Bits of breast were sent in the post by a monster that could carve out the genitals of his victims, but wouldn’t, or couldn’t, kill a child. Two innocent men were jailed for the murders, many more arrested, and the evidence in a later trial was gruesome enough to cause one of the police to collapse. But to this day, no one knows for sure the identity of the killer, or even killers, that murdered and mutilated under the moniker, ‘The Monster of Florence’.
But there was an MO. The monster hunted in a 20 mile radius of Florence. He attacked on mainly moonless nights between 10 pm and midnight and usually on a Saturday. He targeted couples in their cars who had driven away from prying eyes to engage in amorous activities. Out of sight, and distracted by the heat of the moment, they were easy prey.
The male would be dispatched first with a gun and finished off with a knife. The same gun was used in each of the eight double killings and each time the killer wore rubber surgical gloves. And as the confidence of the killer increased, so did the desecration done to the bodies of his female victims.
By never being caught, the Monster (or Monsters) of Florence, belongs to that niche category of serial killers, like Jack the Ripper, who are only known by their tabloid nicknames. Unlike Jack the Ripper, there is a small chance that, as the Italians call him, ‘Il Mostro’, remains alive, and waiting. As the district attorney in charge of the investigation said, “The man could be your respectable next-door neighbour, a man beyond any suspicion.”
(An interesting footnote is that the ‘Monster of Florence’ killings inspired Thomas Harris to set his ‘Silence of the Lambs’ sequel, ‘Hannibal’, in Florence. And of course, this renaissance city is home to another famous writer, Dante. His definitive version of Hell created in his ‘Inferno’, is indeed quoted by Hannibal.)