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