Former Xghajra deputy mayor sent over 46,000 Facebook messages to ex-girlfriend, court told

Former deputy mayor Neil Attard is accused of harassing his ex-girlfriend, after their relationship ended in 2015

A court has heard a woman claim to have received over 46,000 Facebook messages from former Xghajra Labour deputy mayor Neil Attard.

Magistrate Saviour Demicoli was hearing evidence during the case against Attard, who is accused of harassing ex-girlfriend Diane Linwood, his relationship with whom had ended in 2015.  Attard had since been expelled from the Labour party and is now an independent councillor.

Taking the witness stand this morning, the alleged victim said that the accused had not accepted the fact that their relationship was over and had persistently harassed her through Facebook messages, texts and anonymous phonecalls. 

Although the last call she received from him was on November 29, the woman claimed that just a few days ago, he had attempted to contact her through fake Facebook profiles. 

Police inspector Bernie Valletta confirmed that anonymous calls had been made from the accused’s mobile phone.

Linwood claimed that on one occasion, Attard had not hidden the mobile number he was calling from and she had saved his number in her address book as “psycho”.

“He used to threaten me by showing up at my place of work, or turn up outside my house at 1am,” Linwood told the court. On one occasion, the man had also appeared outside her daughter’s school, brandishing a knife .

Last July, Linwood had accepted the accused’s invitation to meet on a beach in Marsascala, with the aim of settling the issue.

Defence lawyer David Gatt, cross-examining the woman, exhibited a number of photos of her in her swimsuit, posing with the accused during that meeting at the beach. Gatt confronted the woman with an SMS which she had sent to the accused a year earlier, in which she claimed to be suffering from bipolar disorder.

The witness admitted to sending the message but insisted that she did not suffer from the disorder, claiming to have made it up as she was frightened that something untoward would happen to her.

Linwood's estranged husband was also summoned to testify today. He told the court that he, too, had received a series of anonymous calls in which the caller would remain silent, adding that after filing a police report, the caller had been identified as Attard.

At the request of the prosecution, the court placed the woman, her estranged husband and their daughter under a protection order.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi appeared parte civile for the woman. Lawyer Veronique Dalli is representing her estranged husband.