Court confirms Lino Cauchi butchered in political murder, 41 years later

1980s Labour administration found responsible for callous discrimination against Cauchi's widow and the son he never met


Updated to include the Cauchi family’s appeal for the police to keep investigating

The heirs of accountant Lino Cauchi, who was brutally murdered in 1982 by persons still unknown and whose butchered remains were found three years later down a shallow well in Buskett, have finally been given some form of closure.

The Court has found the State responsible for not solving the murder, which was closely connected to Labour politicians under the Dom Mintoff and Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici administrations.

The partial closure came this morning, 41 years after the gruesome murder, and only after Cauchi’s wife and his son Paolo, who was born months after his father’s murder, filed a court case through their lawyers Peter and Elena Grech, suing the government over its inaction and lack of compensation.

In a 65-page sentence handed down by Judge Francesco Depasquale, the Court found in no uncertain terms that the State and the police failed to even investigate the case at the time due to its connection to prominent politicians.

Even worse, the government had discriminated against the Cauchi family by refusing to pay any form of compensation for the murder, unlike in the cases of other political murders such as those of Karen Grech and Raymond Caruana.

Ordering the State to pay the Cauchis €615,000 in compensation, the Court lambasted the police force for repeatedly failing to even open a magisterial inquiry in the aftermath of Cauchi’s disappearance.  This contributed to the loss of valuable evidence that could have led to the murder being solved.

Lino Cauchi’s gruesome end

Lino Cauchi was among a handful of accounting practitioners on the island in the early 1980s at a time when Malta was enduring the worst political turmoil the country had seen in modern history.

Among Cauchi’s clients was a group of people connected to Lorry Sant – then a prominent Labour minister and the only-high profile Maltese politician to have ever been found involved in corruption by the Permanent Commission Against Corruption.

In December 1981, days before tense general elections, Cauchi had been called in for a meeting at the office of the late Joe Pace, the owner of the Magic Kiosk in Sliema, where, according to court evidence, the accountant was instructed to draft various promises of sale agreements on the transfer of land to members of Lorry Sant’s clique.

The evidence also indicated that Cauchi had objected to what was being done, and after he left the meeting, one of those present remarked that Cauchi was a problem.

An article in The Times of Malta a year and a day after Cauchi was murdered, with his widow believing he had been kidnapped and possibly still alive.

Two months later, on the morning of 14 February 1982, the 32-year-old accountant left his home in Santa Venera for his office in Valletta and never returned.

At the time, Mrs Cauchi, who was pregnant with their son, believed her husband had been kidnapped.

Lino Cauchi was last seen on Old Bakery Street, Valletta, at 6.30pm, but his car, for some unknown reason, was found parked outside his residence at around 4pm when he was in Valletta.

A suitcase he carried when he last left home was found empty at Chadwick Lakes two days later. It had been forced open.

It later resulted that Cauchi had a similar suitcase at his home and warned his wife not to let it go should anything ever happen to him. The day after his disappearance, a man identifying himself as an Inland Revenue Department official appeared at Mrs Cauchi’s door asking for the suitcase.

The distraught woman handed it over to him. The department later denied ever sending anyone to collect the suitcase.

More than three years later, on 15 November 1985, the police found human remains in a shallow well in the area known as Il-Bosk near Buskett in Rabat. They were later identified as belonging to Lino Cauchi.

According to forensic expert Anthony Abela Medici, who studied the case at the time, although it was difficult to establish exactly when Cauchi was killed, forensic evidence indicated his body was dismembered, packed in plastic bags and dumped into the well within 30 minutes of the murder.

It was also established that Cauchi had been killed by a mallet blow to the right-hand side of his head. The mallet was also found in the well.

According to Abela Medici, the blow fractured Cauchi’s skull in 28 places and could have been fatal. Forensic evidence suggested that more than one individual could have been involved in the killing because of the short period it took for the body to be dismembered, packed and disposed of.

Both manual and electric saws were used to dismember Cauchi’s corpse.

Court evidence given in several corruption cases in the 1980s indicated Cauchi had been privy to corrupt dealings by a number of businessmen, including Sant’s right-hand man and works manager Pio Camilleri, who is still alive.

Cauchi was identified by at least two court witnesses as being Camilleri’s accountant, but Camilleri has consistently denied ever knowing Cauchi.

Although the murder remains a mystery, it is widely believed to have been linked to the accountant’s knowledge of corrupt dealings involving the late Lorry Sant and his clique.

Cauchi’s family asks police to keep investigating

Cauchi’s family said in a statement released by their lawyers Peter Fenech and Elena Fenech following the ruling that justice has now been “partially” achieved and that they will continue to fight for its complete delivery.

They asked the police commissioner to have investigators comb through all the evidence anew so that those responsible would face justice for their crimes.

They thanked everyone who had found the courage to come forth and testify even though the killer/s could still very well be alive. They also thanked the courts for concluding the case in under two years.


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Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago

Under the MLP corruption was rife. This unacceptable trait is still prevalent today.
Well done to those who voted and possibly still vote for this party/movement.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 month ago

There are various common factors between the murder of Lino Cauchi and that of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Some of them are: The list is not completely.

  • closely connected to Labour politicians
  • under Dom Mintoff, Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici and Joseph Muscat
  • police failed to investigate the cases due to their connection to prominent politicians.
  • Maltese politicians involved in corruption
  • several corruption cases of corrupt dealings by a number of businessmen.
  • murders linked to knowledge of corrupt dealings.

Old habits die hard by Labour.

pierre schembri-wismayer
pierre schembri-wismayer
1 month ago

L- importanti li jirbah il- klikka…. qisna loghba futbol jew kazin tal- festa. Pajjiz patetiku!!!!

1 month ago

hu minnu li c-chief investigator injorant jew komplici – bhal Silvio Valletta – ta’ dan id-delitt kien Anglu Farrugia… illum l-Ispeaker nofs kedda l’ghandna???

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