Triple murder in Rome: Suspect from mafia milieu

PRati breathes a sigh of relief Rome breathe easy. The gruesome murder of three sex workers on Thursday is considered solved. Less than 48 hours after the first emergency call, 51-year-old Giandavide D. was arrested early on Saturday morning in the Primavalle district in north-west Rome on strong suspicion. After hours of interrogation, the accused is now in custody in Regina Coeli prison in Rome. The suspect was caught sleeping by the police. He offered no resistance and is said to have appeared confused as a result of continued cocaine use. The suspect’s blood-stained clothing was also secured.

Matthias Rub

Political correspondent for Italy, the Vatican, Albania and Malta based in Rome.

The investigators initially tracked down Giandavide D. by evaluating chats on his mobile phone, which he crime scene of the first murder. In addition, a Cuban prostitute reported to the police on Friday with a tip: When she was with Giandavide D. on Friday night, he told her about the murders. Finally, the suspect’s sister alerted the investigators after Giandavide D. came to the family home in Primavalle with bloodstained clothing.

According to the authorities, the 65-year-old Colombian woman was the first murder victim on Thursday around 10 a.m. Since the body was found unclothed in the bed of the woman’s basement apartment, investigators assume that the perpetrator stabbed the prostitute with a stiletto during or after the sex.

The third victim was stabbed trying to escape

Immediately afterwards, the suspect went to the apartment of the two Chinese prostitutes, a good 800 meters away, whose identity, according to the authorities, has still not been determined. Apparently, the perpetrator injured the younger of the two women with the same murder weapon during sex and first killed the older woman, who had rushed to help the younger, with a stab in the throat. The perpetrator finally stabbed the injured person when they tried to escape in the stairwell. The investigators gave the suspected time for the double murder as between 10:30 and 11 a.m.

According to media reports, the suspect didn’t want to be able to remember anything during the interrogation, except for “a lot of blood”. The murder weapon could not be secured as of Sunday. The comparison of fingerprints and the evaluation of DNA traces should remove the last doubts about the perpetrator of the arrested person. The fact that the alleged perpetrator was able to go from one crime scene to another in broad daylight with blood-smeared clothes through Prati and fled unrecognized after his last bloody deed caused some excitement in the well-off neighborhood. Courthouses and numerous law firms are located in Prati, as well as the inner-city headquarters of television and radio stations, as well as restaurants and boutiques.

It has long been an open secret that the sex trade is thriving in the area, although there is no street prostitution. The predominantly foreign sex workers establish contact with their customers via relevant apps. Even in the days after their murder, the profiles of the three stabbed sex workers were still active on several apps, as determined by Italian media.

Lunch break as a synonym for paid sex

The clients report their arrival at the apartments in question by mobile phone, whereupon the entrance and apartment doors are opened. Local residents report that men can be seen chatting on their mobile phones at all times of the day and night, or that they only say “It’s me” on short calls and then disappear into a doorway.

The business, which is usually handled extremely discreetly, is particularly lively between noon and 2 p.m. when the courts, law firms and offices are on their lunch break. The expression “pausa di pranzo” (lunch break) has become synonymous in Prati with paid sex during work breaks, it is said. In addition, there is a particular rush of customers when a football match is taking place in the Olympic Stadium north of Prati. Foreign football fans in particular seem to know exactly which Prati houses and apartments offer which services and at what prices.

The suspect Giandavide D. is no stranger to the investigators. He has several previous convictions for drug offences, possession of weapons, sexualised acts of violence, bodily harm and receiving stolen goods. In addition, he was twice inpatient psychiatric treatment. In the organized crime scene, Giandavide D. is known as Michele Senese’s former driver, bodyguard and factotum.

Known as “o pazzo” (the madman), Senese, born in 1957, had built up the criminal business in the capital for the Camorra clan of the same name from Calabria since the 1970s. Michele Senese was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014 for having ordered the murder of a rival clan boss. Before that, he had been released early from prison several times because of medically certified epilepsy and schizophrenia. There is much to suggest that Giandavide D.’s lawyers will also plead limited criminal responsibility or incapacity for the probable trial for triple murder.

While pimping is banned in Italy, sex work as such is not, as long as it is not performed on public land. It is generally known that there is almost no self-determined sex work, neither along well-known country roads nor in private homes, but that organized crime has the prostitution business firmly under control – even in a neighborhood like Prati. It should come as no surprise that Prati’s suspected Stiletto killer came from the Camorra milieu.

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