Middleman in Malta journalist’s murder found with knife wounds

Melvin Theuma, self-confessed middleman in killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia, critically injured ahead of court date.

National protest calling on Malta''s PM Joseph Muscat to resign immediately and face prosecution, in light of revelations on the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
Caruana Galizia was a blogger and journalist who became known for exposing corruption and writing cutting articles about the ruling Labour Party [File: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters]

A self-confessed middleman in the murder of Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been rushed to hospital in what police suspect is a suicide attempt.

Melvin Theuma, a former taxi driver, was in critical condition on Wednesday with serious knife injuries to his vocal cords and abdomen, authorities and local media said.

Malta’s police said: “First indications are that Melvin Theuma self-harmed, but investigations are continuing,” in a statement.

Police said Theuma was found late on Tuesday in a pool of blood at his residence by officers who were mounting a round-the-clock guard outside. They were alerted by Theuma’s lawyer who said he could not reach him by phone.

Journalist’s murder

Theuma was granted a presidential pardon in November to reveal all about the car bomb murder of Caruana Galizia, which shocked the Mediterranean island in October 2017.

The blogger and journalist was known for exposing corruption and writing cutting articles about the ruling Labour Party. She was killed by the bomb, which detonated as she drove away from her countryside home.

Theuma’s evidence so far has implicated top businessman Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind, who was arrested in late November last year and accused of complicity in the murder.

Theuma was due to continue testifying in court on Wednesday in the case against Fenech.

In evidence so far, Theuma has alleged he was paid by Fenech to contract three men – currently under arrest – who carried out the bombing.

He also described how he has since lived in fear for his life and how he had once gone to a seminary for confession.

“My life ended at 3pm on October 16, 2017,” he told a magistrate, referring to the time and date of the journalist’s murder.

Fenech is awaiting trial and denies the charges. His lawyers have cast doubt on Theuma’s testimony and claimed they have an audio recording which will prove the former taxi driver has not confessed the whole truth.

Fenech claims his friend Keith Schembri was the real mastermind behind the journalist’s murder.

Schembri was one of Malta’s most powerful political figures, serving as chief of staff to prime minister Joseph Muscat until November 2019, when he was summoned for questioning by murder investigators.

Schembri denies involvement and has not been charged by police.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies