[WATCH] Hugo Chetcuti told his brother: 'I am in a lot of pain and feel like I'm dying'

Bojan Cmelik, a former employee in one of Hugo Chetcuti’s establishments, appeared in front of Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia on Wednesday morning for the start of the compilation of evidence • He stands accused of murdering Chetcuti

Bojan Cmelik has been driven to court under heavy police escort
Bojan Cmelik has been driven to court under heavy police escort
Man accused of murdering Hugo Chetcuti is in court for compilation of evidence hearing

The man accused of murdering Hugo Chetcuti had walked up to him, called out his name, grabbed him by the neck and stabbed him twice in rapid succession.

Bojan Cmelik then ran all the way to Sliema, evading Chetcuti’s brother, Isaac, who gave chase.

The court heard on Wednesday morning how Chetcuti stood up from the stool, leaned forward and fell to his knees as he shouted, “catch him”.

The vivid scene was described to the court by Isaac Chetcuti and Simon Attard, a project manager with the Hugo Group. Both men were with Hugo when the knifing took place on 6 July (read the blow-by-blow court proceedings in the commentary at the bottom).

Why did he do this to me, I don't even know him? Hugo Chetcuti's words to his brother

"Hugo had his back to the glass of Bacco and was facing the entrance to Seafood and Cocktails. I was on a stool next to him, facing Bacco. From then what I remember is that I heard someone call out 'Hugo’ and I turned and saw the accused approaching him,” Isaac Chetcuti told the court.

Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia started hearing the compilation of evidence against Cmelik, who is being accused of murdering the Paceville impresario on 6 July at around 10.30pm.

Chetcuti died six days later in hospital. His funeral will be held tomorrow at the Christ the King parish church in Paola.

At the moment of the stabbing, Chetcuti’s bodyguard, James Farrugia, known as Gypsy, had just left his side to accompany his sister Cheryle, who crossed over to another establishment.

READ ALSO: Hugo Chetcuti: The legacy and the entertainment empire he leaves behind

The court heard how Farrugia is a security guard at one of the establishments but took care of everything when Hugo went to Paceville.

Isaac Chetcuti, Hugo's brother, gave chase but could not catch the assailant
Isaac Chetcuti, Hugo's brother, gave chase but could not catch the assailant

Isaac Chetcuti told the court that Cmelik was wearing a blue shirt and a yellow cap.

“My brother is well known and foreigners take pictures and shake hands with him and congratulate him, so my brother opened his arms thinking he wanted to shake his hand," Isaac said, adding that it appeared like the man was going to hug him.

“From there I saw his hand move towards Hugo's stomach twice and Hugo slipped from the stool and leaned forward,” Isaac recalled.

It was only on Saturday morning that Isaac managed to speak to his brother at hospital when he was out of his induced coma.

Hugo was asking: “Why did he do this to me, I don't even know him?”

Initial medical results showed that Hugo's condition was getting better but Isaac told the court that when he visited on Sunday morning, his brother was in a lot of pain.

“On Sunday morning at around 8am I went in to talk to Hugo and the first thing he told me was ‘I'm in a lot of pain and feel like I’m dying’.”

Hugo died on Thursday, six days after the knife attack.

Isaac told the court that his brother fell unconscious, while his sister was next to him.

A second operation was necessary and Hugo died while he was in an induced coma.

The court also heard details of the police chase to capture Cmelik and the resistance he offered.

The accused had to be tasered twice before being subdued by police officers in St Helen Street, Sliema, where he was apprehended at around 1.30am.

Bojan Cmelik was taken to court under heavy police escort
Bojan Cmelik was taken to court under heavy police escort

Cmelik was taken to court under heavy police escort and was also wearing a knife vest.

On his way into the courtroom, somebody shouted at him “You shit motherfucker”.

According to police testimony, while Cmelik told police that he had no fixed address, his brother, who also works for one of Hugo’s establishments, said that the accused lived with him.

However, Cmelik’s brother, Adam Milic, said despite living together, he was not on speaking terms with him and tried to avoid him.

A police officer told the court that they picked up Cmelik’s mobile phone, passport and ID card from Milic’s apartment.

The case was adjourned to 31 July.

13:40 Thank you for following. Kurt Sansone
13:39 The magistrate has adjourned the case to 31 July at 11.30am when she is likely to deliver a prima facie decree. Kurt Sansone
13:26 The court is appointing experts to carry out various tasks, including the taking of DNA samples and photographs of the accused for comparison with the evidence already in the hands of the police. Kurt Sansone
13:21 It appears that no more witnesses will testify today. Kurt Sansone
13:21 A man who was inside the courtroom growls towards the accused as he heads for the door: "Thank you, thank you very much.” Kurt Sansone
13:18 Giglio says the incident was "vividly" captured on CCTV, which the prosecution will be presenting at a later stage. Kurt Sansone
13:14 Defence lawyer Ishmael Psaila asks the witness to explain who was standing where and the court provides the man with a paper and pen, asking him to draw it out instead for clarity and expediency. Kurt Sansone
13:13 The family lawyer Joe Giglio appears to be conducting the prosecution. The inspector hasn't said much to the civilian witnesses today. Kurt Sansone
13:13 Attard says that the accused appeared to punch Hugo twice. “Hugo then pushed him and they moved together some paces. Hugo went towards this person and then he leaned on the wall and fell to his knees.” Kurt Sansone
13:09 The witness says the movement was like the accused had been punching Hugo in the stomach. Kurt Sansone
13:08 "Hugo tried to stand up. I didn't see the knife but I saw this person, the killer, make movements towards his stomach. I didn't know he was stabbing him.” Kurt Sansone
13:07 Attard explains to the court what he saw. “The left hand went around the neck. Isaac was behind the man's arm and I was on the other side.” Kurt Sansone
13:04 Attard tells the court that the assailant said something to Hugo but he did not understand what. “It was like he captured him by the neck for a hug. For us it was normal for Hugo to be hugged by many people. He was someone special to us." Kurt Sansone
13:03 "He was well built and wore funny clothing with the hat. The clothing stood out. Kurt Sansone
13:03 "I saw this strange guy coming towards us," Attard says, which prompts Giglio to ask why the use of the word strange. Kurt Sansone
13:02 Attard says that he went out for a cigarette and there was also Hugo’s brother, Isaac, outside. Kurt Sansone
13:01 Giglio asks Attard where he was on the day of the incident. "I was exactly near him. I was attending the soft opening of Hugo's Seafood and Cocktails.” Kurt Sansone
13:00 “I've been doing work for Hugo on and off for 20 years and for the last five years continuously,” Attard tells the court. Kurt Sansone
13:00 The next witness is Simon Attard, a project manager with the Hugo Group. Kurt Sansone
12:55 Isaac recognises the accused inside the courtroom but says that he had not seen him before the incident. Kurt Sansone
12:54 Hugo died on Thursday. He fell unconscious, while his sister was next to him and doctors started working on him. Attard, the surgeon, informed the family that a second operation was necessary. From there he was placed in an induced coma until he died. Kurt Sansone
12:53 “On Sunday morning at around 8am I went in to talk to Hugo and the first thing he told me was ‘I'm in a lot of pain and feel like I’m dying’.” Kurt Sansone
12:52 The witness says the results showed that Hugo's condition was getting better and he reassured the victim. Kurt Sansone
12:52 Isaac says that he asked Mr Attard, a surgeon close to Hugo, to treat him. The second operation was performed by Attard. Kurt Sansone
12:50 At hospital, Isaac did not manage to speak to his brother until Saturday morning when he was out of his induced coma. Hugo was asking: ‘Why did he do this to me, I don't even know him?’ Kurt Sansone
12:49 "From there they told me that Hugo was taken to hospital. I called his son Luke who was abroad and told him to get the first flight back to Malta,” Isaac tells the court. Kurt Sansone
12:49 Isaac tells the court that when he got back to the scene of the crime, there were two police cars and he gave officers the direction in which the man had run off and a description of what he was wearing. Kurt Sansone
12:47 Isaac tells the court that he chased the assailant up to Bobby's tattoo where he was out of breath. "He was too fast for me, so I decided to go back and see what was happening with Hugo and on my way back called 112 and told them that my brother had just been stabbed.” Kurt Sansone
12:46 “In a split-second I realised something was wrong and I went between them and the person ran off towards Hugo’s Pizza and Pasta and Hugo's boutique hotel. Hugo shouted ‘catch him’ and grabbed on to me.” Kurt Sansone
12:44 Isaac Chetcuti says the movements were very fast and short. He recalls how Hugo leaned forward and fell off the stool. Kurt Sansone
12:43 Family lawyer Joe Giglio asks Isaac to describe the motion. "From what I saw it was like he was going to hug him. From there I saw his hand move towards Hugo's stomach twice and Hugo slipped from the stool and leaned forward." Kurt Sansone
12:41 Isaac Chetcuti tells the court that he stood up from the stool and took a step back. "I saw this person grab Hugo from the head. My brother was seated on a stool at the time.” Kurt Sansone
12:40 "He was wearing a blue shirt and a yellow cap. When I saw him, he was near St Rita Steps, near Bar Native, coming to our side. My brother is well known and foreigners take pictures and shake hands with him and congratulate him, so my brother opened his arms thinking he wanted to shake his hand." Kurt Sansone
12:39 "Hugo had his back to the glass of Bacco and was facing the entrance to Seafood and Cocktails. I was on a stool next to him, facing Bacco. From then what I remember is that I heard someone call out 'Hugo’ and I turned and saw the accused approaching him.” Kurt Sansone
12:38 Isaac Chetcuti says that his sister left to speak to someone and Gypsy said he'd go with her. Kurt Sansone
12:37 Gypsy is James Farrugia, the security guard who testified earlier in proceedings. Kurt Sansone
12:36 "There was myself and my sister, Simon the foreman who takes care of the construction at the new hotel. There was also a guy we call Gypsy, Farrugia, if I'm not mistaken. He's a security guard in one of the establishments but when Hugo goes to Paceville, he takes care of everything.” Kurt Sansone
12:35 Isaac tells the court that Hugo was standing with his back to Bacco – another of the man’s establishments. Kurt Sansone
12:34 Isaac Chetcuti says that around 10pm, after eating the lobster, he went to wash his hands and exited the place to smoke a cigarette. Kurt Sansone
12:32 “Because the handyman had spent a long time and missed all the food, my brother said he'd give him a lobster to make up for it.” Kurt Sansone
12:32 Isaac recalls that there was a problem with the electricity on the terrace and a handyman was in contact with Hugo, who was telling him to fix the problem as soon as possible as it was a Friday. Kurt Sansone
12:31 "Hugo invited us to taste the cocktails. We sat down and food started coming for tasting. In between courses we were going outside to smoke,” Isaac tells the court. Kurt Sansone
12:30 Isaac tells the court that he parked at a garage next door to Hugo's hotel near St Augustine Street and walked towards Seafood and Cocktail bar. “I was one of the last people to arrive and as I parked, my sister Cheryle Chetcuti arrived as well. We walked together." Kurt Sansone
12:28 Hugo informed his brother that there was a gathering at his new place for food tasting that night. Kurt Sansone
12:28 Isaac tells the court that he sent his brother a message on the morning that day to invite him to a birthday party for his son. Kurt Sansone
12:24 Hugo Chetcuti's brother, Isaac Chetcuti, takes the witness stand. Kurt Sansone
12:20 Camilleri specifies that one of the taser probes hit Cmelik’s wrist and the other hit his chest. He tells the court that the accused was later tasered in his calf. Kurt Sansone
12:17 Cmelik's motive for the knife attack remains unclear, at this stage. Kurt Sansone
12:16 The atmosphere in the courtroom is one of expectation. Everyone here wants to hear something that will help make sense of the murder. Kurt Sansone
12:16 Camilleri is reiterating most of what has already been said by his colleagues. Kurt Sansone
12:10 Police Constable Joseph Camilleri from the RIU now takes the witness stand. Kurt Sansone
12:09 Three officers were needed to handcuff him. Kurt Sansone
12:08 Vella continues that the accused was tasered again in his thigh to subdue him. “At that time I informed him he was under arrest for attempted homicide.” Kurt Sansone
12:08 Cmelik, who has close cropped hair and a light stubble, is expressionless throughout the testimony. Kurt Sansone
12:07 The police officers sustained slight injuries. Kurt Sansone
12:06 During the arrest Cmelik pulled out a probe and started punching the officers. They again tried to pin him down and arrest him but he was strong and started lashing out with his fists and feet. Kurt Sansone
12:05 Vella tells the court that one of the taser probes hit Cmelik’s hand. He is not sure where the other hit, but as Cmelik bent over the police moved in to arrest him. Kurt Sansone
12:04 “In view of the stabbing report we told him we were going to taser him, as we did. Two probes go out from the taser and deliver electric shocks. My colleagues tased him. He was around two metres away from us." Kurt Sansone
12:04 The officer tells the court he had not seen the knife at that point, but saw him holding something near his stomach. Kurt Sansone
12:02 Vella tells the court that the accused approached them and made as if to grab something from under his shirt. “We spoke to him in Maltese and then in English when he didn't understand.” Kurt Sansone
11:59 Vella says: "When we were passing through Rudolf Street in Sliema, we saw a person matching the description. We went around the corner to face him as he came down to St Helen street. Visually I noticed that his face was covered with sweat as if he had either just run a lot or exerted himself." Kurt Sansone
11:57 Vella tells the court the same story as all the rest about call times, speaking to Isaac Chetcuti, what the aggressor was wearing and other details from the night. Kurt Sansone
11:53 Vella is an RIU officer. Kurt Sansone
11:52 Police Constable Glenn Vella now takes the stand. Kurt Sansone
11:52 The second witness ends his testimony. Magistrate enters her chambers for a brief moment. Kurt Sansone
11:50 Both officers recognise the accused in court today. They tell the court that they spoke to the accused in English at the time of the arrest. Kurt Sansone
11:48 Attard recalls that apart from the knife and holster around his waist, the accused also had two small keys on a keychain. Kurt Sansone
11:48 The police officer is giving a similar account to the preceding witness. He tells the court that the accused had ignored police commands to stop. Kurt Sansone
11:46 Sergeant Attard tells the court that Isaac Chetcuti informed them that he chased the aggressor to Burger King where he lost him. Kurt Sansone
11:45 The occasion was the opening of a new establishment called Seafood and Cocktail. Hugo and his entourage were in front of it. Kurt Sansone
11:44 “Isaac Chetcuti said they had been at a table when Hugo was approached by a male person who stabbed him twice and ran off towards Burger King.” Kurt Sansone
11:42 “On 6 July I was night duty at the St Julians police station. At around 10.30pm-10.45pm we received a phone call informing us of the stabbing.” Kurt Sansone
11:41 The next witness is Police Sergeant Ivan Attard, who is stationed at St Julians. Kurt Sansone
11:40 Cmelik appears alert and following proceedings with interest. Kurt Sansone
11:39 Defence lawyer Ishmael Psaila asks how long the brothers hadn't spoken for. “Between six and seven months. The brother had said the accused worked at Chetcuti's establishments and had been fired but he did not say why.” Kurt Sansone
11:38 He is asked what the person who ran away at the Surfside was wearing. "I can confirm it is the same person." Kurt Sansone
11:37 Family lawyer Joe Giglio asks the sergeant whether, besides the holster, what the accused was wearing. "A dark blue shirt and skin-coloured shorts. We never found his yellow cap." Kurt Sansone
11:35 The police then went to the house and took Cmelik's ID, passport and mobile phone and these were passed on to Inspector Nikolai Sant. Kurt Sansone
11:34 Milic told police that Cmelik lived in the same apartment with him but that he would avoid him. Kurt Sansone
11:33 Milic was not acting normal and was very aggressive, the police officer tells the court. Kurt Sansone
11:33 The police sergeant tells the court that on the next day he was told by Inspector Nikolai Sant to go to a restaurant where Bojan's borther Adam Milic worked. The brother said he hadn't spoken to Bojan for six months. Kurt Sansone
11:32 The people around Hugo gave him a packet of tissues to stop the bleeding. Farrugia told police that they went down calling for a taxi and took him to hospital’s emergency department. Kurt Sansone
11:30 Farrugia told the police that upon arriving at Hugo's Boutique Hotel, he found Hugo holding his abdomen. Kurt Sansone
11:30 The police officer tells the court that Farrugia said he was going with her to check security and when he got there he was told that Hugo had been stabbed. Kurt Sansone
11:27 Farrugia told the police that he was with the victim from 8pm to around 10.15pm. At around 10.15pm, Hugo's sister wanted to go to Baccos, one of Hugo's establishments in the area. Kurt Sansone
11:27 The police sergeant tells the court he spoke to James Farrugia, one of Chetcuti’s bodyguards. Kurt Sansone
11:26 orensic experts took Cmelik's clothes and the knife and holster. Kurt Sansone
11:26 Cmelik gave a urine sample and was certified fit for lockup and taken to police HQ in Floriana. Kurt Sansone
11:24 The police sergeant later went to hospital to check on Hugo Chetcuti's condition. There was court expert Mario Scerri, a medical doctor, there who told him that Chetcuti was in a critical condition and asked that the accused be escorted to hospital so he could be examined. Kurt Sansone
11:23 Axiaq says the accused told the police his name was Bojan Cmelik and he lived on the street. Cmelik told officers: "We'll talk in court". Kurt Sansone
11:22 "I patted him down and felt something hard near his stomach. I found a holster with a knife inside it. We read him his rights and he was escorted to the police station.” Kurt Sansone
11:22 At one point, they were informed over radio that the accused was arrested in St Helen’s street in Sliema. Axiaq tells court that when he arrived, he found the accused on the ground being restrained by two RIU officers. Kurt Sansone
11:20 Police sergeant continues that near the Surfside establishment, he ordered officers to check the shoreline where he was running. “When I was going down the stairs a person matching the description got up from a group of people having a BBQ and ran towards Fortizza and two police officers gave chase.” Kurt Sansone
11:18 “Right near the former Snoopy’s bar we saw many Rapid Intervention Unit officers. One officer told us that they had almost caught him there on the rocks by the sea but he had escaped and kept on running towards Sliema.” Kurt Sansone
11:17 The court hears how the police had immediately driven in the direction where the accused had run off, towards Balluta church. Kurt Sansone
11:15 The police officer says Isaac told them that he had chased the assailant till Bobby's tattoo parlour in St George's road and had returned to see his brother's condition. Kurt Sansone
11:14 The stabbing happened at Hugo’s Seafood and Cocktail, a new establishment. Kurt Sansone
11:14 Isaac Chetcuti gave the police a description of what happened and showed them the place where it happened. Kurt Sansone
11:12 Isaac Chetcuti informed the officers that his brother Hugo had been stabbed and the suspect was still at large. Kurt Sansone
11:12 Axiaq tells the court that he went to the scene with three other officers where he met Isaac Chetcuti, Hugo’s brother. Kurt Sansone
11:10 Axiaq says the police station received a phone call at around 10.30pm that a person had been stabbed several times near Hugo’s Boutique Hotel in Paceville. Kurt Sansone
11:09 The sergeant is from the St Julians police station and was on night watch duty between 8pm and 5am on the day of the stabbing. Kurt Sansone
11:07 Lawyer Lennox Vella is appointed by the court to interpret the witness’s testimony. Kurt Sansone
11:06 Proceedings are being held in English but this witness will be heard in Maltese. Kurt Sansone
11:06 Police Sergeant Sean Axiaq is next to take the stand. Kurt Sansone
11:04 One police officer had a superficial scratch on his right elbow, another three scratches on his lower abdomen and a bruise. All were classified as slight injuries. A third officer had complained of trauma to the nose but there was no bleeding and it was classified as slight. Kurt Sansone
11:04 Pattiniot tells the court that he subsequently treated a number of police officers. Kurt Sansone
11:03 Cmelik was treated for two lacerations behind his ear and had to have an eyewash performed because pepper spray was used while police tried to subdue him. Kurt Sansone
11:02 Robert Pattiniot, a medical doctor, takes the stand. He was duty at the Floriana health centre on 7 July at 1.30am when the police took the accused for treatment. Kurt Sansone
10:59 The courtroom is packed with people and police officers. Kurt Sansone
10:58 Cmelik replies not guilty to the charges. Kurt Sansone
10:57 Accused tells the court he has no fixed address and that he is unemployed. Kurt Sansone
10:52 Inspector Trevor Micallef formally presents the new charges against Cmelik, which now include homicide. Kurt Sansone
10:47 Lawyer Sarah Mifsud is also appearing parte civile for the Chetcuti family alongside Joe Giglio. Kurt Sansone
10:47 The charges were amended today, to reflect the fact that Chetcuti died of the stab wounds. Cmelik now stands accused of murder. Kurt Sansone
10:46 Cmelik appears to be wearing a stab vest. The police are taking no chances. Kurt Sansone
10:45 Cmelik is brought inside the courtroom as someone outside shouts out: “You shit motherfucker.” Kurt Sansone
10:40 A spokesperson for the Hugo Group had told MaltaToday that Cmelik had been dismissed from his job at one of the outlets some eight months ago and there had been no apparent animosity. Family lawyer Joe Giglio later gave the reason for the dismissal - Cmelik was drunk on the job. Kurt Sansone
10:37 The courtroom is one of the smallest and unsuitable for such a high profile case like this. Kurt Sansone
10:31 Lawyer Joe Giglio, who is appearing parte civile for the Chetcuti family has entered the courtroom. Kurt Sansone
10:30 Our court reporter notes how this case is being handled by the district police rather than the homicide squad. Kurt Sansone
10:28 Inspector Trevor Micallef from the district police has entered the courtroom. Kurt Sansone
10:27 A small crowd of people is gathered outside the courtroom. Some may be witnesses, others just friends of the late Hugo Chetcuti. Kurt Sansone
10:26 Legal aid lawyer Ishmael Psaila is inside the courtroom, which is packed with journalists. Kurt Sansone
10:22 Chetcuti was stabbed on 6 July outside one of his Paceville establishments. He died six days later in hospital. Kurt Sansone
10:19 The police had to use a taser to subdue the suspect when he was arrested in Sliema hours after stabbing Hugo Chetcuti. Kurt Sansone
10:15 Suspect Bojan Cmelik has arrived in court under heavy police escort. Kurt Sansone
10:00 Good morning. We will be live-blogging proceedings from court shortly. Kurt Sansone

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