The family of Pelin Kaya laid her birthday cake at the site of her death and tearfully sang Happy Birthday for the young woman who was fatally struck down by a car while walking home from her own birthday party. 

Pelin, an interior designer, was walking in front of Paul & Rocco petrol station in Gżira at 1am when she was struck and killed by a black BMW. The car then crashed through the glass frontage of the KFC restaurant next door. 

Video has since emerged of the BMW heading directly towards her, prompting police to charge its driver, Jeremie Camilleri, with murder.

The incident took place an hour into her 30th birthday and friends said that she had been walking home from a little birthday celebration at the time. She is the second roadside victim of the year.

A large group of mourners gathered to support Pelin's family outside of KFC, with her uncle Aykan Ceylan and her weeping sister Derya Kaya at the forefront, wearing pictures of Pelin pinned to their lapels. 

At least 100 people turned up to lay flowers and placards that read 'we trust Maltese community and justice' and 'its not an accident, it is murder'. 

Pelin's friends also brought her birthday cake to the vigil with one slice missing, the slice that had been served at Pelin's own birthday party that evening, prior to her death. 

Photo: Matthew MirabelliPhoto: Matthew Mirabelli

The purple cake, covered in references to the 90's sitcom Friends, includes the lettering "the one where Pelin turns 30" and unnervingly, the prescient phrase "why God why". 

The phrase is also a reference to an episode of Friends

Video: Giulia Magri

Assisted by a Turkish-speaking friend of Pelin's, the family thanked the attendees as well as the Turkish embassy for their support. 

"We are taking her body to Turkey but her soul remains here so take care of her," the family said with the help of a translator. 

"She was so young and full of dreams. She came here to accomplish her dreams and she loved Malta so much."

Video: Giulia Magri

"What happened to Pelin is not an accident, it is obvious it is a murder," they continued. 

"We believe all you guys are seeing this and believing this and our family is asking Maltese people to be with them and fight for Pelin and justice."

The rain that started to come down heavily on the gathering did not detract the mourners, who began to chant "Pelin, Pelin!" in unison. 

The crowd, which packed the petrol station as well as the adjoining road, also sang Happy Birthday to Pelin. The vigil culminated in a tearful round of applause. 

Video: Giulia Magri

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech, independent candidate Arnold Cassola and Gzira mayor Conrad Borg Manche were all in attendance at the vigil. 

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

One friend of Pelin who spoke to Times of Malta described her as a “pure angel”.

“She was a great person, she never raised her voice, was always so helpful and there for you when you needed her,” she said.

She recalled how friends had organised a small get-together for Pelin’s birthday, hours before the horrific incident took place. 

Friends and family of Pelin Kaya recall how she loved living in Malta and felt safe. Photo: provided by friends of Pelin KayaFriends and family of Pelin Kaya recall how she loved living in Malta and felt safe. Photo: provided by friends of Pelin Kaya

“Her friends had gotten her cake, and we had made plans to meet on Saturday to celebrate her birthday all together, but now we have to meet in front of KFC in memory of her death.”

She said Pelin was very happy living in Malta and that she was enthusiastic about her job.

“She loved walking along the seafront after work and trying out Maltese food. She loved visiting the beaches during the summer.”

Pelin’s uncle has echoed a similar sentiment: that Pelin felt safe in Malta and that was why she intended to stay in the country. 

Her friend said she last saw Pelin a week ago, and now her friends are all heartbroken that she is no longer with them. 

“We were all together for a girl’s night... now we all find it too difficult to look at pictures of her."

Driver and victim 'did not know each other'

Camilleri, was found to be drunk and high on cocaine, a court heard during his arraignment on Thursday evening.

A video shows he had to be tasered by police and eyewitnesses claimed he threw stones at the victim.  

Camilleri has plead not guilty to murder charges.

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