Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Times: Commendable action by the police in Żejtun

Tuesday, 15th September 2009 by Michael Frank Owen, Żejtun

Following the attack on our home on June 20 in Żejtun, I feel I should commend the very prompt responses of the emergency services and the police at Żejtun and Floriana. (The details were published on page six of The Sunday Times on June 21).[Read article below].

Within minutes of our call to 112, four police officers were on site to undertake an immediate investigation. This was followed up by visits from detectives and by a forensic detective who attempted to recover evidence which would lead to the arrest of the vicious assailants.

Unfortunately, I cannot recall the names of each and every police officer who visited our property.

However, I commend all of them for their diligence and compassion and I can name at least Inspectors Caruana and Mercieca who provided me with their contact details and who have been in touch with us since this incident which remains under serious investigation.

I was prompted to write this after I read Robert Callus' letter regarding a similar case of violence in a household where a police officer appeared to have ignored a serious issue of household intrusion and violence as "a non issue".

It is indeed totally disgraceful to ignore incidents of violence in peoples' homes whether they be gay, elderly, disabled or indeed able bodied. We were brutally attacked with a stout wooden batten.

I could not walk for three weeks after and my partner suffered severe scarring to his head. We could both easily have been killed.

I can say that from our experiences in Żejtun that the police here have treated this shocking attack with total seriousness and with no interest at all in our sexual (or other) status. I should add that our neighbours have been both horrified by the violent intrusion and supportive of us in equal measure.

My reason for writing is to balance the rotten apple issue highlighted by Mr Callus with the far more prevalent attitude of the vast majority of the Maltese Police Force.

That is to uphold law and order to the utmost and also to respect the dignity of all victims of violent crime who suffer incredible psychological harm when attacked behind their own locked doors.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times'website.]

Times: Robbers beat men, take camera

The two men were beaten.

Sensing a presence in his bedroom Jeremy Cope, 58, stirred from his sleep at 2.30 a.m. yesterday and was shocked when he saw the silhouette of a man in the doorway wielding a two-metre wooden club.

The intruder barked "don't move" in English, with a heavy Maltese accent, but Mr Cope leapt out of bed and shielded himself with the thick duvet, as the blows rained down on his head.

His friend Michael Owen, 59, woke up thinking Mr Cope was having a nightmare and that's when pandemonium struck.

Still in shock, the Englishmen sat on a sofa in their house of character in Zejtun yesterday morning, sipping a glass of wine to calm their nerves as they recounted what happened during the early hours.

A deep gash of caked blood snaked down Mr Cope's head and his right cheek is slashed, while Mr Owen is nursing bruises to his ribs and legs.

Mr Cope said: "I started screaming for help and the man began clobbering us with the square club, which looked like the leg of a table. In the shadows I saw two other robbers and I tried to push them through the small doorway, as I held up the duvet."
The men, who have been living in Malta for years, believe the intruders were either familiar with the place or had actually been briefed on the layout of their house. The robber also knew he had to address them in English.

"I left the door leading to the courtyard open and they came straight to our bedroom.
"I believe they were planning to torture us to tell them where we keep our valuables," Mr Cope said, kicking himself for not locking the door before he retired to bed at about 9 p.m. the previous night.

Leading the way to the bedroom, Mr Cope pointed to the headboard where drops of blood stained the cream pillowcase and he demonstrated how he tried to wrestle the stranger.

"It was terribly dark and since I was holding up the duvet I couldn't see if they had their faces masked or if they were wearing gloves," he said.

In the chaos, the other two intruders retreated into the courtyard and, realising he was on his own, the main aggressor started to back off, but then charged one last time and struck Mr Cope on the head, before dropping the club in the doorway.

"I was shouting so much they must have been worried we would wake up the neighbours," he added.

Throughout the ordeal, Mr Cope was trying not to fall because he knew that would have been the perfect chance for the robbers to get the upper hand. The Englishmen have been burgled three or four times before during the day. This time, however, the only thing stolen was a bright pink Samsung camera that is the size of a cigarette packet.
Police are investigating.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times'website.]

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