The investigation into the Sliema double murder has reached a “delicate” juncture, informed sources have told The Malta Independent on Sunday.
Police are still hunting for three men who shot Chris Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski dead inside their Sliema home on Tuesday night, but it is believed that police have made some headway in the investigation.
The men were killed inside their house in Locker Street at around 10.30pm. The police were alerted to the sound of gunfire by neighbours. Upon arriving at the scene, officers found the two men dead. Pandolfino was found on the ground floor while Maciejowski was found upstairs.
According to reports, Pandolfino was hit three times, while Maciejowski was shot once, in the face. Police said during a press conference this week that six spent pistol cartridges were found at the scene.
This newsroom is informed that the police are not excluding that the three men were hired guns – contract killers – who were commissioned to kill the couple.
There are various reasons why this could be the case, including the fact that the killers used a stolen car with stolen plates, that they spent less than four minutes inside the building and that nothing was stolen, despite the valuable art pieces and jewellery kept at the house.
The shooters also seemed to be aware of the couple’s movements. In fact, Pandolfino had earlier gone out for a family dinner and returned home shortly before the shooting. Maciejowski stayed home. CCTV showed the three men entering the house shortly after Pandolfino, and leaving a few minutes later.
This newsroom also reported that Pandolfino’s sister and her two sons had been staying at the same house but stayed out late. The move could have saved their lives, but sources said the killers could have been keeping the family under surveillance, and only made the move once it was clear that the woman and her sons were still out.
The men made off in a white SUV, later identified as a VW Tiguan, but the vehicle has not been found. The police asked the public for information that could lead to the identification of the suspects but have so far not released the CCTV footage.
According to some reports, the motive behind the killing could have been vendetta, though the reason remains unclear.
Pandolfino is a former investment banker turned art collector while his partner was an art dealer. Despite initial reports that this was a burglary attempt, nothing was reportedly stolen from the house.
Police are said to be looking at the victims’ social and commercial links to try and establish a motive.
Tributes have flooded in for the “larger than life” couple, including from one of Pandolfino’s sisters, Daniela.
In a Facebook post on Friday, she described this tragedy as a senseless, cruel and inexplicable act.
She wrote that her brother played a huge role in her life and was a big part of her upbringing as “he was her best friend, her mentor, her saviour, entertainer and her overgrown child.”
“He adored me like few brothers adored their sister. Our bond was not the normal sibling bond, it was so much more,” the post said.
She explained her brother’s character as being larger than life and lived only by his rules, not a care in the world for social norms or social etiquette.