The residents of Triq is-Sirk had become accustomed to the presence of their notorious neighbour, Melvin Theuma.
He had moved in to the apartment block on the residential street in recent months, living under police protection, as he gave evidence against the people he claims to have been behind the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“I sometimes saw him smoking a cigarette on the balcony, but he would quickly go back inside,” one neighbour said.
They had also become accustomed to the presence of police cars, so it was only when an ambulance arrived late on Tuesday evening, that they knew something bad had happened.
“Seeing the police in the street was normal at this point, but when I saw the ambulance light I knew something had gone terribly wrong.”
Police found Theuma inside the third-floor apartment with stab wounds to his neck, kidneys and left wrist, indicating a suicide attempt.
He had left a meeting with his lawyers at around 6pm where he had been discussing evidence that he was due to give in the compilation against alleged murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech on Wednesday.
His usual practice was to call his lawyers when he arrived home. This time he didn't, and after they were unable to reach him on the phone, police were called.
Times of Malta spoke to around 14 neighbours, none of whom said they had seen anything suspicious in the area before the incident.
One woman said she did not notice anything out of the ordinary until Theuma’s relatives began to arrive on the scene around 10pm.
“There was a bit of commotion with police cars and ambulances. A bit after that someone was speaking in an agitated voice,” she said.
“A while later I saw it on the news and I realised it must have been one of his relatives. They were very upset by what had happened.”
Medical staff can be heard in videos from the scene saying: "I need ENT, general surgery, vascular surgery."
By Wednesday morning, calm had returned to the street. The only sign anything unusual had happened the night before was a torn piece of police cordon on the ground and a bottle of hand sanitiser on a wall.
Motorists slowed down to see any remaining evidence of what had transpired the night before. A pair of beach-goers, towels in hand even stopped to snap a picture.
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