True Crime Tales with Cosette | The mysterious death of Kevin Camilleri

Hello everyone!

Today I will look at another true crime tale from Malta. So sit back as I recount the story of the mysterious death of Kevin Camilleri.

Kevin Camilleri was a 31-year-old man living with his mother in an apartment in Qormi when he was killed by a homemade bomb. But one question persists; Was Kevin murdered or did he make the bomb himself? Was his death a tragic accident?

I couldn't find much information about this case, other than a small mention in the book Delitti f'Malta by Edward Attard and one news article, so that is the main source for this article. You can find the article, in Maltese, linked below.

Triq il-Fontanier, Qormi

Police outside the victim's apartment building at Triq il-Fontanier, Qormi

So, who was Kevin Camilleri?

Kevin was born in the late 1960s. Very little seems to be known about his life before the incident other than, his criminal history. In fact, Camilleri was a suspect in the murder of Joe Borg, a night watchman, who was shot dead by three armed thieves on the 29th of September, 1990, outside a pasta factory in Qormi.

Camilleri was thoroughly investigated and interrogated at length as a suspect but never charged. Additionally, in May of 1991, he was arrested for theft and served a 3-year prison sentence.

a photo of Kevin Camilleri
Kevin Camilleri

The police revealed that until a short while before the explosion which killed him, Camilleri was with two friends; Alex Mallia, known as "the Shocks", and Ian Galdes known as "the Mosquito". Mallia was 21 years old at the time, while Galdes was around 16 years old.

That evening, they hang out near the boċċi pitch, located near Camilleri's apartment. At around 11.15pm on Sunday, the 6th of June, Mallia left his friends and went home, while Camilleri and Galdes went back to the victim's apartment. The victim lived with his 50-year-old mother Frances, in Flat 1, Block XIV, Triq il-Fontanier, Qormi. That night his mother went to sleep a little before 11:30pm, and she recalls that her son had been home since 10:00pm, playing chess with his friend Mallia.

The incident

Frances was woken up by the loud sound of an explosion at around 1:50am, and as she woke up, she sensed a burning smell. She thought the television in Kevin's room had exploded.

When she went to see what had occurred, she saw her son coming out of his room. All she heard him say was "Ajma, ajma, ajma" which is a Maltese word used to express pain. Then, he collapsed on the ground, face up. Shocked, Frances called her daughter Antoinette, who was 26 years old and also lived in Qormi with her partner. She told her that Kevin's television had exploded and that Kevin had been injured.

Antoinette immediately informed her partner, Simon Spiteri, who was 30 years old, and they both went to her mother's apartment. When they arrived, they found Kevin lying on the floor, bloody. Simon approached Kevin to see if he was still breathing, but there was no sign of life. 

Soon after, an ambulance arrived at the scene. Dr Antonella Mizzi from the Qormi Health Center declared him dead at the scene. The family was told that nothing could have been done to increase Kevin's chance of survival.

The room where Kevin Camilleri slept was right next to the street, with the window being less than a meter high from ground level. It's easy for someone to place something on the windowsill. Since it was at street level, the window had an iron grill for security reasons. It is unknown why the other two windows, on the same level, facing the same street, did not have the same security iron grill.

photo showing Kevin's window after the explosion
In this crime scene photo, you can see the window with the iron grill.

The investigation

The Magistrate, Dr Abigail Lofaro, ordered an inquiry into the incident. She appointed several experts, including the building's architect Richard Aquilina, Forensic Doctor Mario Scerri, a military officer trained in dealing with explosives named Albert Camilleri, and several crime scene investigators.

Several other police officers attended the crime scene, including the two Commissioners, George Grech and John Rizzo, Superintendent Daniel Gatt and two Inspectors named David Saliba and Mario Bonnici.

The investigation quickly determined that the explosive was a pipe bomb. It caused extensive damage to Kevin's bedroom and some minor structural damage to the apartment. The force of the blast also shattered his neighbours' windows and the windows of two cars parked outside.

a pipe bomb
This is what a pipe bomb looks like.

According to his autopsy, Kevin had extensive burns to his chest and abdomen as well as, a fracture in the palm of his hand and elbow. This suggested that he was looking in the direction of the explosion. He was awake and standing up at the time of the blast. The blast was about 50 centimetres away from him based on his injuries. He was not holding the device as it would have blown his hand off.

The investigation revealed that although Kevin was found wearing only underpants when the bomb exploded, he had not yet entered the bed but was awake and standing. In fact, the forensic examinations carried out on the scene, indicate that if Camilleri had been in bed when the bomb exploded, he would have suffered only serious injuries, so much so that the bed had very little damage.

With the explosion, Camilleri turned around and walked in the direction of his mother's bedroom. But he only got to the bathroom, where blood splatter was found on the wall. The blood splatter indicated that Kevin tried to hold on to the wall or turn on the light.

He died a few minutes after the bomb went off.

There are two main theories about what might have happened to Kevin Camilleri. The first theory is that Kevin made the bomb himself and his death was an accident. The second theory suggests that someone else planted the bomb, and Kevin was murdered. Both theories are plausible, as Kevin's window was right next to the sidewalk, on the first floor.

Let's elaborate more on these two possible theories...

the window wher the bomb was placed
The windowsill where the bomb exploded.

The first theory is that Kevin made the bomb himself.

When interviewed, Antoinette and her partner Simon told police that they had noticed several pieces of metal on Kevin's windowsill, including an object that resembled a car silencer pipe.

The first time Simon saw this suspicious object was on Friday, the 4th of June (three days before the explosion) at around 9:00am when he was passing by the apartment. Spiteri described the object as a pipe about 14 centimetres long with a diameter of no more than 8 centimetres. This pipe had two cross-shaped bolts and a thinner pipe that had matches tied with thread or string. According to Simon, the matches were burnt. That evening, he went back to talk to Kevin, but the suspicious object was no longer there.

Antoinette stated that a day later, on Saturday, the 5th of June, sometime between 8:00am and 9:00am, she also saw a similar object. As she entered her mother's apartment, Antoinette told Kevin, who was leaving at the time, about the suspicious object, but Kevin did not want to talk, and he left home without investigating what his sister had seen. Sunday morning Antoinette went back to her mother's, this time, the mysterious object was not there.

On the night of the explosion, Antoinette noticed a piece of iron on the ground that resembled part of the suspicious object she had seen on her brother's windowsill at the scene of the tragedy. She immediately informed one of the Crime Scene Officers.

When the investigators asked Antoinette and Simon to draw the object they had seen on Kevin's windowsill, it almost perfectly matched the bomb container examined by the Court's experts.

According to the police, if Kevin made the bomb himself, he had to have placed it on the windowsill and lit the fuse. Then, he would have had 40 seconds to close his window shutter (that opens inwards) and move away. Investigators concluded that this was possible within that time frame.

It's also possible he was not fully aware when he did this, as his autopsy revealed that he had smoked marijuana shortly before his death. So, if he did make the bomb, he likely lit the fuse by mistake when intoxicated and quickly put it on his windowsill, shut the window and took cover.

Further increasing the likelihood of this theory is that the pipe bomb or "mysterious object" was discovered several times before. If someone else planted the bomb, why would they keep taking the risk?

Even if this was an accident, the mystery still remains. Even if Kevin made the bomb himself, his death was not a suicide, so what was he planning to do with a bomb?

Now let's examine the second theory... 

A third person planted the bomb that killed Kevin.

This seems to be the theory favoured by the police, as this mysterious death is listed as an unsolved murder, not an accident. The murder theory is supported by two points: the fact that it would be easy to place an explosive on the windowsill. And that friends and family of the deceased also provided a few possible motives.

Police questioned Kevin's friends, Alex Mallia and Ian Galdes, who were hanging out with the victim hours before his death. They stated that in 1997 they were once followed by a Fiat. Kevin told them that he recognized the car as belonging to relatives of Joe Borg and that he recognized them because they had followed him before. Joe's family still believed Kevin to be responsible for the murder despite the police investigation clearing him.

Police managed to track down the owner of the car. Although the person confessed to stalking Kevin, he denied killing him. Joe's relative also had an alibi for the night of the incident.

Frances Camilleri, Kevin's mother, believes Kevin was murdered and that she may have been the intended target as she made some enemies at her workplace. She had reported some colleagues for stealing from their workplace.

Simon also told the investigators that Kevin used to be friends with a man named George, who allegedly was a voyeur. Simon claims that this man enjoyed watching Kevin engage in sexual activity with his wife until a fight ended their friendship three years before the incident. 

the victim's body being removed from the scene by the police

This photo shows the victim's body being removed from the scene by the police.

The aftermath

Ian Galdes, Kevin's friend and the last person to see him alive, was sentenced to 7 years in prison on the 12th of November 2001. He was involved in a hold-up where a police officer named Roger Debattista was murdered. Due to his young age (on that day, Galdes was 19) and the fact that he did not fire the shots that killed Debattista, he was released early on the 3rd of November 2006. On the 1st of March 2007, Galdes, then 24, was found dead in his room by his brother at his mother's residence in Triq San Ġużepp, Qormi. The cause of death was a heroin overdose.

Although the police still consider this case an "unsolved murder", it is still unclear whether the bomb was planted by someone who wanted to kill Camilleri or an experiment of Camilleri himself that went wrong. 

Did Kevin Camilleri kill himself by mistake or was he really killed by someone else? What do you believe happened to Kevin? Leave a comment with your theories.

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to True Crime Tales with Cosette YouTube channel. 

Talk to you soon!



I'm a vegan with a passion for sustainability and clean, cruelty-free products. I mainly write lifestyle, wellness and self-care articles. Since I'm a true crime enthusiast, sometimes I also write about true crime and post videos on my two YouTube channels.


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! If you ask a question I will answer it asap. – Cosette

  1. I absolutely love true crime and this is such an interesting post. Loved it. Can't wait for more! Sam - Roaring Pumpkin

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