No eye-witnesses to murder

| 26/11/2009

(CNS): The solicitor general told the court on Wednesday afternoon that there were no eye-witnesses to the brutal murder of Sabrina Schirn, but the prosecution would demonstrate that the 21-year old had died at the hand of the defendant, Randy Martin (left), through a collection of circumstantial and forensic evidence. Cheryll Richards opened the case against Martin in the Grand Court in front of Justice Charles Quin, who will be hearing the trial without a jury. Richards said that Martin was known to the deceased, and on the day of her murder they had met in the vicinity of the prison farm.

The solicitor general told the court that Martin had the opportunity to commit the crime and cover his tracks and that circumstantial evidence will reveal he was the murderer. She said that Schirn died from multiple chop and sharp wounds to her upper body inflicted by Martin, who had arranged to meet her that day, when something had gone wrong at their meeting.

Crown counsel said the prosecution would show that the defendant had been in the car which Schirn had driven to the spot where she was killed. Richards stated that, after he had murdered her and left her body in the bush land near the farm, where the defendant was working on release from the prison, he had taken the car and abandoned it at another location. Before he returned to the farm, she said he had ample opportunity to dispose of the weapon or tools he used to kill Schirn, as well as the clothes, which were stained with her blood, but the decesased’s blood was still found on him.

Richards told the court that the prosecution would prove that Schirn had gone to the farm at the time that Martin was working there, met him and then gone with him to the deserted building where he killed her.

Following Richards’ brief opening statement, the prosecution called its first witnesses, who was a colleague of Schirn’s from the video rental store, Blockbusters in Grand Harbour, where the two girls worked together. She told the court how Schirn had come into the store on 11 March, even though it was her day off, to ask the witness if she could borrow her car to go collect her boyfriend from North Side. The witness said she had refused and they then spoke for a few minutes before the witness moved away from the counter, where they chatted, to re-shelve returned DVDs, and soon after Schirn left the store.

The witness then revealed how, when she went on her break some four hours later, she discovered her car keys were missing but Schirn’s keys were in their place. Having gone to check on her own car, the witness found that Schirn had taken it but left her car parked near to the store. Having tried and failed to contact Schirn by phone several times, the witness told the court how she eventually left that evening in Schirn’s car when she finished work.

Despite calling Schirn  and looking for her that night, in the local clubs that the witness said she knew Schirn liked to visit, she did not make contact with the deceased or find her own car parked in any of the familiar spots.

The next day when Schirn failed to show up for work, the manager of the video store reported her missing to the police. When the police refused to accept the missing person report as she was not a family member, the witness said they made contact with Schirn’s family. The witness confirmed to the court that she never saw Schirn or her car again. The witness said she did not know the defendant and he never been in her car as far as she was aware.

During cross examination by Martin’s counsel, David Evans QC, the witness told the court that Schirn had asked to use the witness’s car as she did not want to take her own car to North Side because an ex-boyfriend was also working in the area and she wanted to avoid the possibility of him seeing her meet her new boyfriend.

The witness, however, confirmed that she had still refused Schirn permission to take her car as it was registered to her father and she was not in a position to say yes.

The case resumes in Grand Court One on Thursday morning at 10:00 am with the crown’s second witness.

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