the extent of his injuries, Muscat told the court that he had been shot three times in the head, and that as a result he had lost sight in his right eye, with a part of a bullet still lodged in his head.

Cross-examined by defence lawyer Gianella de Marco, Muscat told the court that he got to know Pace at his shop, and that they eventually became friends.

“After I was shot I went to the Msida police station, but when I was asked by a policeman, I did not tell anyone that I knew who shot me. When police presented me with suspects, and Jonathan Pace came up, I told them that it could be anyone but him.

“After a couple of days in hospital, I told the police that it was him, and that I did not tell them before because I feared that he would attack my family.”

Jonathan Pace is also pleading not guilty to firing a weapon in public, keeping an unlicensed firearm, damaging the victim’s Mitsubishi car, threatening Inspector Keith Arnaud and relapsing.

Muscat is a co-accused in the attempted murder of two police officers in the failed bank heist on the HSBC main office in Qormi in 2010. Muscat allegedly fired over 30 shot at the police. He is still out on bail.

Elena Naudi Depasquale was judicial assistant, in place of presiding Magistrate Carol Peralta.

Inspector Keith Arnaud prosecuted, while lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Gianella de Marco were parte civile and defence counsel respectively.