Ser­bian woman charged with ‘mur­der through neg­li­gence’ of Bri­tish pen­sion­ers

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Neil Camil­leri

A 45-year-old Ser­bian woman was yes­ter­day morn­ing charged with the mur­der of two Bri­tish pen­sion­ers who were found dead in her St Paul’s Bay apart­ment just months apart.

Dra­gana Mi­jalkovic pleaded not guilty to killing David Grant, 68, and Neville Ay­ers, 78, through neg­li­gence. Her re­quest for bail was de­nied.

The two men were found dead in Ms Mi­jalkovic’s St Paul’s Bay apart­ment and the deaths had ini­tially been ruled as nat­u­ral but af­ter re­cent de­vel­op­ments dur­ing a CID in­ves­ti­ga­tion the woman was charged over the deaths.

Mr Grant was found dead in Fe­bru­ary in the apart­ment in Triq il-Mer­luzz. His death was put down to nat­u­ral causes. Mr Ay­ers’s body was found in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances in Oc­to­ber. In­ves­ti­ga­tors grew sus­pi­cious af­ter the sec­ond in­ci­dent.

Ac­cord­ing to news re­ports, in­clud­ing in the Bri­tish press, Ms Mi­jalkovic would strike up a re­la­tion­ship with the el­derly men, ask them to move in with her and make them pay for ev­ery­thing.

Be­fore Mag­is­trate Ian Far­ru­gia, Ms Mi­jalkovic was also charged with hav­ing caused Grant and Ay­ers phys­i­cal or men­tal suf­fer­ing while they were un­der her care.

The po­lice had ques­tioned Mi­jalkovic on 12 Oc­to­ber af­ter the death of Mr Ay­ers. In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­came sus­pi­cious when they re­alised that this was the same apart­ment in which Mr Grant had died a few months pre­vi­ously.

Po­lice In­spec­tor Fabian Fleri said the ac­cused was ar­rested be­cause she did not have a valid res­i­dence per­mit. He also told the court that the au­topsy on Mr Ay­ers’ body pointed to­ward the pos­si­bil­ity of foul play.

Ms Mi­jalkovic was in­ter­ro­gated on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions and gave dif­fer­ing ver­sions.

The In­spec­tor said the Serb had been ac­cused of other crimes in her home coun­try in 2002 and 2004. Footage on her iPad and iPhone showed that the vic­tims were sub­jected to gross neg­li­gence and this led to their deaths.

The court also heard how the woman gave the vic­tims medicine with­out a pre­scrip­tion.

The ac­cused was also found in pos­ses­sion of credit cards be­long­ing to the first vic­tim.

Le­gal aid lawyer Yanika Bugeja re­quested bail for Ms Mi­jalkovic but the pros­e­cu­tion ob­jected, say­ing that the na­ture of the case, and the fact that the woman was liv­ing in Malta il­le­gally, were rea­son enough for the woman to be held be­hind bars.

The ac­cused cried out as Mag­is­trate Ian Far­ru­gia an­nounced his de­ci­sion. “Your hon­our, I am in­no­cent. I beg you,” she shouted out, with tears rolling down her face.

The Mag­is­trate said the ac­cused had been brought be­fore him to an­swer to some very se­ri­ous charges. He de­nied bail, say­ing that the ac­cused had no per­ma­nent link with Malta and there was a long list of wit­nesses that had to be heard.

In­spec­tors James Grech and Fabian Fleri pros­e­cuted.

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