Sara Di Pietrantonio, a 22-year-old Italian university student studying economics, was killed by being set on fire, investigators say.
The suspect is her ex-boyfriend, Vincenzo Paduano, 27, with whom she had been in a relationship for two years; she had just broken up with him hours before. He is accused of forcing her car off the road, and then setting her on fire with alcohol and a cigarette lighter. At first he denied the deed, but after eight hours of questioning, he admitted his guilt on Sunday morning.
Apparently, Paduano could not accept that she had left him and had a new boyfriend. When he got off work from his job as a security guard, he waited for her outside the home of her current boyfriend. When she exited his house, Paduano followed her in his car. After forcing her to stop, he got into her car and started an argument with her. He then poured some kind of alcohol over the car’s interior and his ex-girlfriend, and used a lighter to set the car on fire. She was able to get away from him and ran, but Paduano got out and caught up with her, setting her ablaze with the lighter as well.
According to The Local, Di Pietrantonio texted her mother at 3:30 a.m. saying she was on the way home. When she never arrived, her mother and uncle went out to look for her, and are the ones who discovered her car on fire and her burning body near the road.
“In 25 years in this job I have never seen such a heinous crime,” officer Luigi Silipo said of the awful scene.
Prosecutor Maria Monteleone stated that Paduano “didn’t accept being abandoned” and that “he organized, he planned the aggression,” regarding the attack on Di Pietrantonio.
As can be seen in surveillance video of the scene, cars passed by the burning woman as she screamed and begged for help, but none of them stopped or even bothered to call the police. Monteleone urged the public to help and “not to look the other way.” She added that if passers-by had assisted the victim, her life might have been saved. She also encouraged women to report “any threatening behavior by those who insist they love you, but it’s not that way.”
Chamber of Deputies President Laura Boldrin also urged Italian women to take any threats from men to police, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. She said that the country as a whole needs a change in cultural mentality, as it’s not uncommon for jilted men to become violent toward women after they end a relationship with them.
Paduano is being held on suspicion of premeditated murder.
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