Libyan murder accused jailed after fingerprints give him away

Murder accused Ismael Habesh jailed for two years after being convicted of stealing a cheque book ten years ago.

A 42-year-old man from Libya who is currently being charged with the 2005 murder of Simon Grech, has been jailed for two years after being convicted of breaking into a car and stealing a cheque book ten years ago.

Ismael Habesh, 42, of Libya, was also found guilty of damaging private property and relapsing after forensic experts found his fingerprints on the scene of the crime.

Alongside 46-year-old Tunisian national Faicial Mabouachi, Habesh is currently pleading not guilty to the 2005 murder of Simon Grech who was stabbed to death in a field in an area known as Is-Salib tal-Marsa.

Magistrate Giovanni Grixti heard that on December 22, 2004, police had received a report that a car parked at the University of Malta in Tal-Qroqq had been broken into. The victim’s cheque book, Air Malta uniform, cash, identity documents, as well as an airport security pass were stolen.

Prosecuting Inspector Ian Abdilla told the court that in an effort to identify the perpetrator, police sought to track down the use of the victim’s HSBC cheque book. Eventually, police discovered that the cheque book was being used by Elaine Rapinett. When questioned, Rapinett told the police that Habesh had given her the cheque book.

Consequently, Habesh was arrested, and his fingerprints matched those found on the victim's car.

Denying the charges, the accused testified that Rapinett had a personal vendetta against him and that her claims were untrue. Moreover, he said that he knows who was behind the theft, but failed, however, to divulge any names.

In its ruling, the court argued that the accused’s testimony did not have bearing on the outcome of the case, and consequently, jailed him for two years after finding him guilty of the charges.

Inspector Ian Abdilla prosecuted, while Magistrate Giovanni Grixti presided.