Ex-boyfriend spontaneously confessed to murdering Shannon Mak, court told

22-year-old Jelle Rijpma allegedly told police he had grabbed a knife during an argument between the two and slashed the woman’s throat on the street

Accused Jelle Rjipma
Accused Jelle Rjipma

Jelle Rijpma, the 22-year-old accused of the murder of Shannon Mak earlier this year had spontaneously confessed to the murder whilst being interrogated, a court has heard.

Rijpma, who is currently accused of murdering his Dutch ex-girlfriend had allegedly told police how, he had grabbed a knife during an argument between the two and slashed the woman’s throat on the street.

Magistrate Simone Grech heard Superintendent Raymond Cassar testify to the sequence of events which led to the fatal stabbing.

Shannon Mak (Facebook)
Shannon Mak (Facebook)

Cassar told the court that his role was coordinating the investigation into the gruesome discovery of the body of a female, lying on her side in a pool of blood between a parked car and a wall in Triq il-Mastrudaxxi on August 3.

Three inspectors were assigned to investigate as the site in the narrow street was cordoned off to preserve the evidence, with the inquiring magistrate ordering the retrieval of all CCTV footage of the scene.

Later that afternoon, police investigations zeroed in on Rijpma, who lived around the corner from the place where the victim’s body was discovered.

Superintendent Cassar testified that he had been present in Inspector Kurt Zahra’s office where the man was being questioned. In the presence of the two officers, after being cautioned, he had blurted out : “I freaked out,” going on to say that the night before he had been arguing with his girlfriend. After Rijpma succeeded in getting her to leave the flat, she had returned some time later to continue the argument.

At that point the accused had grabbed a knife and chased the woman on to the street, slashing her throat and leaving her for dead.

The witness’s deposition was briefly suspended as defence lawyer Leontine Calleja objected to the mention of the ‘spontaneous admission’ allegedly made by the accused, arguing that at that stage the man had not yet been given his rights and had no lawyer present  - therefore his statement was inadmissible in evidence.

But parte civile lawyer Stefano Filletti put countered that argument, pointing out that the police could not stop an arrested person from “blabbering out information” without being asked to do so.

The suspect had been cautioned twice, first at his home upon being arrested and later at the police depot where he had even signed a form, before speaking out without being questioned, the court was told.

Today’s sitting also saw the Head of Human Resources at Evolution Gaming confirm that both the victim and the accused had worked at the company. Mak had been promoted twice since 2015 to the post of senior customer support representative.

Her former boyfriend, Rijpma, had been employed as game presenter since 2016, the witness said.

The compilation of evidence continues in December.

Inspectors Kurt Zahra and Robert Vella prosecuted. Lawyer Leontine Calleja is defence counsel. Lawyer Stefano Filletti is appearing parte civile for the victim’s family.

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