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CRIME

Doctor stabbed to death by suspected stalker outside hospital

A doctor was stabbed to death outside the hospital where she worked on Wednesday evening, according to Italian media reports which say the woman had previously reported her suspected killer for stalking.

Doctor stabbed to death by suspected stalker outside hospital
File photo of an ambulance leaving an Italian hospital. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The victim has been named by media as Ester Pasqualoni, a 53-year-old cancer specialist and mother of two who died after being stabbed in the throat.

The attack took place in the car park of Sant'Omero hospital in Teramo, Abruzzo in central Italy as Pasqualoni was walking to her car at around 4pm on Wednesday.

One of Pasqualoni's colleagues, a medic at the hospital's emergency department, was the first to find her but was unable to save her life. 

The suspect was reportedly found dead, apparently by suicide, in a nearby apartment on Thursday morning.

“We have an idea of who the killer may be and we are looking for him,” police had earlier told the Ansa news agency . “It is very probably a person who had been bothering the victim”.

Pasqualoni had made a complaint to police about a stalker, and a friend of the victim said in a Facebook tribute that they had discussed “that evil man who pursued you” many times.

Almost 3.5 million women in Italian have been victims of stalking, according to the most recent data from national statistics agency Istat, but only 22 percent of those report the act or seek help.

Italy has in recent years stepped up its efforts to tackle gendered violence. Changes pushed through in the past few years include the obligatory arrest of those caught in the act of stalking or physical abuse, and a law meaning that, once lodged, legal complaints cannot be withdrawn, and that victims must be kept up to date on their attacker's legal status. 

READ MORE: Over 8 million women suffer psychological abuse in Italy

CRIME

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

Italy commemorated the death of Italian judge Giovanni Falcone on Monday, thirty years after the brutal Capaci bombing.

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

The entire country paid tribute on Monday to anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, killed by the Sicilian mafia 30 years ago in a car bomb murder that shocked the country.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese laid a wreath at the memorial at the site of the blast at Capaci, near Palermo, that killed Falcone, his wife, and three members of his police escort on May 23rd 1992.

Another ceremony in Palermo was attended by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whose brother Piersanti, then Sicily’s regional president, was also murdered by the mafia.

In a statement, Prime Minister Mario Draghi hailed the legacy of Falcone, saying that thanks to his “courage, professionalism and determination, Italy has become a freer and fairer country”.

He said Falcone and his colleagues – one of whom, Paolo Borsellino, was killed by Cosa Nostra two months later – “dealt decisive blows against the mafia”.

“Their heroism had rooted anti-mafia values in society, in new generations, in republican institutions,” he added, saying the “relentless fight against organised crime and […] the search for truth” must continue.

The mob used a skateboard to place a 500-kilogramme (1100-pound) charge of TNT and ammonium nitrate in a tunnel under the motorway which linked the airport to the centre of Palermo.

Falcone, driving a white Fiat Croma, was returning from Rome for the weekend. At a look-out point on the hill above, a mobster nicknamed “The Pig” pressed the remote control button as the judge’s three-car convoy passed.

The blast ripped through the asphalt, shredding bodies and metal, and flinging the lead car several hundred metres.

READ ALSO: How murdered judge Giovanni Falcone shaped Italy’s fight against the mafia

On July 19th, Borsellino was also killed in a car bomb attack, along with five members of his escort. Only his driver survived.

Falcone posed a real threat to Cosa Nostra, an organised crime group made famous by The Godfather trilogy, and which boasted access to the highest levels of Italian power.

He and Borsellino were later credited with revolutionising the understanding of the mafia, working closely with the first informants and compiling evidence for a groundbreaking ‘maxi-trial’ in which hundreds of mobsters were convicted in 1987.

“Thanks to Falcone and Borsellino, the Sicilian mafia became a notorious fact, not something that had to be proved to exist at every trial,” anti-mafia prosecutor Marzia Sabella told AFP.

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