In this piece, we will go back to the murder of Joe Baldacchino.
It was on 23rd November of 2010 when fifty-one year old Joe Baldacchino was shot in the back in a car park near the House of Four Winds in Valletta in broad daylight at 8.45 am. The media reported that Baldacchino was on his way to a court sitting.
He had noticed that “a motorcyclist had dropped his number plate. According to witnesses, Mr Baldacchino unwittingly informed his aggressor about the fallen number plate. The motorcyclist nodded, drove up behind Mr Baldacchino, unzipped his jacket, produced a firearm and shot him in the back.” Was the number plate made to fall on purpose?
Mr Baldacchino was rushed to hospital and remained in a critical condition even after being urgently operated on, with one bullet having pierced his back. Reports at the time stated that “he was hit by a single shot fired from close range, causing haemorrhage” which made him lose a lot of blood. Mr Baldacchino’s health fluctuated while in intensive care, until he slipped in a coma and lost his battle for life a month later, exactly on 27th December.
Mr Baldacchino was a father of five children and was the managing director of the Baldacchino Group, which also owns the Kempinski San Lawrenz Hotel in Gozo.
The shooting of Mr Baldacchino was not the first attempt at his life. In a previous attempt fifteen months earlier, a bomb had exploded by his vehicle which was parked outside one of his outlets in Zurrieq, when a “parcel bomb was left on his car tyre’s.”
And yet, no one notices the pattern of this murder with that of Raymond Agius ‘il-Maksar’? Both were done in broad daylight. Both were shot in public places: one in a bar, one in a car park. In both, the hired hitmen were on a motorbike. In both, they knew the whereabouts of the victims.
And yet, no one notices the pattern. The prime suspect for this murder was also the same Romeo Bone, when during a search, “a piece of paper with a scrawled note of the victim’s car license plate number was found in his car.” This search was conducted after the main witness in David Gatt’s trial, PC 99 Mario Portelli, “had accused Mr Bone of stalking him.” PC Portelli had also “testified in the case against former police inspector and lawyer David Gatt that Mr Bone was a member of Dr Gatt’s alleged gang which allegedly committed a number of crimes.”
During Romeo Bone’s trial, inspector Mercieca had testified that “police were tipped off by someone that Bone was planning to eliminate Portelli and that the plan was imminent.” So, inspector Mercieca informed his superiors, “who instructed him to obtain an arrest warrant which was issued the following day and to investigate the case. Bone was to be held when he went to sign at the Valletta police station.
However, Inspector Mercieca had testified that he had “heard through the police radio at 6pm that Bone and another person were in the vicinity of Qrendi, where Portelli lived. It transpired that police officers had followed his car and he was stopped at Luqa, after which he was taken to the depot.”
Inspector Mercieca recounted how he had asked Bone about a vehicle registration number written on a piece of paper which was found in his car which read “Isuzu JBB 785”, which emerged to be a vehicle that belonged to Joseph Baldacchino.
In one of his livestreams, Portelli had addressed Romeo Bone and told him:
“Tell police what you know. I called the CID and told them to speak to you. But it seems my request has fallen on deaf ears…my advice to you, is not to fear to say the truth. The State will protect you. I will support you…nobody more than you can say what the truth is.”
What are the odds that this murder revolved around another drug deal which went wrong?
And no one notices the pattern. This case was never solved. Nor was that of Raymond Agius ‘il-Maksar’.
Both were Mafia-style assassinations, revolving around Romeo Bone, whose attempted murder later revolved around yet another bomb from the series of bombings we had in Malta in a few years, which escalated to that of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
And no one notices the pattern: that again, the trial of David Gatt was included in the mix.