Crown: Defendant knew victim

After Sabrina Schirn’s body was found in East End on 17 March this year, a search of Randy Martin’s cell at Northward Prison revealed a lock of hair wrapped in a paper with her name on it.

This detail was part of the Crown’s case as summarised by Solicitor General Cheryll Richards when Martin’s trial began on Wednesday afternoon.

Ms Richards outlined the evidence she said would show connection and contact between Ms Schirn, 21, and Martin, in his mid-30s. The presence of blood and the DNA of Ms Schirn on clothing of the defendant is of particular significance, she told Justice Charles Quin.

Justice Quin is hearing the matter without a jury after Martin elected that mode of trial on Tuesday. The trial was set down to last three to four weeks, but it was not immediately clear how the absence of a jury would affect that timeframe.

Ms Richards described the area of East End in which Ms Schirn’s body was found, as well as the car she was driving.

She said there is a 200-acre farm in the vicinity, known as Wilderness Farm, run by Her Majesty’s Prison Service. Selected prisoners are afforded the opportunity for productive labour there. Because of the size of the place, prisoners could be out of sight of guards at times without causing alarm.

Martin was a member of the farm work party on 11 March, which was the last time anybody had contact with Ms Schirn.

At the farm, prisoners are allowed to take whatever tools they need, including machetes. It is usual for them to keep a change of clothes there also.

According to prison officers, Martin was out of sight that day for significant periods. He claimed it was because he was going out of view to have a bowel movement.

Ms Richards said Martin and Ms Schirn were known to each other. Her name was on his list of approved visitors and he had obtained her phone number from a fellow prisoner. On the day her body was found, officers searched an area of the farm frequented by Martin and they dug up a phone with a text message sent to ‘Randy’ from a particular number.

Examination of Ms Schirn’s showed that death was the result of multiple sharp and blunt force injuries to the head and torso She had defensive injuries on her arms. The medical examiner said she had been dead for days, rather than hours, before being discovered.

The Crown’s first witness was Samantha Suberan, who worked with Ms Schirn at Blockbuster in Grand Harbour. She said she was working Wednesday, 11 March, which was Ms Schirn’s day off.

‘Sabrina came in around 10.15am and asked to borrow my car. I said no because it was registered in my father’s name,’ Ms Suberan said. Sabrina had told her she wanted to use the car to go to North Side to pick up her boyfriend.

Around 2pm Ms Suberan was going on break and went to get her car keys, but they wee not where she had left them. When she went to look for her car it was gone, but Sabrina’s car was there.

Questioned by David Evans QC on behalf of Martin, Ms Suberan said she had asked why Sabrina wanted to borrow the car. She was told that Sabrina’s ex-boy friend was working in North Side and Sabrina didn’t want him to see her car.

Both Ms Richards and Mr. Evans asked about phone calls. Ms Suberan said she tried contacting Sabrina minutes after 2pm when she saw her car was gone. Sabrina had two phones and she tried calling both numbers. One phone was off. The other one rang at first; when she called that number again, it went straight to voice mail.

Ms Suberan started texting Sabrina but got no answer.

Sabrina was due to start work at 2pm on Thursday, 12 March, but she never arrived.