Woman beaten with metal bar for her handbag, court told

Two men have pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated theft and grievous bodily harm, in conjunction with the assault of a woman with an metal bar

A court has heard how two people viciously assaulted a woman with a metal bar in a bid to steal her handbag on 10 May in Manuel Dimech Street, Sliema.

Miriam Elabed, an unemployed 26-year-old from Xghajra and former policeman Ramon Abela, 43, from Cospicua both pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated theft, grievous bodily harm and relapsing. Elabed alone was accused of breaching a suspended sentence.

The testimony of the Macedonian victim, who suffered a broken arm in the attack, was heard today with urgency as she needed to go abroad for surgery. The witness, her arm in a cast, testified by video conferencing, as she was too scared to face the accused.

She came to Malta in March to see her son’s baby, she said.

She had been walking home in Sliema after midnight on Friday when a silver car pulled up beside her. A man started shouting at her to give up the handbag which she had on her right arm. She didn’t want to surrender the bag which held her passport and started shouting for help, said the woman. The male robber started hitting her with “some kind of metal bar” when she didn’t give them the bag.

She had injuries on the left side of body, head and hand, the woman went on, explaining that the assault left her with five stitches on her head and an arm broken in three places.

The blow to the head had affected her recall of the minutiae of the events, she said, but added that she was sure that it was a man who had assaulted her, as the voice was male, she said.

Shown a live feed of the courtroom, the woman did not recognise the accused.

The defence reserved the right to request bail at a later stage.

Lawyer Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri appeared for Elabed. Lawyers Ryan Ellul and Andy Ellul appeared for Abela.

Inspectors Fabian Fleri, Lydon Zammit and Jonathan Ransley prosecuted.