Man confesses to ‘crucifixion killing’

The man believed to be behind the so-called “crucifixion killing” of a prostitute whose body was discovered tied to an iron bar was arrested in Florence on Friday morning, Italian media reported. He has reportedly confessed to the crime.

Man confesses to 'crucifixion killing'
Photo: Rosie Scammell

Riccardo Viti, a 55-year-old plumber, was arrested at his home on via Locchi in the northern outskirts of Florence at dawn on Friday morning.

Viti apparently made no protest as he was arrested and later confessed to the murder during questioning, Corriere della Sera reported.

At the moment of the man's arrest, Viti was reported to have said "I'm finished. No one can save me now".

The 55-year-old faces charges of murdering 26-year-old Romanian prostitute Andrea Cristina Zamfir, whose naked body was discovered under a bridge in the Ugnano district by a cyclist on Monday tied to a horizontal bar in a position similar to that of crucifixion. She had been raped and left to die.  

Viti also faces charges of sexually assaulting at least three other prostitutes.

During the search of the man’s home, police said they had also found tape matching that used to bind the murdered prostitute, which was linked to the Careggi hospital just minutes from Viti’s home.

The arrest comes after police said they had found the same DNA in three separate cases investigated in connection with the killing.

The DNA, which was discovered on the tape used to bind the women, concerns a case from July 17th 2011 in Calenzano, a case from March 28th 2013 in Ugnano and another from February 21st 2014, also in Calenzano.

Police are also investigating possible links with four other cases dating back as far as 2006.

Investigators, however, have not ruled out that there could be more cases linked to the killing.

Through interviews with five of the women, including one with a 46-year-old prostitute who was sexually assaulted in a similar case in March 2013, police were able to piece together a physical description of the man.

Quoted in Corriere della Sera following Viti's arrest, the suspect’s mother said: “I don’t know what happened, what my son has done. Ask the police. I only know that I am in the deepest despair.

“They just told me that he confessed. I didn’t know anything. I wasn’t aware of anything. I thought he was a good boy but if he did what he did I can’t defend him. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I’m just in despair.”  

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Italy’s president calls for ‘full truth’ on anniversary of Bologna bombing

President Sergio Mattarella said on Tuesday it was the state's duty to shed more light on the 1980 bombing of Bologna's train station, on the 42nd anniversary of the attack that killed 85 people and injured 200.

Italy's president calls for 'full truth' on anniversary of Bologna bombing

On August 2nd 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, causing devastation on an unprecedented scale.

Five members of terrorist groups were later convicted in relation to the bombing, the worst episode in Italy’s ‘Years of Lead’ period of political violence in the 1970s and 80s.

Most recently, in 2020, a former member of the far-right Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR) was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack.

But suspicions remain of cover-ups and the involvement of “deviant elements” within the nation’s security services, reported Italian news agency Ansa.

READ ALSO: Bologna massacre: 40 years on, questions remain over Italy’s deadliest postwar terror attack

“The bomb that killed people who happened to be at the station on that morning 42 years ago still reverberates with violence in the depths of the country’s conscience,” Mattarella said in a speech marking the anniversary on Tuesday.

“It was the act of cowardly men of unequalled inhumanity, one of the most terrible of the history of the Italian Republic.

A train compartment at Bologna station pictured following the 1980 bombing attributed to the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari.

“It was a terrorist attack that sought to destabilise democratic institutions and sow fear, hitting ordinary citizens going about their everyday tasks.

“On the day of the anniversary our thoughts go, above all, to the relatives forced to suffer the greatest pain.

“The neo-fascist nature of the massacre has been established in court and further steps have been made to unveil the cover-ups and those who ordered the attack in order to comply with the Republic’s duty to seek the full truth”.

The bombing remains Western Europe’s fourth deadliest postwar terror attack, and one of the most devastating in Italy’s history.