Police investigators are yet to establish a clear motive behind a brutal Sliema murder and are hoping the lead suspect will admit to the crime before his probable arraignment on Thursday evening.  

Abner Aquilina was interrogated by police for around four hours on Wednesday, with multiple inspectors taking it in turns to try to establish a possible motive for the rape and murder of 29-year-old Paulina Dembska on January 2. 

They are understood to be hoping that the suspect will admit to the crime when he is interrogated again on Thursday morning.

Police plan to charge Aquilina in court at around 6.30 pm, sources said.  

The victim Paulina Dembska.The victim Paulina Dembska.

Suspect complains of 'messages' and 'waves'

Sources said that during Wednesday’s interrogation, Aquilina said he had been receiving messages from “waves”, which had obscured his thoughts on the night of the killing. 

He reiterated that he was acting as a “soldier of God” and that he had been struggling with delusions that the devil was manipulating him. 

He had first told investigators this last week with police deciding to pause the interrogation and refer him to a team of doctors for a mental evaluation. 

Aquilina was discharged from State mental health facility Mount Carmel Hospital on Wednesday after doctors cleared him for questioning.  

He is now being medicated.  

The River of Love 

Sources said Aquilina on Wednesday told investigators that he had visited the controversial evangelist movement, River of Love the day before the killing. 

The sources said he told police that the movement’s leader Gordon Manche had prayed with him to help rid him of evil spirits when he attended the Christian fellowship for a New Year service. 

Manche has repeatedly denied having ever met Aquilina or that the suspect was a part of the River of Love. He has, however, left the door open saying that "new people and walk-ins come all the time".

Times of Malta last week reported sources from within the River of Love community who said Aquilina had visited the fire-and-brimstone movement which has in the past been linked to controversial practices, including illegal gay conversion therapy. 

Manche reacted to those reports by warning a Times of Malta journalist and a leading gay rights activist that they will be "terrorised for eternity" for spreading "lies" about him and his community. 

Manché had distanced himself from Aquilina after a widely shared video showed him with a member of the River of Love movement, who described Aquilina as a “brother”, two days before the murder.


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