The Grima Murder
Tony and his wife Anna were very hardworking farmers, who lived off their land in Dingli. On a very cold afternoon, Tony was returning from a very rewarding meeting, as he had sold all his vegetables and had a large sum of money to take home.
Peppi Muscat who also happened to be Tony’s neighbour, saw his fellow farmer walking in the vicinity of his farm, and called him: “Why are you running so quickly, Tony… ? Have you seen a ghost?” Tony stopped and told him all about his successful venture at the market, and that he had a large sum of money to hide and take home. That was obviously the largest mistake of his life – trusting Peppi, who was well known for his crafty schemes.
As soon as Tony was greeted by his wife Anna, he hid his money in their bedroom and talked and ate with his wife after a long day’s work. When he told his wife that he had stopped and talked for more than an hour with Peppi, she was concerned, as she knew that her husband thought that everybody was as reliable and as genuine as her husband. “Peppi was not to be trusted,” she told her husband, but what could she do now? What’s done is done!
The following day, Peppi called for a meeting with his fellow robbers, and together they conjured up a plan and decided to rob the Grima family and to divide the spoils into 5. At first, everybody agreed, but one of the robbers decided that he did not want to rob with his friends, however he started to threat them that if they did not give him his share, he would go and tell the local police inspector.
Therefore, the 4 robbers decided to give him what he wanted. On the following morrow, they went to Tony’s farm with a rifle and a knife and all had their faces covered in sacks, so as not to be recognized…
As soon as Anne saw the 4 figures coming to their fields, she realized that they were going to come and rob them and started to shout for her husband to come out of the sty. Unfortunately, 2 men surrounded her and tried to strangle her. Peppi went to attack Tony, however the latter managed to uncover the former’s face, and it was then that his wife heard 2 rifle shots, and pretended to have died with the men’s force.
As soon as the men discovered the place where the money lay hidden, they escaped from the incriminating spot. Anne quickly rushed to see what had happened, and she had the shock of her life, when she saw her husband dead in a pool of blood. This unfortunate event happened on a cold February day of 1890.
The police inspector had issued a proclamation that whoever came forward and revealed the occurrences of the crime, he would be pardoned and would also be given a sum of money. This was customary during the 19th century. One of the robbers in fact, came forward and revealed everybody and Peppi was to be hung.
On the 13th April 1893 the other robbers were at first sentenced to be hung, however their fate chose to liberate them from this course. We never get to know what punishment they were given, but if you visit the whereabouts between Dingli and Siġġiewi and look for the farmhouse known as “Il-Barumbara ta’ Żuta” you can see a cross and an inscription to commemorate the murder of poor Tony Grima.