Updated 10.15am with comments

A man who intentionally ran over a stranger and then threw stones at her dead body has pleaded guilty to murder.

Jeremie Camilleri on Monday admitted to having killed Pelin Kaya in January 2023, reversing his initial not guilty plea.

Speaking calmly and clearly, Camilleri answered ‘yes’ when asked by Magistrate Rachel Montebello if he was sure he wanted to plead guilty.

Pelin Kaya was celebrating her 30th birthday when she was killed.Pelin Kaya was celebrating her 30th birthday when she was killed.

His case will now be sent to a criminal court judge, who will sentence him. Camilleri faces up to a lifetime sentence in prison, though defence lawyers told the court that they had reached an agreement with all parties, including the victim's family. 

That suggests the defence and prosecution have agreed terms of a plea deal for the accused. 

'You're a murderer'

In her first reaction to the verdict, Derya Kaya, sister of the murder victim, wrote on Instagram: "You're a murderer, murderer, murderer!"

Derya Kaya later said Camilleri deserved to spend the rest of his life in jail.

One of the Kaya family's lawyers said the guilty plea would at least spare the family the pain of having to travel to Malta for court hearings. 

"Nothing will take the pain away. This will not bring their  daughter back. But at least they will not have to fly to Malta for court hearings and reopen that wound each time," Shazoo Ghaznavi told reporters outside court. 

Camilleri, 34, was arrested in Gżira on the morning of January 18, shortly after he mowed down Kaya and smashed his BMW into a fuel station and KFC restaurant just after 2am. The horrific crash was captured by the fuel station's CCTV cameras.

Kaya was walking home from a friend’s house. It was her 30th birthday.

Eyewitnesses described seeing Camilleri emerge from the wrecked vehicle, pick up stones and fling them at his victim, who was lying on the ground, and assault a passer-by. He resisted arrest when police showed up and had to be tasered to be subdued.

Kaya family lawyers react to the admission. Video: Jonathan Borg

Camilleri later told the police that he “wanted to be famous” and that he was “a psychopath and proud”. 

Blood tests showed that he was drunk and high on cocaine at the time of the crime. Officers also found cocaine in his vehicle. 

Attorney General lawyers Nathaniel Falzon and Kaylie Bonnett prosecuted, together with inspectors Kurt Zahra and Shamus Woods.

The victim's family is represented by lawyers Shazoo Ghaznavi, Charlon Gouder and Ramona Attard.

Lawyers Alfred Abela and Rene Darmanin are defence counsel.

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