Devonport murder accused is caretaker for Plymouth Community Homes
A MAN accused of murdering a disabled pensioner works as a caretaker for Plymouth Community Homes, The Herald has learned.
Brian Short, aged 52, appeared in court yesterday charged with killing 76-year-old Michael Brincat, known as 'Maltese Mike'. Short, of St Stephen Street, Mount Wise, is employed as a caretaker for Plymouth Community Homes (PCH), which manages the Devonport building where Mr Brincat was found dead in his flat on Wednesday, February 5.
Short appeared in court wearing a blue shirt with a PCH logo on the front, and with short grey hair and glasses. He spoke only to confirm his name and address and he was remanded in custody ahead of a hearing at crown court tomorrow.
As he was taken down there were shouts of "We love you Brian" from his family and friends in a packed public gallery.
Speaking after the hearing, PCH chief executive Clive Turner said: "It would be wrong of us to comment now on an ongoing court case, but we would like to reassure residents that, whilst Mr Brincat's death is a shocking incident, there is no need for alarm.
"We have put in place support for the local community who have naturally been shaken. We will continue to collaborate with the police and other agencies on any element of the case. We're also working with any PCH resident who feels affected."
Mr Brincat was last seen alive at his flat in Marlborough House on Tuesday, February 4, the day before his body was discovered.
A post-mortem examination found he had been asphyxiated.
Short, from Devonport, was arrested early on Friday. He was questioned by police over the weekend, charged with Mr Brincat's murder on Saturday night and held in custody until his appearance in court.
Mr Brincat's family paid tribute to the well-known Devonport character, who had difficulty getting around.
Mr Brincat, who was from Malta, had two brothers and two sisters, plus his stepsister Evelyn Attard, from his mother's first marriage. Miss Attard, aged 86, told The Herald: "He was a kind person. He helped everybody that he could. If he saw a man in the street he would buy him coffee."
Mr Brincat served in the merchant navy and was awarded a medal for service during the Suez crisis in the 1950s. He was said by residents to be partially-sighted and a frequent visitor to the bookmakers on the corner of Marlborough Street.