Eleanor Mangion murder case: Mother called to testify but refuses to look at the accused
Josephine Walker, the mother of Eleanor Mangion, the person who found murdered in a warehouse in Qormi earlier this year, told the court how the accused, Andre Mangion, used abusive behaviour with his daughter and former wife.
Taking to the witness stand, still visibly shocked and refusing to even look at the accused, Mrs Walker explained that her daughter and Andrew, used to live in the same apartment in the same block of apartments as hers.
However, due to the fact that the two were undergoing separation proceedings, they used to sleep in two different rooms. She told the court that Mr Mangion used to sleep in the main bedroom, while the victim and their daughter slept in another.
Separation proceedings started around three years ago and the mother claimed that her daughter married the accused simply because the parish priest would not baptise their daughter.
Andrew Mangion stands accused with the murder of 33-yearold Eleanor Mangion who was found dead in a warehouse in Qormi. Her body was found in July and investigators had established that the mother of one, had been killed in a garage in Swieqi.
Mrs Walker told the court how she had heard the couple fighting. She said that she heard them fight from her apartment and went to see what was going on. The mother said that once inside her daughter’s apartment, she tried to stop the couple from hurting each other. Mr Mangion’s nose was bleeding. “My daughter used to learn jujitsu and knew how to defend herself,” she told Magistrate Doreen Clarke.
This incident allegedly took place some four years ago and the mother admitted she never knew exactly why the two were fighting as their daughter stood at the corner of the room, scared.
Even after this incident, the couple lived under the same roof.
“Andrew used to shout at the daughter, grab her by the face and shout in her face like this,” as she gestured how the accused used to grab the child by her face.
One point, Beverly, the victim’s sister, had hit Andrew Mangion and told him to leave the child alone. It was later revealed that the daughter had a condition and has an LSA assisting her at school.
“I recall times when Andrew would lock the daughter and put the key somewhere high so that she cannot reach. The daughter is now speaking out,” she further explained.
Pressed by the prosecution to say if she had ever witnessed such abuse, the mother said that she had heard this from the daughter herself, but never witnessed any of it directly.
On Friday of the weekend of the murder, Andrew had told Mrs Walker to wake him up at 7:30am, as he had “to take care of something”.
On Saturday, she woke up at around 5:30am cleaning and doing some chores around the house. She then went to wake up Andrew. She did not know if Eleanor was at the apartment or not. As she went back to cleaning the house, she recalls having heard Andrew taking some furniture downstairs.
On that same day, at around 1:30pm, the accused came into her house and told her he wanted to call her brother, Eleanor’s uncle. He picked up the phone and jokingly, the Andrew told him “it’s me, we were in the same prison cell together.” He wanted her brother’s help to carry the furniture to his farm.
That evening, on the same day when the alleged murder took place, Andrew went back to Mrs Walker’s house. According to the witness, the man looked scruffy and she noted he had a hole in his shirt.
While he was in house, he took a chocolate from a bowl on the table. The mother later realized that those same chocolates were outdated and filled with worms. “At least I know that the last thing he took from my house was full of worms,” she added.
At one point, Inspector Keith Arnoud, as is customary, asked the witness to identify the accused sitting in the room. She refused and kept her eye-contact on Magistrate Doreen Clarke. “I refuse to look at him. Even looking at his uncle is scary,” she said.
The mother wanted to go on explaining how she had found it hard to identify her daughter in the morgue, but the prosecution had no more questions and closed her testimony.
Nurse Nadia Curmi was also called to testify. She said she was working at the Emergency and Rescue Department at Mater Dei hospital when they were informed of the incident. She said she went on site, uncovered the body and found Eleanor Mangion, lying face-down in a pool of blood.
Police Inspector Pierre Guido Saliba was also cross examined by defence lawyer Joe Giglio who asked how he had heard about the drug trafficking allegations on Mr Mangion.
Inspector Saliba said that it was a certain Martin Grech who informed him of this. Pressed by the defence, Mr Saliba said that Andrew Mangion was not a familiar name in the drug trafficking business and investigations found nothing over the matter.
Dr Giglio protested and said that the defence has a lot of reservations over this particular witness as the prosecution is simply trying to throw dirt at the accused.
The case continues on 15 November.