The families of a couple murdered in their Sleima home in 2020 said the news that one of the alleged killers will plead guilty in exchange for a 40-year prison sentence was "the first step towards closure".

"Hopefully, this conclusion is the first step in bringing closure, although nothing can be done to bring the loved ones back," Pippo Pandolfino and Tom Maciejowski- the brothers of murdered men, Christian Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski- told Times of Malta  yesterday.

"Needless to say, we now look forward to the swift closure of all three cases pending trial."

Pandolfino and Maciejowski were murdered inside their Locker Street home in August 2020.

One of the three men awaiting trial for the Sliema double murder- Jesper Kristiansen- admitted the murder in court on Monday after agreeing to a plea deal.

Kristiansen, a Danish national, had fled Malta following the murder but was arrested 10 days later in Spain, after the Spanish police tracked him down in Cadiz, and extradited him to Malta to face criminal charges. 

The other two men facing murder charges in the case are Albanian national Daniel Muka and Serbian national Viktor Dragomanski.

Prosecutors opted to charge the three separately but yesterday informed the criminal court that the three had been put together under one joint bill of indictment.

That meant Kristiansen, Dragomanski and Muka were to stand trial together.

However, Madam Justice Natasha Galea Sciberras noted a joint note filed by the prosecution and Kristiansen's defence team, which said that the parties had agreed on the terms of a plea bargain. 

The court was informed that Kristiansen would enter a guilty plea against the agreed punishment of 40 years and his share of court expenses.

The accused, assisted by lawyers Stefano Filletti and Roberto Montalto, confirmed that he understood the implications of that note. 

AG lawyer Kevin Valletta then asked for the separation of proceedings, meaning that Dragomanski and Muka would part company with Kristiansen. The request was upheld.

Kristiansen is expected to formally confirm his plea at another sitting in the near future. 

Had he gone to trial, Kristiansen could have faced up to life in prison if found guilty. Once his plea deal is formalised, he will also be able to testify against his co-accused without the fear of self-incrimination.

AG lawyer Kevin Valletta is prosecuting. Lawyers Stefano Filletti and Roberto Montalto are counsel to Kristiansen. Lawyers Joe Giglio and Michaela Giglio are appearing parte civile.

The families of the murdered couple also thanked the police, the courts, the attorney general's office, and their parte civile lawyers "for their hard work to solve and bring these terrible murders to justice".

Last October, the two brothers had lamented court delays, telling Times of Malta that they were "devastated" and "extremely disappointed" at how one of the other alleged killers- Muka- had his trial postponed to April. 

Back then they had said the families "all desperately needed closure" and that delays added "unnecessary heartache".

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