The police are investigating how the lead suspect in the murder of Bernice Cassar got hold of a shotgun despite not having a gun licence.
The shotgun was used to murder the mother-of-two in Paola early on Tuesday.
Sources close to the homicide investigation told Times of Malta that Roderick Cassar, the victim’s estranged husband, does not have a licence to carry or possess a firearm and is not a registered hunter.
He was found in possession of a shotgun of the type that cannot be used for hunting.
The suspected murder weapon was lifted from Cassar’s home on Triq il-Kartaġiniżi, in Qrendi, when the police stormed the building early on Wednesday.
The sources said the police have identified the weapon’s owner and will now seek to establish how it came to be in Cassar’s possession.
“If he [Cassar] stole the gun, it is one thing but if someone gave him that weapon then they have a lot to answer for,” a senior source said.
The police are expected to speak to the owner of the weapon in the coming days.
In Malta, guns are licensed to be kept at home not to be carried. Only members of the police force and some others, such as hunters, are authorised to carry weapons.
Firearms are the murder weapons of choice in Malta, with some 40 per cent of homicides involving guns. This is four times the rate of gun killings in the UK.
Investigators have conducted gunshot residue tests on the weapon.
The shotgun was fired three times: once into the asphalt and twice at the victim, hitting her in the chest and in the head. The shots were fired at close range.
Cassar is expected to be arraigned and charged with murder today.
An earlier version of this report erroneously reported that the murder had taken place in Marsa.
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