Updated Wednesday 9.50am
The self-confessed middleman in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder was in critical condition on Wednesday morning after having suffered knife wounds at his home late on Tuesday, just hours before a potentially crucial court sitting.
Sources said Melvin Theuma was operated at Mater Dei Hospital overnight. Although still critical, sources said they expected him to pull through.
The incident happened at around 9pm.
Speaking on Wednesday, police commissioner Angelo Gafà said Theuma was found in a bedroom with a knife in his hand and wounds to his neck, wrist and kidneys.
Gafà said the first indications show Theuma had self-inflicted wounds. There was nothing to indicate there was a struggle or that the victim acted in self-defence. All apertures to his apartment were closed.
Theuma held a meeting with his lawyer until 6pm in which the witness was being prepped up for the court case, sources said.
“Theuma usually calls the lawyer when he arrives home, but this time he failed to do so. His phone was first engaged and then he did not answer,” said a source, who added it was the lawyer who raised the alarm with the police.
Police who had been stationed outside Theuma’s residence in Swieqi as protection entered the home and found him in a pool of blood.
Inspector Keith Arnaud, chief investigator in the Caruana Galizia murder case, was among those on site.
According to Gafà, the victim indicated to Arnaud that the wounds were self-inflicted, before he was rushed to hospital.
Laywer and MP Jason Azzopardi, who is representing the Caruana Galizia family in court, asked through a Facebook post how the police could reach the conclusion so fast that the incident was an attempted suicide.
Incident at potentially crucial juncture
Theuma’s presidential pardon is expected to take centre stage in murder suspect Yorgen Fenech’s compilation of evidence on Wednesday morning. The case has reached a potentially crucial juncture, according to investigative sources.
Fenech’s defence lawyers last week continued casting doubt on Theuma’s pardon and said there is another recording which the middleman has not testified about. That recording was expected to be played in Wednesday’s sitting.
During last week’s hearing, Fenech’s lawyers questioned Theuma whether former police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar was paid €30,000 in exchange for his presidential pardon. Theuma denied the claim.
Theuma, a taxi driver who worked at a hotel owned by business tycoon Fenech, was given the pardon on condition that he revealed all in the plot which led to the murder of the journalist in October 2017.
Theuma said he had contracted the three men arrested for carrying out the murder on behalf of Fenech.
He told the court he had gathered a large collection of recorded conversations to use them as “insurance” in case he was arrested or eliminated.
Times of Malta had reported how Theuma drew up a will in December 2017, soon after George Degiorgio, his brother Alfred, and Vince Muscat were arrested and charged with carrying out the bomb plot.
In court testimony, Theuma, a former taxi driver, had painted a picture of him being depressed and in fear of his life after the murder, at one time telling a magistrate that his life “ended” on October 16, 2017 at 3pm, the moment the car bomb which killed Caruana Galizia went off.
If you are feeling suicidal or need help or advice, contact Supportline 179 or the Crisis Intervention Service on 2545 3950.
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