November fourteenth, last Tuesday. The landline of a hardware store in Milan rings when the clock shows 5.48pm and 6 seconds. The voice on the other end of the receiver is that of a man. “Good evening, hello, I’m calling for information”, he says in a polite tone. Before you start looking for the right words. “I would need an acid, corrosive, I wanted to know what types of acids are in it.” The answer, however, is negative: no acid. At least not there. That voice, that man, however, does not lose heart. A minute and twenty seconds later another call comes from his cell phone: “Well, hello, hello. I’m calling for information. I need some corrosive acid, I don’t know if you sell it, that is, an acid”, he reiterates . “Why should I even melt metals.” This time the dialed number is right: the acid is there. And then he goes into detail: “How is the bottle? Is it a bottle? Because I need a thin bottle.” And before saying goodbye: “What time do you close? Otherwise, what time do you open tomorrow?”.
That man – a 33-year-old Roman professional, who lives in Milan – doesn’t know that the carabinieri are listening to him. He has no idea that the police are already tightening the circle around him which is now out of control. Who has now entered a “worrying criminal progression”, to use the words of the judge for preliminary investigations Livio Cristofano who signed the precautionary custody in prison for him. The 33-year-old was put in handcuffs on Friday, accused of persecuting his ex-girlfriend, a fellow citizen of his – who also arrived under the Madonnina for work years ago – who had decided to end their relationship in September.
That acid, according to the reconstruction of the carabinieri at the Milan Porta Monforte station, was specifically for her. A woman forced to return to her parents’ home in the capital to escape a spiral of fear and terror. A hell that began, and it is no coincidence, at the end of September. A nightmare behind which there would be her ex. In the rapid investigation coordinated by prosecutors Giulia Floris and Letizia Mannella – born after the complaint filed by the victim on November 1st – there are hundreds of anonymous phone calls, dozens of attempts by the stalker to enter the social and work profiles of the woman, whose images he changed profile or universities attended. As well as numerous messages sent to the 32-year-old from unknown numbers, almost always foreign. And almost always with a sinister detail: the Whatsapp profile photos were practically always images of the street where the girl, who works in the city with an important multinational, lives in Milan. And many of those messages were proven proof that he was in exactly the same place as she was.
Not just social or telephone “blitzes”, however. Because on one occasion, again according to the investigations, the man would have punctured the wheels of her ex’s bike and on another episode he would have smashed her car parked not far from her house. In the two weeks between October 13 and 28, while she was out, she allegedly did even worse. He would have entered the apartment and destroyed plants, computers, televisions and then cut the woman’s clothes and ripped the mattress and sofa with a knife. What the investigating judge describes as “persecutory conduct” carried out “with a tenacity and frequency that is, to say the least, nagging and heterogeneously penetrating the intimate and personal sphere of the victim”, so as to consume “a truly disturbing strategy of obsessive control and of psychological wear and tear on his ex-girlfriend, evidently not accepting her decision to definitively end the relationship”.
An ex forced to no longer leave the house, to no longer show up at work. She is afraid of sleeping alone. To no longer live for – the investigating judge further underlines – “the morbid resentment and sense of obsessive possession” that the 33-year-old “is showing he harbors towards her”. To the point of being ready to buy acid.