Friends of the couple who were brutally murdered in their own home have described them as “beautiful souls”.

On 18 August, at approximately 10.30pm, the bodies of Christian Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski were found in their Locker Street residence in Sliema with multiple gunshot wounds.

Three men were seen entering the house on CCTV at 10.19pm with an arsenal of guns, and left at 10.23pm. They fled the scene with the assistance of a fourth individual, who waited in a white vehicle a short distance from the residence.

Speaking to Times of Malta, friends of the couple said they had been together for at least four years, were fitness buffs and enjoyed spending time at MedAsia Playa beach club in Sliema.

Jordan Munn, a close friend who knew them for years, called them “really, really great people” who were “selfless and funny and just friendly and fantastic and fabulous in every way”.

Another friend, Rebecca Dimech, called them “beautiful, kind souls” and “amazing people that loved each other very much.”

In a heartfelt Instagram tribute, Ivor’s younger brother said he “had an unrivalled character, so full of life yet so soft, you simply didn’t care what others thought, and neither did they once you disarmed them with your infectious smile and beautiful heart.”

He added: “You were unapologetically yourself, you lead with love, you lived to create, to learn, to better yourself at every turn. Three years my junior, you taught me like an older brother would. You were a rock when I was at my lowest point and you put me back on track when I lost sight of what truly mattered.

“I simply cannot express in words how much I admire you, how much I respect you and how I would give anything to bring you back. I’ve read back over this and it doesn’t even scratch the surface. I love you. You are and always will be my hero.”

Ivor was a contemporary art dealer from Russia, while Christian was an investment banker from Malta. They were known for their vast collection of art, which Ivor regularly posted to his Instagram feed.

Although police haven’t captured their killers or disclosed a motive for the crime, LGBTQ+ organisation Malta Pride suggested that it could have been a “botched hold up” and “not necessarily related to being a homophobic hate crime”.

Keith Caruana, another friend, said: “What a sad world, let’s hope the aggressor gets caught and passes through hell.”