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Friday, November 11, 2022

True Crime Tales with Cosette | The Maltese Serial Killer: Salvatore Mangion

Hello everyone. Welcome back to True Crime Tales with Cosette. And if you are new to this channel; Welcome! 


Today I will recount another true crime tale from Malta. This is the story of Salvatore Mangion: The first Maltese serial killer


Born in Żejtun, in 1965, Salvatore known as Silvio Mangion, and also by his alias "Kalanġ", was an unemployed schizophrenic who had depressive episodes. He was also addicted to alcohol and prescription medication. At the time of the murders, however, it was determined that he was fully aware of his actions and did them of his own volition, the motive always being robbery.


Salvatore Mangion
Salvatore Mangion


The murder of Rozina Zammit


On the 9th of February 1984, the body of 54-year-old Rozina Zammit was found at her home in Triq Hlantun, Safi. The motive appeared to be robbery, as a small sum of 200 Maltese Liri (the equivalent of around 466 Euros) was found to be stolen from her home.


Rozina was unmarried and did not have any children. She lived alone, in the same house where she grew up. The murder of Rozina was gruesome. Zammit had sustained 37 stab wounds to her neck, chest, and abdomen. She was found dead in her bedroom at around 9.45 a.m. when her nephew's wife was called. That morning, Rozina failed to visit a woman's house where she used to do some chores. 


There was no sign of forced entry into Rozina's home or any great disturbance. However, the two wardrobes were found open, and some bags were on the floor. Therefore, the police concluded that the motive was likely robbery. The police speculated that there had probably been some theft of money and gold from the victim's house. The murder of Rozina Zammit remained unsolved for over two decades.


Rozina Zammit's home after the murder
Police officers and forensic team in front of Rozina Zammit's home, after the murder.



The murder of Maria Stella Magrin


Maria Stella Magrin, a 68-year-old woman from Cospicua, was found dead in her residence in Triq Erin Serracino Inglott, on the 30th of October 1986. She lived only a few doors down from former President Ugo Mifsud Bonnici. Like Rozina's, her murder was also a gruesome one. In fact, she sustained 13 stab wounds to her upper back and neck. Maria Stella lived alone, and it was the neighbours who alerted the police after they heard moaning. 


Since the police knocked on the door and the elderly woman did not answer, they had to force open the front door. The woman, 68, was found dead in a pool of blood. It was difficult for the police to determine what could have been stolen from this woman's house because she lived in a somewhat messy place. This was another case that remained unsolved for a very long time.


Stella Magrin's home after the murder
Police officers and forensic team in front of Stella Magrin's home, after the murder.



The murder of Francesco "Frenc" Saverio Cassar


Francesco Cassar, a 74-year-old man from Żejtun was stabbed in the chest on Sunday the 16th of August 1998, when someone tried to rob his house in Triq ix-Xejba, in Żejtun. Guzeppa, Frenc's sister, who was there that day was also assaulted and stabbed. Unfortunately, Frenc died thirteen hours after he was admitted to the hospital. Guzeppa survived the incident and was able to identify her brother's murderer. The woman said that their next-door neighbour, a certain Silvio Mangion had entered their home and then started waving a bread knife around. The same knife was later found at the scene of the crime. According to this woman, her brother was stabbed when he tried to defend her. She also said that some three weeks before, the same man had tried to enter the house, but she failed to report the incident to the police.


Therefore, on the 17th of August 1998, Mangion was brought before the Court accused of murder and attempted murder, as well as attempted robbery because the motive of this crime was theft. Police investigators indicated they had linked Mangion to the murder after they searched extensively inside a water reservoir in Żejtun where it was believed that the alleged murderer had thrown his weapon. 


On that fatal day in 1998, Mangion decided to rob his neighbours: 71-year-old Guzeppa and 75-year-old Francesco Saverio Cassar. After he swallowed some pills and drank half a bottle of whisky to pluck up courage, he rang the Cassars' doorbell, surprising Guzeppa with a knife when she opened the door. He stabbed her in the stomach and right arm, but she managed to fight back, calling upon her brother for help. Mangion saw Francesco and lunged at him, fatally stabbing him in the chest. Seeing Cassar lying bleeding on the ground and his T-shirt covered in blood frightened him, so he fled, disposing of his knife and T-shirt in a reservoir at Triq il-President Anton Buttigieg (in the area of ​​Bir-id-Deheb).


During the compilation of the witnesses of this case, on the 28th of August 1998, his defence lawyer asked the Court to appoint experts to report on the mental state of the accused because he was previously admitted to the mental hospital. The accused was remanded into custody. The Court said he was denied bail as there was a possibility that he might leave the islands or repeat the crimes he stood accused of.


The courthouse in Valletta
The Court of Justice Building in Valletta (Courthouse)


Imprisonment and confessions


After the Cassar murder, Mangion was arrested and soon indicted. During a hearing, on the 6th of November 2002, jurors determined that he was sane at the time of the murder, and on the 5th of January 2004, at the beginning of his jury trial, he pleaded guilty. Mangion was given a 21-year sentence for killing Frenc and attempting to kill Guzeppa.


The other murders remained a mystery until a year after Mangion's conviction when he implicated himself. In May of 2005 while he was under psychiatric care and serving a sentence for homicide Mangion, boasted about the killings with several inmates at Corradino prison, one of them being Steven Spiteri. Steven later reported those claims to the police, and Mangion was questioned on their validity, to which he confessed. He signed two detailed police statements in the space of three days. Later, the man claimed he had only signed a confession because a police inspector promised him 10 packets of cigarettes and a plate of eggs and chips. 


The police revealed in court that Silvio Mangion confessed in prison that he had killed Rozina Zammit, he was only 19 years old at the time. Inspector Chris Pullicino explained that Mangion admitted that on the day of the murder, the 8th of February 1984, he had followed Rozina on her way back from the 7:00pm Mass and knocked on the door of her residence. As soon as she opened the door, he attacked her, and she started shouting. At this point, he stabbed her in the chest and neck and headed towards the bedroom and asked her for money. Unfortunately, Rozina Zammit died after a while as a consequence of the grievous injuries. When he realized that she had died from her injuries, Mangion fled the scene.


After interrogating Mangion, the police discovered that three persons were involved in Stella Magrin's murder. Mangion was 21 when the murder was committed and used to be in the company of two other suspects, Leli Spiteri and his nephew Oswald Spiteri, who are both dead. All three knew the victim. The accused and Oswald Spiteri had both admitted their involvement in the murder when arrested some 20 years after. Leli Spiteri died in 2004 while Oswald Spiteri committed suicide in the police lock-up during the investigations on the case. Mangion admitted he was the one who brutally murdered Magrin, the same way he killed Zammit, after stealing money from her in 1986, to prevent identification, as none of the criminals had worn masks.


Mangion was also charged with carrying an unlicensed firearm, holding the victim against her will, and the theft of less than 1000 Maltese Liri, from Zammit’s house, aggravated by violence. Mangion was asked to walk the investigators through the crime scene, explaining the layout accurately. At some point during the trial proceedings, one inspector inquired about two peculiar tattoos Mangion had on each ear: one had the letter "S", while the other had a "K". In response, the murderer joked that it stood for "serial killer". On the 23rd of June 2010, Silvio Mangion was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Rozina Zammit and was given another life sentence for the murder of Maria Magrin at a later date.


Salvatore Mangion
Salvatore Mangion


Mangion is the only known Maltese serial killer. He was convicted of killing three people during robberies between 1984 and 1998, receiving life imprisonment for his crimes. The police concluded that this is a case of a serial killer since the person was involved in three murders and attempted murders and used the same methods for the same purpose. Prosecutor Nadine Sant suggested that Mangion might be responsible for a fourth murder, however, she stopped short of giving further details. “He has tarnished our nation’s reputation,” she claimed, adding that he was even featured on murderpedia.com, a specialised website in which serial killers are listed. He is currently incarcerated at Corradino prison.


Corradino prison in Malta
Corradino Correctional Facility (Prison)

There is something I haven't told you yet. Rozina Zammit was my paternal great-aunt, my grandfather's baby sister. I did not get to meet her as she was murdered the year before I was born. She was always loved and never forgotten by the family. May she and the other victims of the Maltese serial killer Rest in Peace.

Roza Zammit


Have you heard of the Maltese serial killer before? Leave a comment and let me know.



Previous true crime case: The Murder of Rozi Camilleri



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