Charlene Farrugia had been found bruised and bloodied in Bugibba street before disappearance

Police had suspected Farrugia’s ex-partner was violent towards her, and had questioned him, not current suspect John Paul Charles Woods, when she went missing

Some time before she went missing, Charlene Farrugia had been found battered in a Bugibba street, the suspected victim of domestic violence
Some time before she went missing, Charlene Farrugia had been found battered in a Bugibba street, the suspected victim of domestic violence

A few weeks before she disappeared, Charlene Farrugia had been found bruised and battered in a Bugibba street by the police, it has emerged.

At the time, it had been apparent that Farrugia had been a victim of domestic violence after having been involved in an argument with her ex-partner, Illum reported on Sunday.

The newspaper said that, according to its sources, this particular violent incident, allegedly perpetrated by Farrugia’s former boyfriend, had led police to question him after the 25-year-old woman disappeared in November 2008.

However, contrary to what was reported in the press, the police had not spoken to John Paul Charles Woods - who is now suspected to be behind Farrugia’s murder - after she went missing, but to the woman’s former partner, who was not named by the newspaper.

John Paul Charles Woods was not questioned by the police after Charlene Farrugia's disappearance, and did not factor into the case before he admitted to the woman's murder in July
John Paul Charles Woods was not questioned by the police after Charlene Farrugia's disappearance, and did not factor into the case before he admitted to the woman's murder in July

In July, Woods, who was arrested during a hold-up on a shop in Gzira, admitted to police that he had killed Farrugia, and led them to a site in the Valletta bastions behind the Phoenicia Hotel, where he said her body could be found.

The police had subsequently found human remains, believed to be Farrugia’s, at the spot indicated by Woods.

Some time before going missing, Farrugia had been discovered injured in Triq Efesu, Bugibba - the same street she lived in - by the police.

It resulted that her ex, who has had various brushes with the law related to theft and drugs, had caused her the injuries. Consequently, it was the ex who the police had questioned following the disappearance.

Farrugia had refused to press charges against her former partner, and had also been reluctant to go to hospital, but had then had no choice but to be admitted for treatment.

“Woods never factored in the case [at the time Farrugia disappeared], and there was nothing which led us to him,” the police sources told Illum.

“One can’t say that Farrugia’s ex-partner did not remain a person of interest for the police during the time [11 years] she was missing, but, once Woods was arrested, everything changed because we did not even have any inkling about him in relation to this before,” the sources said.

Woods’ track record of domestic violence

Woods has a history of domestic violence, having been found guilty in August 2016 of causing serious injuries to a woman, Josephine Cassar. He admitted his guilt.

In June of the next year, he was also found guilty of having caused serious injuries to Ritienne Cardona. He once again admitted he was guilty of the charge.

Apart from this, Woods’ criminal record also contains several convictions for theft.

Following his arrest last month, he was jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to the hold-up on a Gzira Convenience Store.

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