Updated 12.20pm with arraignment -

A 28-year-old man on Sunday pleaded not guilty to the murder of his partner, a 35-year-old mother-of-six.

Wearing a burgundy shirt, and black trousers, Michael Emmanuel, from the Ivory Coast, was charged with causing the death of Maria-Lourdes Agius, his partner with whom he had three children and had shared a home for three years.

The body of the woman, who had her sixth baby a few weeks ago, was found with heavy bruising around her throat in the early hours of Saturday morning in a case investigators believe could be linked to domestic violence.

The court, presided by Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo, heard how Mr Emmanuel, a painter-plasterer, had on a number of occasions in recent months inflicted both bodily and mental harm to both the late Ms Agius and her 64-year-old mother Maria.

Prosecuting officer James Grech of the Police’s Criminal Investigation Department, told the court how Mr Emmanuel had also not obeyed police orders on the day of the alleged murder.

The Ivorian was also charged with being in violation of the Immigration Act and being in possession of a forged Greek ID card, and driver’s licence.

Defence lawyer Michael Schriha did not contest the validity of the arrest, and said he had nothing to add once the prosecution had finished reading out the charges.

The accused was remanded in custody.    

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