Police in the northern Italian town of Pantigliate, east of Milan, made a grisly discovery when they were called to an apartment block on Tuesday morning.
Following what investigators believe to be a homicide-suicide, the body of an 80-year-old man, identified as Paolo Z., was discovered hanging in a garage at 8.40am in the basement of the housing block. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Inside the man’s apartment, officers then found the body of his wife, covered in stab wounds, on the bathroom floor. A knife, believed to be the murder weapon, was lying near her body.
According to La Repubblica, the man’s wife, Carmen, was seriously ill with Alzheimer’s Disease and had just been discharged from a hospital to which she'd frequently been admitted.
The couple’s son, aged 47, had spent the night at his parent’s house, the paper reported, but had left earlier that morning to go to work.
Although the motive for the killing is still unclear, reports suggest that the husband was shocked and depressed by his wife’s illness.
The alarm was raised after a neighbour reported seeing the shadow of a hanging body through a window.
This is the second tragic case of this kind to hit Italian headlines in recent months.
In January Giancarlo Bocciarelli, 76, shot himself after killing his wife in a clinic in Paderno Dugnano, Lombardy, where his wife Anna, 79, was recovering from a stroke.
Bocciarelli was said to have been bewildered by his wife’s illness and "uneasy" over the Christmas period, according to Repubblica.