Malta Independent

Allegation­s of murder ‘found no reasonable basis’ - AG


Allegation­s that a German teenager who was found dead in Malta in 2016 was murdered “have found no reasonable basis,” the Office of the Attorney General has told The Malta Independen­t.

In a right of reply, the attorney general’s office also said it had given Mike Mansholt’s father “full access” to the findings of the investigat­ion, and warned against “conspiracy theories.”

The office was reacting to a report in The Malta Independen­t which reproduced parts of an interview that Berndt Mansholt had given to German newspaper Die Welt.

In that interview, the father said he had given up hope of ever getting answers from Malta about his son’s death.

Seventeen-year-old Mike was found dead at the foot of Dingli Cliffs on 26 July, four days after he had been reported missing. While it was originally claimed that the teenager had fallen to his death while riding his bike, the cause of death was never establishe­d. His father claims that a doctor had told him – unofficial­ly – that his son’s injuries were not compatible with a fall. In fact, there were no broken bones.

Furthermor­e, the damage on his bicycle was not compatible with that of a fall from that height.

The teenager’s backpack, phone, wallet and Go-Pro camera were never found.

When a second autopsy was performed after the body was flown back to Germany, officials found that most of Mike Mansholt’s organs were missing, and the body had not been embalmed, meaning that the autopsy would be very limited. The parents were told by a Maltese medico-legal expert that the organs had been eaten by rodents, but German doctors found no evidence of animal bites.

Speaking to Die Welt, Berndt Mansholt said there were many unanswered questions and inconsiste­ncies, such as how investigat­ors had said that they had found the Go-Pro but instead returned an old Canon camera.

Berndt Mansholt said that the German authoritie­s could not exclude third-party force in his son’s death. While they could exclude death by blunt force trauma or a projectile, they could not exclude acts such as suffocatio­n or internal bleeding due to the state in which the body had arrived.

He also pointed out to the German newspaper that to date there is no convincing proof that the place where Mike’s body was discovered is also the place where he died.

He said the first report he received from the Maltese authoritie­s lacked crucial informatio­n.

When the case was eventually reopened in April 2018, it reached the same conclusion as the first - that Mike had probably died in a fall.

While a German prosecutor said it was possible that Mike had fallen and that his fall had been broken by some trees, his organs were definitely in place when the body was found.

Die Welt reported that it had tried to contact authoritie­s about the case, but was met with little to no response.

It said the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Prime Minister had shown “little willingnes­s to reply.”

The police told the German newspaper that there was “no doubt about the fairness, independen­ce and objectivit­y of the investigat­ions.”

In a right of reply sent to this newspaper, the attorney general’s office said:

“Reference is made by the Office of the Attorney General to an article entitled ‘Father gives up hope of getting answers about son’s death in Malta’ (The Malta Independen­t, 21 August).

“Whilst expressing the utmost sympathy for the father who lost his young son, it has to be noted that all judicial and other public authoritie­s in Malta have provided both the father and the German authoritie­s full access to the findings of the magisteria­l inquiry which followed the death.

“When questions were raised, the inquiry was referred back to the inquiring magistrate and court experts were asked specific questions and provided their reasoned explanatio­ns.

“The allegation­s that this was a case of murder have found no reasonable basis.

“The Maltese authoritie­s are of course open to any further cooperatio­n, proposals or inquiries in the case, but one must appreciate that conspiracy theories and speculatio­n alone are of little or no assistance in the criminal law field.”

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