A football star has been seized by police after being accused of beating his former lover to death with a hammer just weeks after she begged officers for protection.
Victim Alessandra Matteuzzi, 56, was on the phone with her sister outside her home in the city of Bologna, in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, when obsessed Giovanni Padovani ambushed her.
Her horrified sister heard her screaming ‘No Giovanni, no, please, help’ before the line went dead.
Both her sister and a neighbour called police but Alessandra was already dead by the time they arrived, reported local media.
Padovani – 30 years Alessandra’s junior – was still holding the hammer as he stood over her body when officers arrived.
Fashion expert Allessandra had dumped Padovani earlier this year, posting on Facebook about a new start saying: “Summer Is Freedom.”
But last month (July) she complained to police in Bologna, Italy, saying Padovani had been stalking her with phone calls and messages.
Officers, however, claimed they could do nothing until the end of August because so many witnesses were on holiday.
Officials are now facing a furious online backlash from protestors saying they ignored her pleas for help.
Padovani had hinted at the tension in the relationship during an interview in December last year with Mondocalcionews.it.
He complained: “I never see my girlfriend Alessandra, and this bothers me a bit.”
Alessandra’s sister told local media: “She got out of the car and started screaming: ‘No Giovanni, no, please, help’.
“I was on the phone, I immediately called the carabinieri who arrived immediately. I live 30 kilometers away. In the end he beat her to death.”
Padovani had a career as a part-time model and a defender in the lower levels of Italian football.
He played in the Serie C and D for clubs in Sicily and Sancataldese and travelled to Bologna from Sicily in order to be closer to his love.
Originally from Senigallia, a seaside town in the province of Ancona, he was the central defender of the Football Club Rieti, the Lazio town, between 2020 and 2021 with 10 appearances and about 300 minutes of play.
Padovani began his career in the youth teams of Ancona and Napoli and then landed in various Serie D teams including Sambonifacese in Veneto, Foligno football, Troina, Giarre and now Sancataldese, another Sicilian team.
He had also played in the then Lega Pro, the current Serie C, with Gavorrano in Tuscany, and had played a few games in Cailungo, in the San Marino national championship.
On the specialist website Transfermarkt he was described as 1.86 meters tall, born in 1995, and currently in the Sancataldese football squad until June 2023 with a transfer value of only 10 thousand euros.