21 August 1968 is a hot, but black, moonless night. And undercover of the darkness, a couple drive to a cemetery for a quick bit of adultery in the front seat of their car. The married 32 year-old Barbara Locci certainly doesn’t expect her cheating session with Antonio Lo Bianco, a bricklayer, to last long. Her six year old son, Natalino, is asleep in the back.
The couple begin to undress. Entranced in each other, they don’t notice the approach of a gunman. He shoots eight times, killing them both. But the boy is not only left unharmed, the killer drops him off at the safety of a farmhouse.
The police don’t have far to search for a suspect. Antonio is not Barbara’s first lover. Her prolific encounters earned her the nickname ‘Queen Bee’, and her much cheated on husband, Stefano Mele, confesses to the murders just two days later. His confession, however, has many flaws, not least of which is why he decided to shoot into a car he knew contained his only son. He soon retracts his confession but two years later, the courts, believing him partially insane, sentence Stefano Mele to 14 years in prison.
14 September 1974: Six years have passed since the first killings. 19-year-old Pasquale Gentilcore parks his father’s car. He’s picked a romantic spot that overlooks a river few miles north of Florence. But on such a dark, moonless night, he and his teenage lover, Stefania Pettini, haven’t come for the view. Pasquale begins to undress and they start to kiss.
Then, ten bullets rip into their car. Pasquale is shot five times and is stabbed twice. Her boyfriend is dead but Stefania, who has been shot three times, is still breathing. She’s dragged from the car. At some point during her 96 stab wounds, Stefania Pettini mercifully dies. She is spared the sickening acts that follow. Her naked body is spread-eagled behind the car and a vine branch is partially inserted into her mutilated vagina. The killer then empties the contents of her handbag onto the ground and leaves.
It’s June 1981, seven years after the sickening killing of the young lovers. An off duty policeman is spending his weekend walking with his son in the Florentine countryside. He comes across a Fiat with a handbag and its contents emptied beside the driver’s door. On closer inspection, he finds 30-year-old Giovanni Foggi sitting in the driver’s seat with his throat slashed. The police investigation found that eight shots had been fired into the vehicle. And nearby, they find the spread eagled body of Giovanni’s 21-year-old lover, Carmela De Nuccio. She had been repeatedly stabbed. This time, the killer had tried to remove her vagina with an almost surgical like approach. The autopsy showed that both lovers had died from the gunshots and hadn’t endured the subsequent stabbing, slashing and slicing. Ballistic tests showed a .22 calibre weapon had been used and detectives made a match to the 1974 murder. Did Florence harbour a serial killer?
Confirmation comes that October. Stefano Baldi, 26, and his girlfriend, Susanna Cambi, 24, park in a scenic area north of Florence. They are still alive when the shooting stops. Then the stabbing starts. Later that evening, another young couple discover the bodies. For the second time, the woman’s vagina has been removed. The police alert the press to their serial killer suspicions.
The next year, in June, the killer opens fire on a couple making love in their car. Unusually, it’s the 20 year old girlfriend, Antonella Miglionni that dies first. Her 22 year old boyfriend Paolo Mainardi manages to start the car and reverse it away. But he reverses into a ditch and is trapped. The killer approaches again. He empties his pistol into the victims. With his usual routine disturbed, the killer leaves before mutilating the female.
Amazingly, Paolo was still alive when the scene was discovered. When he did die a few hours later, the authorities ask the press to state that Paolo had given a description of the killer before dying, in the hope of forcing him into the open. One of the medics who accompanied Paolo to hospital receives two telephone calls asking for details of the description. In the second call, the person identifies himself as the killer. But no new lead opens up. The only development is that a detective remembers the first 1968 double murder and calls for ballistic tests. They confirm the same weapon was used.
Two years pass. On 9 September 1983, the killer shoots two German boys, Horst Meyer and Uwe Rusch Sens. But he doesn’t mutilate either. Investigators speculate that the killer mistook the long blonde hair of one of the boys to be that of a girl.
On 29 July 1984 the killer ends the lives of another young couple. On the top of the shooting and stabbing (this time, the female is slashed over 100 times), and the genital removal, the killer removes her left breast.
The Monster of Florence strikes one last time on 8 September 1985. A French couple are on a camping holiday. As they make love in their tent, the killer places his gun just 20 inches from them. He fires four bullets into each of them. Three bullets rip into the skull of Nadine Mauriot. But despite one of the bullets hitting his mouth, 25-year-old Jean-Michel Kraveichvili manages to escape the tent. He runs 30 yards. Then the killer catches up with him. He stabs Jean-Michel to death. The killer returns to the tent and over the next 10 minutes, he removes Nadine’s vagina and left breast.
The next day, the assistant District Attorney receives an envelope. Her address on the envelope has been created using letters cut from a magazines and newspapers and contains one spelling mistake. Inside is a small plastic bag. Inside the plastic bag there is a bit of Nadine’s breast.