Farmers recognised man who held them at knifepoint ‘from his big brown eyes’

Farming couple insist Maximilian Ciantar held them up at knifepoint

Maximilian Ciantar
Maximilian Ciantar

The compilation of evidence against Maximilian Ciantar continued this afternoon with Magistrate Aaron Bugeja hearing the testimony of a couple who Ciantar and another man had allegedly tried to rob last Easter.

Two men, one brandishing a knife, attacked the couple, who had been milking the cows at around 4am on Easter morning at their farm in Dingli.

“All of a sudden the dogs started barking, and a short while later I had the fright of my life when one of the thieves started chasing me with a knife, but luckily I managed to evade by hiding in the fields,” the farmer said.

The wife had remained rooted to the spot, however and was punched several times by one intruder who had been wearing a crash helmet. The other intruder’s face had been covered with a scarf.

“He kept insisting for money and became agitated when I told him I had none to the point that he asked me to pull down my trousers to check if I was saying the truth”, she said. The would-be robber fled empty-handed when around 15 minutes later the police turned up, having been summoned by her husband.

€1,100 which the farmer had been carrying in his wallet, were left untouched.

Both witnesses told the court that the thieves slashed two of their van’s tyres as well as taking the keys.

Ciantar, a 26-year-old career criminal, is pleading not guilty to attempted aggravated theft. Darryl Anthony Anderson, 19, is being tried separately for the same offence.

On several occasions, the Magistrate asked both witnesses how they had recognised their attackers.

The husband insisted that he recognised the accused as the person who chased him with a knife from his “big-brown eyes”, later adding that the accused’s posture and stature were also identical.

The female victim also told the court that she had recognised the accused from his eyes.

The magistrate pointed out that the description was somewhat generic, pointing out that he, too had big brown eyes. But this did not shake the woman’s certainty that one of the burglars was the man in the dock.

Lawyer Joe Brincat is defending Ciantar. Police inspector Neville Mercieca is prosecuting.