A man who crashed a BMW while drunk and high on cocaine has been charged with the murder of a female pedestrian.

Jeremie Camilleri, 33, denied the alleged wilful homicide of Pelin Kaya, 30.

The Turkish interior designer was walking down Testaferrata Street at 1am when the car driven by Camilleri ploughed into her before hitting a petrol station and the Gżira branch of a KFC restaurant. 

A video showed the horrific crash in the early hours of Wednesday and how Camilleri, who holds French and Maltese citizenship, strolled away from the vehicle.  Witnesses have said he then threw stones at the victim as she lay on the ground.

On Thursday, Camilleri faced four pages of charges, the most serious of which is wilful homicide. He also faces the charge of grievous bodily harm followed by death.

In court, he faced the devastated family of the victim, who flew over from Turkey. 


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'A part of us died with Pelin'

6.30pm Through a translator, the uncle of the victim said the family were "deeply hurt and angry".

"A part of us has died with Pelin," he said. "Pelin was a wonderful, intelligent person. She had dreams and ambitions and had decided to pursue them in Malta.

"Her wonderful future has been taken away from her because of the atrocious events that happened on Pelin’s birthday. We cannot understand what triggered a person to commit these atrocities. We do not want revenge but we want justice and we will fight so that justice is served on Pelin’s behalf."

He thanked the Maltese people and the Turkish embassy for their support, as well as the police for their prompt action. 

A translator reads out a statement from the family. Video: Jessica Arena


Family make statement

The family of Pelin Kaya outside court. Photo: Chris Sant FournierThe family of Pelin Kaya outside court. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

6.21pm Pelin Kaya's devastated sister and uncle have appeared outside court and a translator is reading a statement out on their behalf. 


Four pages of charges

6.07pm Jeremie Camilleri faces a list of charges that runs to four pages. The most serious of which is wilful homicide. He also faces the charge of grievous bodily harm followed by death.

Camilleri is further accused of grievously injuring another woman, slightly injuring a man, wilful damage to third-party property and driving his BMW X6 in a reckless, negligent or dangerous manner.

There are more charges relating to drugs. He is accused of driving under the influence of drink or drugs, cocaine possession and unauthorised possession of another drug, namely Diazepam.

He is also charged with violently resisting arrest, disobeying legitimate police orders, using force against others, wilfully disturbing the peace and breaching a probation order.


'It could have been us'

5.59pm Meanwhile our reporter Daniel Tihn has been speaking to people who have turned up at the murder scene to lay flowers in memory of Pelin Kaya.

“It could have been us,” said a mother from Rabat with her two young kids, as she explained that she was at the fast food restaurant with her family only days before the incident.  

“I want to protect my children from these types of tragedies but they need to know because that’s the dangerous world we live in.” You can read more here.

Flowers at the petrol station where the incident happened.Flowers at the petrol station where the incident happened.


Remanded in custody

5.54pm The short sitting is now over. Camilleri will now be transferred to Corradino Correctional Facility. Stay with us for the full list of charges

The magistrate concludes with his anti-drugs message. "Discipline never killed anyone, it's drugs that do," he says.


Psychiatric care

5.49pm Defence lawyer Alfred Abela says that his client was under psychiatric care and asked that he be held at the forensic unit on the grounds of Mount Carmel mental health hospital. There will be no request for bail.

The magistrate says that once the accused goes to Corradino Correctional Facility, the professionals there will assess him and the director will decide the safest place to detain him. 


Pleads not guilty

5.47pm Camilleri, who was born in Toulouse in February 1989, pleads not guilty to all charges. 

Jeremie Camilleri became aggressive towards people who were in the vicinity. Photo: FacebookJeremie Camilleri became aggressive towards people who were in the vicinity. Photo: Facebook


'Culture of death'

5.42pm Magistrate Joseph Mifsud has some comments to make about drug use after Camilleri was found to have tested positive for Cocaine. 

Without going into the merit of the case, he says the court is sorry to see a society that has been shocked by another lost life.

"Today we are suffering the consequences of those who want us to celebrate with cocaine and other substances," he says describing a "culture of death" linked to drug use. 

"Let’s not get away with the culture that you’re not normal if you don’t take coke at a party. Life is precious. It’s useless to protest when we have a victim and then remain silent."


'This was not a simple traffic accident'

5.39pm Inspector Kurt Zahra takes the stand. He says that on January 18, at around 1.15am, a driver drove his car into KFC and the victim was in imminent danger of loss of life.

The driver began to throw stones at third parties, he testifies. The woman died soon after.

"This was not a simple traffic accident but wilful homicide," he tells the court.

The BMW crashed into a KFC on Testaferrata Street at 1am on Wednesday. Photo: Giulia MagriThe BMW crashed into a KFC on Testaferrata Street at 1am on Wednesday. Photo: Giulia Magri


'No'

5.36pm Proceedings will be held in Maltese but there is an interpreter to translate to the accused in English. Although he’s lived in Malta for a long time, he apparently doesn’t speak Maltese.

The interpreter asks him if he understands. 'No', he replies. 

There is also an interpreter for the victim's family. 


A family in tears

5.32pm An uncle and sister of Pelin Kaya are in court, having travelled to Malta from Turkey after the shocking incident on Wednesday. Her sister is weeping, comforted by her relatives as they sit two rows behind the accused. 

Pelin Kaya, 30, died after she was hit by the BMW. Photo: FacebookPelin Kaya, 30, died after she was hit by the BMW. Photo: Facebook


Tight security

5.28pm Camilleri has been escorted into hall 9 under tight security. 

There are a number of high-ranking police officers, including Keith Arnaud and Josric Mifsud. The Attorney General lawyers are Nathaniel Falzon and Kaylie Bonnett assisting inspector Kurt Zahra. 

Camilleri is being represented by defence lawyers Alfred Abela and Rene Darmanin.

Lawyers for the family of victim Pelin Kaya are Shazoo Ghaznavi, Charlon Gouder and Ramona Attard.


Jeremie Camilleri arrives in court

5.25pm Jeremie Camilleri has arrived at the courthouse in Valletta, where he is expected to be charged with wilful homicide. 


 

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