Pietru Pawl Busuttil, victim of 1986 police frame-up, passes away

Pietru Pawl Busuttil, the victim of a police frame-up of 1986 accused of murdering Raymond Caruana, has died

Pietru Pawl Busuttil freed from charges of murdering Raymond Caruana, celebrating with his lawyer Guido de Marco
Pietru Pawl Busuttil freed from charges of murdering Raymond Caruana, celebrating with his lawyer Guido de Marco

The former mayor of Safi and victim of the police frame-up of 1986, Pietru Pawl Busuttil, has passed away.

The Nationalist Party’s media reported that Busuttil died at the Sir Anthony Mamo hospital.

Busuttil was accused in 1986 of being behind the murder of Raymond Caruana, when police raided his Safi farm and located the alleged murder weapon inside a hut together with a quantity of cannabis.

Busuttil was never found guilty of the crime, which remains unsolved to this day.

Caruana was murdered at the PN’s Gudja club while attending a reception, when aggressors passing by in a car sprayed the exterior of the club with a fusillade of bullets from a semi-automatic weapon.

In comments in 2016, marking the 30th anniversary of the frame-up, prime minister Lawrence Gonzi had said the 1986 murder and subsequent frame-up was the enduring image of the danger to freedom in Malta. “Today, we have all the ingredients for our country to continue move forward. We acquired the culture of freedom ... it is the backbone of this country… People can now open a case against government in court, something which a Labour government had removed,” he had said during an activity marking the event.
During the same activity, Busuttil had recalled in detail what he went through during the years of the frame-up. He said, courage, determination and the late President Guido de Marco had helped him overcome the ordeal.

Recalling moment by moment what happened on the day when police officers had knocked on the front door of his house, Busuttil said he could never predict what was to face him: “They had tried to frame my brother-in-law, but the plan failed when they were caught trying to climb up his farm. Someone then advised them to frame me. I remember passing outside my farm and seeing Lorry Sant. I thought he had come down to carry out plans on road asphalting. But it was the beginning of the plan.”

Busuttil said that on that evening, police knocked on his door and said they wanted to go to his farm: “They seemed to know where to drive to, as I started noticing more cars following us. I immediately noticed something was wrong when I opened the door to the farm. It wasn’t as I had left it.”

He said the police inspector knew exactly where to look at: “He pointed at the hay – which was not there when I left – and asked me to look what was underneath. I refused to touch it – I knew they wanted my fingerprints there.”

Under the hay police found explosives, a boiler suit and bullets, Busuttil said.

A second search in his animal farm revealed a gun.

Busutill said the worst moment of his life was when Commissioner of Police Lawrence Pullicino told him: “Do you know your life is over? Imagine yourself in a boiling volcano...”

When he took the police and a photographer on the roof, Busuttil immediately realised from where the people had got in: “They had probably sprayed my dog to calm her down with an insect repellent. I saw the net on the roof was thorn and scratches on the wall.”

Busuttil said his second worst moment was when the court read out the nine charges he was accused of: “The worst accusation was that I killed Raymond Caruana. I saw Guido de Marco and he hugged me and I cried. It was a nightmare.” 

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