Eleanor Man­gion Walker died of mas­sive head trauma, foren­sic ex­perts con­firm

Malta Independent - - NEWS - ■ Neil Camil­leri

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.

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