Maltese police are investigating the shocking murder of a gay couple shot dead in their own home when three gunmen stormed in and raided the property.
Ivor Maciejowski, a British art dealer, and Christian Pandolfino, a Maltese doctor, were described by friends as two “beautiful souls” who were “always together”.
Police were called to their Sliema home at around 10.30pm on 18 August following reports of gunfire. Both men were found dead with multiple gunshot wounds, Maciejowski on the top floor of the property and Pandolfino on the lower floor.
Officers are now hunting three gunmen who were seen on CCTV entering the house at 10.19pm and leaving at 10.23pm. They are said to have been driven away from the scene by a fourth person who waited in a white car nearby.
Police have not yet disclosed a motive for the crime, but the LGBT+ group Malta Pride suggested that it could have been a “botched hold up”.
“Tragic is an understatement,” they said in a statement on Facebook. “Although details of the case are still emerging, it seems that this was a botched hold up and not necessarily related to being a homophobic hate crime.
“It would be sensible to wait and see at this point without making any rash conclusions.”
The couple were known to keep a large amount of fine art in their home, which Maciejowski sometimes posted to his Instagram account. Officers say there are signs of a struggle inside the property but have not revealed whether any valuables were taken.
According to the Times of Malta the gay couple had been together for at least four years, enjoyed working out and were regulars at MedAsia Playa beach club in Sliema.
Tributes are pouring in for the gay couple as their loved ones process their shocking and sudden deaths. Jordan Munn, who has known the couple for years, said friends were stunned by the news.
“They were just really, really great people. Selfless and funny and just friendly and fantastic and fabulous in every way,” he said.
Another friend, Rebecca Dimech, described the couple as “beautiful, kind souls” and “amazing people that loved each other very much”.
Pandolfino’s nephew, Luca Pandolfino, said his family had lost two “gentle giants”.
“We all are still trying to make sense of things during these tragic times,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Yesterday the world lost two gentle giants who were the two nicest people you could ever meet, keep your loved ones close because you never know when they could be taken away from you. Rest in peace uncle Chris and Ivor.”