The police could not inform the wife and sons of missing man Nicholas Camilleri about progress in their search because there was a court protection order that banned communication between them, a police spokesman said.

Daniel Nicholas Camilleri found his mentally ill father’s dead body in a dilapidated building in Għajn Tuffieħa this week after a fruitless police and army search that included dogs and a helicopter.

The son had described the police action as “gross incompetence” after revealing the immediate family was given no information about the fact he had been reported missing, when the car was found, or progress in the search.

A police spokesman defended the officers’ actions, saying that, throughout the search for Camilleri, they had kept his sisters, who filed the missing person’s report, informed about progress.

As soon as the missing person report was made by Camilleri’s sister at the Birkirkara police station on June 17 at around 2am, a search was immediately launched.

The police first searched the Birkirkara home where Camilleri was living and then a hotel in Golden Bay.

“The victim’s car was found later that night, locked, in the Għajn Tuffieħa public parking area and not in the same area where the victim was unfortunately found at the entrance to the Majjistral Park, which is situated on the other side, several hundred metres away from the parking area.

“Throughout the searches, from the minute they began, the victim’s sisters who made the report… were all the time being updated.”

They said the court order meant there could not be any contact between the victim and his ex-wife and sons.

The protection order was issued after Camilleri, who had paranoid schizophrenia, was charged with attempting to murder his wife in the garage of their Żabbar house last January, a few months after a change in medication.

He had to move out of the family home and was bound not to approach his wife and three sons under bail conditions. The couple were also undergoing separation proceedings.

The police spokesman added that, when Camilleri was found, the police spoke to his wife and son and offered them assistance by the Victim Support Unit.

Citing data protection issues, they also said that, contrary to an allegation by the victim’s son, the police followed all procedures when he called a number they had issued asking for the public’s help.

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