Eleanor Mangion Walker died of massive head trauma, forensic experts confirm
Eleanor Mangion Walker died as a result of massive blunt trauma to the head, forensic experts told a court yesterday.
They were testifying in the compilation of evidence against Kristijan Zekic, a 33-year-old Russian cook who stands charged with helping hide the body of the mother of one.
Ms Mangion Walker’s dead body was found in a disused Qormi warehouse in July 2016. Her estranged husband, Andrew Mangion, has been charged with the murder in a separate case. The two had been undergoing separation proceedings.
Forensic expert Mario Scerri said he had conducted the autopsy on the woman shortly after the discovery of the corpse, which was found inside an open windsurfer bag.
“It was immediately obvious that this person had sustained massive trauma, mostly to the head. It resulted that she had multiple injuries of the skull which caused her death. Some injuries were very severe, and resulted in fractures of the cranium.”
Dr Scerri said it was very clear that the woman had not been killed at the scene.
“The corpse had been transported to the warehouse, and had previously spent several hours face up. It was then placed face down at the warehouse.”
The forensic expert said he came to this conclusion because of something known as hypostasis – the accumulation of blood on the lower bottom half of the body.
Forensic doctors Ali Safraz and Dr Marie Therese Camilleri Podesta also presented their report.
“She had a lot of trauma to the head. These were the most severe injuries – the rest were abrasions and bruises. There were fractures of the skull. We concluded that Ms Mangion Walker died of a haemorrhage due to a fractured skull. It essentially means that the brain was torn as a result of the trauma.”
Andrew Mangion was also called to testify but could, at first, not decide whether he would testify or not. He said he had not spoken to his lawyer – who was engaged elsewhere yesterday – for a number of weeks.
This clearly irritated Magistrate Ian Farrugia: “You have to decide for yourself, I’m not here to decide for you. You have the right to tell me that you want to keep your mouth shut.”
“OK, it will be like that,” Mr Mangion said.
There were heated exchanges during the sitting when defence lawyers Giannella De Marco and Stephen Tonna Lowell accused Inspector Keith Arnaud, prosecuting, of dragging his feet.
The first argument arose after an Identity Malta officer was brought in to confirm the identity of the accused. The defence pointed out that Mr Zekic’s arraignment was six months ago but the prosecution was still struggling to confirm the man’s identity.
The lawyers also criticised the inspector upon learning that a number of police officers who had been summoned to testify yesterday did not show up because they were engaged with EU Presidency work.
Inspector Arnaud insisted that this was beyond his control.
Dr de Marco accused the Inspector of delaying the case, insisting that many of the witnesses produced so far were irrelevant. She pointed out that six months had passed from the arraignment and Mr Zekic’s detainment is already close to the maximum sentence that can be imposed.
Inspector Arnaud insisted that all witnesses were relevant, including the Scene of the Crime Officers, who are yet to testify, and who have found Mr Zekic’s DNA at the crime scene.
Magistrate Ian Farrugia warned the Inspector that all remaining witnesses have to be present for the next sitting, no matter what, or the court will declare that the prosecution has presented all of its evidence.