Former deputy mayor allegedly threatened ex with burning her daughter alive

Neil Attard was already found guilty of harassment and sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for three years

Labour deputy mayor Neil Attard
Labour deputy mayor Neil Attard

The former deputy mayor of Xghajra, Neil Attard, has been charged with threatening his former partner and causing her to fear that violence would be used against her.

Attard allegedly threatened his ex-partner with burning her daughter alive unless she refrains from ending their relationship.

Last year, Attard was found guilty of harassing, causing fear of violence and threatening his former partner, in a judgment was handed down in December 2014.

Taking the witness stand, the woman told the court how the couple had entered into a relationship in 2013. However when she tried to end the relationship, Attard resisted the break-up and kept messaging her. "He sent thousands of messages including threats, through SMSes and Facebook and other media. At one time he threatened he would burn my daughter alive if I did not stay with him," the victim claimed.

In May 2015, the witness met the accused on a boat berthed at Marsaxlokk belonging to Attard's father. The woman insisted on ending the relationship but Attard argued with her and tried to convince her to join him in the cabin. When she rejected the offer, Attard emerged with a bread knife and threatened her.

Terrified and in tears, the victim ran to her car but the accused caught up with her and took her car keys. When passers stopped to aid her, Attard handed back the keys.

Appearing for the victim, Dr Jason Azzopardi exhibited recordings of conversations between the two parties and requested the court for transcriptions. Dr David Gatt is representing the accused.

Previous judgment

In December 2014, Magistrate Doreen Clarke gave Attard a four-month prison sentence, suspended for three years for harassment and threats towards his former partner. He is appealing the decision.

The court had heard how the crimes were committed after Attard’s former partner decided to terminate her relationship with him, the father of her child.  The former partner explained that Attard did not want to accept the fact that the relationship had ended and even used their daughter to get to her. When the woman insisted that she did not want to get back into a relationship, he would insult and threaten her with her life.