A trail of bloody handprints arching downwards towards the spot where a young Dutch woman had her last breath on a Santa Venera street, her neck a gaping wound, indicated she had clung to the wall after being knifed.
This graphic image reconstructing the final moments of Shannon Mak, the 30-year old gaming employee allegedly knifed to death by her Dutch colleague and former boyfriend Jelle Rijpma, 23, emerged as the murder compilation continued.
Taking the witness stand, emergency physician Jonathan Joslin described the gruesome scene he saw when he had reached Triq il-Mastrudaxxi after answering a call for assistance on that early morning of August 3, 2018.
The young woman lay on the street, her back partly to the wall, between a parked vehicle and a garden wall upon which a trail of reddish handprints were clearly visible, forming an arch-like pattern right above the spot where the victim lay, her head in a pool of blood.
As Dr Joslin and fellow emergency doctor Michael Spiteri checked the victim, it immediately became evident that the woman had no pulse and was not breathing.
An extensive wound was visible across her neck, exposing the trachea and causing catastrophic haemorrhage, which resulted in the pool of blood beneath her face where she lay on the ground, her clothes pulled up above her breasts, an ‘Evolution Gaming’ bracelet on her wrist.
“It was what we refer to in Maltese as imħanxra,” Dr Joslin explained when describing the knife-inflicted injuries, adding how he had also taken note of the bloody handprints on the wall, possible evidence of those final moments when the victim had held on before slipping down.
Victim's father weeps silently in court
While the medical doctor described the scene, the victim’s father wept silently, as other family members, also gathered in the courtroom, sought to comfort him.
Shown images of the scene of crime, Dr Joslin confirmed, upon a question by parte civile lawyer Stefano Filletti, the position wherein the victim had been found by the emergency team.
When the doctors had pronounced the woman “clinically dead,” they handed over the case to the forensic experts who took over once the victim was not “salvageable” through prime time emergency care.
Two police officers, among the team of four who had arrested the suspect later on during the day of the gruesome discovery, also testified in the compilation describing how they had gained access to the flatlet on Triq l-Istampaturi, metres away from the spot where the victim had been discovered, by means of a key handed to them by the landlady.
Upon entering the residence, a garage transformed into a small apartment, they had come across the suspect lying on a sofa, half asleep.
When the police ordered him to lie down on the floor, where he was handcuffed and given his legal rights in English, the man had offered no resistance, asked no questions, and remained calm all throughout the arrest until he was eventually taken away to the police headquarters for questioning.
“He said nothing at all,” confirmed the police witnesses, as the accused sat at the dock, following the proceedings, giving away no outward signs of emotion.
The court, presided over by magistrate Simone Grech, adjourned the proceedings to June.
Inspectors Kurt Zahra and Robert Vella prosecuted.
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