A woman was brutally run over in the early hours of January 18. She died shortly after she was rushed to hospital. As if running over her was not enough, the driver allegedly went on a rampage, throwing bricks at her, beating a passer-by and throwing stones at passing cars, after literally ramming his expensive BMW into a restaurant.

The woman died on her 30th birthday. Her name was Pelin Kaya and she had moved to Malta from Turkey two years ago and worked as an interior designer at a high-end furniture establishment.

I am still trying to decipher my feelings after this heinous act. I feel a strong sense of helplessness, not only for the victim and her family but for us all.

We have reached a point of no return. How have we come to this? But the worst horror of it all is that Pelin, who was described by her colleagues as “a dear team-mate” and a “wonderful person”, was walking home alone feeling safe, given Malta has or, rather, had the reputation of being a relatively safe country to walk around at all hours of the day.

She was allegedly killed by a man, fuelled with cocaine and alcohol, driving a car, someone who had a series of convictions including petty thefts, breaching a probation order and damaging a neighbour’s property. The court had offered him one last opportunity “to clean up his act”. This last opportunity allegedly cost the life of a beautiful innocent young soul.

The nationality of the perpetrator is irrelevant.

It is his actions and behaviour that is unforgiving and monstrous. Instead of trying to save her, he allegedly threw bricks at her.

Pelin was the victim. It could have been me or anyone else run over and stoned for that matter.

With dangerous people driving under the effect of drugs and alcohol it is no longer safe to walk around in the early hours of the morning.

Do we feel protected? Indeed no. Contrary to that, we are becoming increasingly vulnerable and more susceptible to such heinous acts.

Pelin did not get to see the glorious sunrise of that morning, her birthday morning, because her life was abruptly and cruelly taken away from her. By someone who has been constantly in breach of the law.

I felt the same anguish last year following Paulina Dembska’s murder. Her last moments of her life must have been agonising.

As I read through the sequence of events that led to Pelin’s death, I not only felt anguish but grief and, subsequently, anger at how nothing is being done to protect our society.

Pelin was a woman who loved life and certainly appreciated the beauty around her. The pain her family must be going through during this time must be excruciating.

We are becoming increasingly vulnerable and more susceptible to such heinous acts- Stephanie Mizzi

What has happened to our tiny rock that was once considered a safe haven?

There have been many incidents of women brutally murdered in Malta over the past years. But we have to ask: what was going through the driver’s mind? Why did he ram all his anger at the victim and passers-by who tried to save her?

Of course, he was loaded with cocaine and alcohol, but that is no excuse whatsoever. He deserves a most grim punishment for his alleged actions. He should have not been out in the first place.

Was he with friends prior to the accident? Why did they let him drive in that state? Or are they as monstrous as he is?

Sadly, there are many others who may be just as dangerous. History repeats itself, they say, and this may well happen again someday soon.

With the rise in untreated drug addiction among youngsters one never knows what they would be capable of. And here is one vivid example of the consequences following drug abuse.

I keep reiterating this but there is a need for more police patrols, especially in the early hours of the morning to re-instil a sense of security as well as a feeling of being safe among us all and ensure this does not happen again.

Rest in peace, Pelin, and sincere condolences to her family and friends.

Stephanie Mizzi is a freelance writer and photographer.

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