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The Monster of Florence Who Targeted Couples Alone Making Love in Their Cars

by Sam H Arnold 26 days ago in investigation
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This is the story of one of the longest-running and most mysterious cases of crime in Italy.

Several people, including one of the victim's husbands, have been convicted of the crimes.

However, couples continued to turn up even though the perpetrator was allegedly behind bars. This has led to much speculation that the murderer has never been caught.

Recently, the victims' families have asked that the case be reopened and the evidence reexamined to see if they can finally get closure and know who killed their loved ones.

The First Murder

The first murders were that of Antonio Lo Biano and his thirty-two-year-old sister-in-law, Barbara Locci. They were murdered in their car while Locci's six-year-old child slept in the back.

Stories vary about what happened to the young child, but they turned up at a nearby house asking for help. Whether they walked there alone or the killer took them has never been ascertained.

Stefano Mele, Locci's husband, became the prime suspect in the murder, thinking he was acting out of jealous rage. A paraffin glove test showed that he had recently fired a gun. Initially, he admitted to being at the crime scene but later withdrew this confession.

He was tried and convicted being sentenced to fourteen years. While he was in prison, a second couple was murdered with the same gun.

Subsequent Murders

In 1974, another couple was discovered murdered, this time though he mutilated the female victim. Two couples were murdered in 1981 in similar circumstances, over the next four years, four more couples would be found.

Then for an unknown reason, the killing stopped in 1985.

On 10th September 1985, an anonymous letter was sent to the prosecutor's office. The address was written from newspaper lettering clipped and stuck to a sheet. Inside the letter was a nylon envelope containing human tissue from one of the victims. It also contained another unknown DNA profile.

This was one of many letters that were sent, gifting the police clues or mocking their efforts in solving the case.

Suspects

In 1994, a farm labourer called Pietro Pacciani was convicted of murdering seven of the eight couples. However, his conviction was soon overturned and a new trial was ordered.

When the police tested Pacciani against the DNA on the letter, it was not a match. A search of his home on the 19th September also revealed no evidence linking him to the murders.

The police then explained that the crimes had been committed by a gang of which Pacciani was the leader. However, before the second trial began, Pacciani was dead. He died of a heart attack in 1998.

This did not deter the police and two of his friends, Mario Vanni and Giancarlo Lotti, were convicted of four of the eight murders. Both were jailed and both have since died.

Bar owner Baldo Bardazzi offered a witness statement that said he observed a man watching one of the couples, who then left as they did. In addition, several other witnesses said they had seen a similar man before the other couples were murdered. However, none of these accounts was tested against the three suspects.

New Investigation

Despite this latest conviction, many questions were asked about the confession that Lotti gave. It was also mentioned that there were still some unsolved murders.

Lawyers suggested none of the trials had gotten to the truth of what happened in the hills near Florence.

We are looking for the truth, with a new investigation, and we're convinced that there are elements in the old case files that were wrongly overlooked," lawyer Valter Biscotti told AFP.

Biscotti's call for a re-investigation on 25th March 2022 states that he believes the police were incompetent at investigating the murders. He also cites that the DNA found on the letter has never thoroughly been tested.

One suspect of particular interest to them is ninety-year-old Giampiero Vagilanti, a friend of Pacciani and an early suspect; his home was searched in the 1980s and evidence was found that he could be involved.

This lead was never thoroughly followed up, nor has the DNA from the letter been tested against Vagilanti.

Will the families get closure?

Time will show whether this effort by Biscotti gets the families the closure they deserve. But, unfortunately, it is clear from the evidence that the case has had a series of mistakes.

Five men have been accused and jailed for the murders. These men have then been released after another murder occurred during their incarceration.

The murder weapon has never been found in possession of any of these men. Theories have also surfaced that the killings could have been Sardinian Clan killings; again, this has never been investigated thoroughly.

The true identity of the Monster of Florence remains a mystery. Whether this was a macabre serial killer who is free or several jilted lovers with a similar method of killing remains to be proven.

However, forensics state that the same gun has been used in all the killings. So what do you think, lone serial killer or many wronged husbands?

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About the author

Sam H Arnold

I know where the bodies are buried and I’m not afraid to tell you - author of True Crime, History and Fiction. Find me on Twitter [email protected]

Or find my crime magazine here - https://www.murdermayhem.uk

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