One of the men accused of a double murder in Sliema last month had told police that the other men involved in the murder had “ruined his life in four minutes” when they approached him for an unspecified “job” and that he had accepted without question, adding that he had started to worry when he spotted one of the men carrying a firearm.
Doctor turned banker Christian Pandolfino, 58, and art dealer Ivor Maciejowski, 30, were shot dead at their residence on Locker Street Sliema on 18 August at around 10:20pm, in what police are treating as a robbery.
The man in court today, 36-year-old North Macedonian national Viktor Dragomanski, was arrested on 26 August. He is the second man charged with the murder, after Daniel Muka 25 from Albania.
Dragomanski was escorted into Magistrate Joe Mifsud’s courtroom wearing an orange jumpsuit. He informed the court that he spoke English, which was then adopted as the language of the proceedings.
Inspector James Grech took the stand. Much of what he told the court had already been said before, but certain new details did emerge.
The ransacking of the house was minimal, said the inspector. But the victims had jewellery missing. “It is evident that after killing them the perpetrators snatched the gold chains from their neck…although Pandolfino was still wearing one, there were pendants on the floor indicating that they had been taken.”
Pandolfino was shot five times, said the inspector. Maciejowski was killed with a single gunshot whilst on the stairs. Ballistics established that the rounds used were 9mm from a Glock pistol, Grech said.
After his arrest, Dragomanski had told the police that Muka had “ruined my life in four minutes” when he had killed the men. The suspect was advised to wait for a lawyer but he insisted on giving the police his version of events.
On the day, he said, he had been walking his dog in Sliema when Muka stopped the VW Tiguan used as a getaway car next to him and told him that they had a job and wanted him to join. He took the dog home and then joined the men, he said.
“There was no plan, and he didn’t know what it was about, he said. After circling the targeted block he noticed Muka was carrying a gun and had warned him not to use it.” However, he had heard gunshots and was called inside where he found a dying man. More gunshots rang out and he heard heavy breathing from upstairs.
Then Muka came down and told him “let’s go we’re done here,” said the inspector.
Dragomanski was in shock, he told the police. He had driven the car away and had helped Muka change its number plates. Then they caught a taxi to Sliema.
The inspector told magistrate Joe Mifsud that the evidence corroborated Dragomanski’s assertion that the victims had already been shot when he had entered the house.
Lawyer Joe Giglio, parte civile, asked how entry into the property took place. “Muka said in his statement that he had rung the doorbell. Presumably [as marks were found on the door] Pandolfino had first opened the door and by the time the third man had arrived, the men had let the door close and had to lever it open.”
Giglio asked about prior connections between the three accused. Dragomanski had told the police that he knew Jasper Kristiansen more than Muka. Dragomanski was a security guard in Paceville and Kristiansen used to frequent bars where Dragomanski worked. Muka would also visit this bar in Paceville.
Dragomanski told police that he wanted to earn money from the job, without asking what it involved. “Muka was driving, Jasper was front passenger and Dragomanski was sitting behind Jasper,” said the inspector.
“He said he sat in the back seat because everything was disorganised and he was afraid of getting out. After the shots were heard he had proceeded inside and continued the robbery with them.”
Giglio asked why Dragomanski went inside after the shots were fired. It was evident that he wanted to earn the money, said the inspector. He admitted to helping Muka change the number of the plates.
Although a pair of black gloves were exhibited in court today, from CCTV it emerged that all the men were wearing gloves. One black pair, while the others were blue, Inspector Grech said.
The case was adjourned for 25 September at 10:00am.
Lawyer Joe Brincat is appearing for the accused. Lawyer Joe Giglio is appearing for the parte civile. Inspector James Grech is prosecuting.