Tanti purchased three boxes of aspirin on eve of Zahra tragedy

Live blog of the compilation of evidence against Erin Tanti, accused of murder and aiding the suicide of 15-year-old Lisa Marie Zahra

Erin Tanti (Photo: Martin Agius/In-Nazzjon)
Erin Tanti (Photo: Martin Agius/In-Nazzjon)
Lisa Marie Zahra
Lisa Marie Zahra
11:05 The testimony is over. The sitting is adjourned for the 18 November. Magistrate Audrey Demicoli asks police to escort Erin Tanti out of court first. Daniel Mizzi
11:04 Spiteri says that Tanti told him he had a headache so he purchased three boxes of aspirin containing 32 pills each. He says Tanti told him that he wanted to keep two boxes extra at home. Daniel Mizzi
10:59 Asked to identify him in the courtroom, Spiteri fails to recognise Tanti but says that "all I know is that it is Erin Tanti". Daniel Mizzi
10:58 Next on the stand is Mario Spiteri, owner of Royal Pharmacy in Republic Street, Valletta, who tells the court that on 18 March, a person - whom he recognises from photos he saw of Erin Tanti - demanded to buy aspirin. Daniel Mizzi
10:58 Nick Zahra says that on his return home from the family home in San Pawl tat-Targa he "wondered what a 23-year-old was doing with a 15-year-old." Daniel Mizzi
10:55 Zahra says he asked his sister several times whether something wrong, “but she was evasive.” He says he thought this was part of a rebellious phase in her life. Daniel Mizzi
10:49 Again under cross-examination, Zahra says that he had seen self-inflicted wounds on Lisa’s thighs and wrists. He says he approached her and asked her about the wounds, warning her that they would scar her permanently. “I don’t know what is normal any longer with people at this age.” Daniel Mizzi
10:48 Cross-examined by Michael Sciriha, Zahra explains that there is a 21-year difference between him and Lisa. Asked whether he was close to his sister, Nick Zahra says this was ‘not entirely the case’ due to the age difference. He says they usually met on Sundays. Daniel Mizzi
10:46 Both Nick and his father Tony were summoned by the police at the Floriana headquarters. “It was a waiting game from then on.” Daniel Mizzi
10:45 His father arrived in Malta later on in the day. Daniel Mizzi
10:45 Nick Zahra says that upon entering his sister's room he found a letter. He read the letter and gave it to the police. He tells the court he did not touch anything else inside the room. Daniel Mizzi
10:43 Zahra says that they went to look for Lisa Zahra by car, called her phone, viewed the CCTV footage, and then the police arrived at the family home to start their search. Daniel Mizzi
10:42 Zahra says that the examined the CCTV footage, but did not see anything. “Till today, we are still at odds as to how she got out of the house.” Daniel Mizzi
10:42 Zahra says he went to Tal-Ibragg to search for Tanti in the hope of finding his sister. Later he filed a missing person’s report, together with Ciangura. Daniel Mizzi
10:41 Nick Zahra says that the next morning (19 March) at 7am, Mark Ciangura called him to tell him that Lisa was not in her bedroom, and neither at home. Daniel Mizzi
10:40 Nick Zahra says he did not tell Lisa Marie about the police report so as to create any commotion. “My father told me to take her mobile phone, but there was a commotion, so Mark Ciangura gave her back the mobile phone. Since she had refused to come over to my house, we didn’t want her to stay alone with the housekeeper. So Bella’s mother Lucy also came home.” Daniel Mizzi
10:39 Nick Zahra went to the family home at 5pm (18 March) where he found Lisa Marie at home in her bedroom. Subsequently he went to the police station to file a police report against Erin Tanti. He then went back home, asked Lisa Marie to go home with him, but she refused. “This was quite unusual since Lisa was usually keen on going to my house.” Daniel Mizzi
10:38 Zahra says that he saw some advert on Tanti’s play, and that this had worried him. He emailed his father Tony, who in turn told him that he was going to catch the next flight home. Daniel Mizzi
10:37 Zahra says he found that it was Erin Tanti, and that he then googled his name. "His name precoccupied me," he says, ostensibly referring to Tanti's antics on the theatre stage. Daniel Mizzi
10:34 Zahra says that after being told by Ciangura of the car outside the family home, he checked the CCTV footage of the house to establish what had happened. Daniel Mizzi
10:33 Zahra says that whenever his father went abroad, his sister would stay at her grandmother's house in Valletta. Daniel Mizzi
10:27 He describes the events of the 18th March, where he says that at 8am he arrived at Europcar where he met Mark Ciangura, the family handyman, who told him that he had seen something strange, having seen a car outside the family home. Daniel Mizzi
10:26 He tells the court that he had a good relationship with his sister. Daniel Mizzi
10:26 Nick Zahra, the victim's brother, is now testifying. Daniel Mizzi
10:17 Mercieca has denied a suggestion from the defence that she was 'like a mother to Lisa Marie', insisting that she did not say that. Daniel Mizzi
10:13 Cross-examined by defence lawyer, Mercieca says she did not see Lisa Marie Zahra much between December 2013 and March 2014. Daniel Mizzi
10:13 Her father Tony Zahra turned to Dr Ethel Felice, who referred him to a psychologist, some time in December 2013. Daniel Mizzi
10:12 The blog featured an extensive reposting of gothic horror gifs and erotica, mostly pinned from other Tumblr blogs Daniel Mizzi
10:11 Mercieca says she was aware of Lisa’s self-harming, and that the school had brought to her father’s attention the photos she posted on her personal Tumblr blog. Daniel Mizzi
10:09 Mercieca, asked by in parte civile lawyer Joe Giglio, says that Lisa was cared for by the Zahra housekeeper, Bella. Daniel Mizzi
10:08 “She was outgoing, active and ambitious. She loved piano and ballet and she dreamt of studying abroad.” Daniel Mizzi
10:08 “Since Lisa lost her mother at a young age, we worked hard to compensate for the loss.” Daniel Mizzi
10:08 An emotional Mercieca describes her relationship to Lisa Marie Zahra as “having been close”. Daniel Mizzi
10:06 “I thought that Lisa Marie had gone out and that she had not returned home: it was the 19 March, a public holiday. As soon as I arrived at the Zahra home, I saw police. I did not enter Lisa Marie’s room but stood outside the door. I remained at the family home in San Pawl tat-Targa until Tony and Nick Zahra were called in by the police.” Daniel Mizzi
10:05 Mercieca says that the victim's brother Nick had told her, on the day of her disappearance, that Lisa Marie was not at home. "I had no idea of what was happening until Nick phoned me in the morning to tell me that she was not at home. I had no idea that something could have happened. [Her father] Tony Zahra was abroad and had to arrive that same afternoon, and I went to the house at 2pm." Daniel Mizzi
10:00 First to take the witness stand is Tanya Mercieca, cousin of victim Lisa Marie Zahra. Daniel Mizzi
10:00 Police inspector Keith Arnaud leads the prosecution. Daniel Mizzi
10:00 Lawyers Joe Giglio and Gianella de Marco appear in parte civile for the Zahra family. Daniel Mizzi
09:59 Tanti is in court, flanked by his father, and a nurse. Daniel Mizzi
09:59 The compilation of evidence against Erin Tanti continues today. Daniel Mizzi

In previous sittings, Tanti was placed under a bill of indictment, after Magistrate Audrey Demicoli ruled that there is enough prima facie evidence against the accused. The 22-year-old is pleading not guilty to the murder and assisting in the suicide of Lisa Marie Zahra.

He is also charged with defilement of a minor, corruption of a minor, abuse of a position of trust, misuse of technology, and possession of indecent material involving minors.