‘Po­lice por­trayed me as a men­tal mon­ster’ - Mosta cat ‘killer’

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel At­tard

“The un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions brought against me were in­tended to dam­age my rep­u­ta­tion and for the po­lice to por­tray me as a men­tal mon­ster in court and with the pub­lic,” ac­cord­ing to Ni­cholas Grech, dubbed ‘the Mosta cat killer’, in a let­ter to The Malta In­de­pen­dent.

Mr Grech, a 39-year-old engi­neer from Mosta, was ar­raigned in June 2014 over the Mosta cat and dog ‘cru­ci­fix­ions’ that had started in Oc­to­ber 2011 and lasted un­til 3 Fe­bru­ary 2014 and was ac­quit­ted of all charges. He was, how­ever, re­manded to Mount Carmel Hos­pi­tal for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod, where he has been since.

Dur­ing court pro­ceed­ings, the court had ap­pointed three psy­chi­a­trists who found that that Mr Grech had no in­ten­tion of harm­ing the an­i­mals and that he was suf­fer­ing from im­paired judge­ment due to his men­tal con­di­tion. He was de­clared in­sane.

In his let­ter to this news­pa­per, Mr Grech con­fessed that, be­ing a cy­clist, he used to en­counter sev­eral an­i­mals which had been killed on main roads and that he then re­cov­ered them, nailed them to crosses and hung them on re­li­gious sites around in his home­town of Mosta.

Mr Grech in­sisted that, “The Po­lice knew be­fore­hand that I do not harm an­i­mals, but love them - to the ex­tent that they never felt the need to ex­am­ine the three cats I had as pets at home for any form of mal­treat­ment. It’s as if I was ac­cused of kid­nap­ping and killing chil­dren, but then the po­lice failed to ex­am­ine them or to take them from my cus­tody.”

Mr Grech wrote in his cor­re­spon­dence that the Po­lice had men­tioned in court, when he was not present, how au­top­sies car­ried out on the an­i­mals showed that they were not hit by cars. He added that they did this so that he could not de­fend him­self and so they could con­tinue to por­tray him in a bad light in court, and with all the ob­vi­ous con­se­quences in the fi­nal sen­tence.

An­other ac­cu­sa­tion that Mr Grech faced was over the vi­o­la­tion of tombs, tres­pass­ing on re­li­gious grounds and forc­ing en­try into the Mosta par­ish church and l-Isper­anza Chapel.

In this let­ter he said that these, “… ac­cu­sa­tions are noth­ing more than the re­search I was do­ing on Mosta’s old church.”

Mr Grech said, “I use to en­ter at night to take mea­sure­ments and pho­tos of the place with the in­ten­tion that, out of my re­search I could raise enough pub­lic in­ter­est/aware­ness for the au­thor­i­ties to fi­nally do a cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal project and maybe utilise Euro­pean funds to clean up the place and do ex­ca­va­tions where pos­si­ble.

“It is as if I en­tered the ceme­tery to mea­sure the chapel within and ended up be­ing ac­cused with vi­o­la­tion of tombs in­stead of just unau­tho­rised en­try to the ceme­tery. From my re­search I found that the first four and a half cour­ses of the old church are still in place on all sides all around and what re­mains of its pave­ment is sit­u­ated about 120cm be­low that of the Ro­tunda, amongst many things I dis­cov­ered which have never been re­searched, in­ves­ti­gated or doc­u­mented be­fore.

“For sure I never touched tombs as was re­ported and the ‘des­e­cra­tion of graves within the os­suary’ was noth­ing more than a photo of a door I opened in the os­suary lead­ing to what was the sac­risty of the old church. This ac­cu­sa­tion was a lie in it­self as within the os­suary there were no graves and this rep­re­sented the epit­ome of how low the Po­lice could go to make a mock­ery of me.”

Mr Grech wrote that if the ac­cu­sa­tions were lev­elled ap­pro­pri­ately - namely that of lit­ter­ing pub­lic places with dead an­i­mals and en­ter­ing the church crypt with­out au­tho­ri­sa­tion – it would have made a big dif­fer­ence in court and in the eyes of the me­dia and pub­lic.

Hu­man right to fair trial vi­o­lated

“I feel that I am a vic­tim of the sys­tem and my hu­man rights to a fair trial have been vi­o­lated by a me­dia con­fer­ence by the po­lice just be­fore my first ap­pear­ance in court, which, to­gether with the un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions, prej­u­diced my case be­fore it had even started, lead­ing the me­dia to por­tray me as a men­tal mon­ster, rou­tinely calling me a cat killer, when I was far from a killer and never harmed an an­i­mal in all my life.”

Me Grech ended his let­ter by say­ing that, “The ac­cu­sa­tions against me with the pres­sure from the pub­lic opin­ion and the me­dia, for sure in­flu­enced the re­port of the psy­chi­a­trists for the court, with the con­se­quence that I ended up be­ing de­scribed as schiz­o­phrenic.

“I am forced to take med­i­ca­tion I do not need which is hav­ing se­vere reper­cus­sions on my health and af­ter more than two I am still en­closed in a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion with more yet to come.”

Mr Grech is ask­ing the au­thor­i­ties to in­ves­ti­gate and that ac­tions are taken so that the cul­prits face jus­tice and such abuses, are not re­peated with other vic­tims.

Dur­ing the past two years he said that he wrote to Pres­i­dent of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat, Min­is­ter for Jus­tice Owen Bon­nici and Min­is­ter for In­ter­nal Af­fairs Carmelo Abela, re­quest­ing to be re­leased but noth­ing was done.

This news­room last year had pub­lished a story say­ing that the men­tal health re­view tri­bunal – then headed by the late Mr Jus­tice Joseph Apap Bologna – had rec­om­mended a re­jec­tion.

On Fe­bru­ary 2014, Mr Grech was caught on CCTV cam­eras hang­ing dead an­i­mals on the façade and back of the Mosta par­ish church.

The footage was pub­lished ex­clu­sively by The Malta In­de­pen­dent and was viewed close to 100,000 times.

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