Man held by Genoa police in hunt for serial killer
Thursday 07 May 1998
The suspect, Donato Bilancia, was described as a compulsive gambler with a long criminal record, and "in a precarious psychological state". He was found in possession of a .38 revolver matching the one used in the murders, and of a dark Mercedes of the kind described to investigators by a transvestite prostitute who narrowly escaped death at the hands of a middle-aged man on 24 March.
Police declined to say whether Bilancia was implicated in the murders of two women in train lavatories in Liguria in mid-April.
"Bilancia is one of the people we have begun to suspect most strongly over the past few days," said Genoa's chief prosecutor, Vincenzo Scolastico, after the arrest.
"We have had him under close surveillance."
The string of murders began on 9 March when the naked, disfigured body of Albanian prostitute Stela Truya, 25, was found on a cliff, half a kilometre from the home of Bilancia's parents in Cogoleto, near Genoa. On 18 March, Ukrainian Sljudmyla Zuskova, 23, was forced to kneel in a quiet lane near Pietra Ligure, where she was shot in the back of the head.
This pattern was to be repeated in the killings of the Nigerian Evelin Esohe Edhogaye, 27, on 29 March in Cogoleto, and of Albanian Mema Valbona, 21, on 13 April in Pietra Ligure.
The transvestite Julio Castro, known as Lorena, was accosted in a dark lane near Novi Ligure on March 24, by a man in a Mercedes who pulled a gun on him. Lorena was saved by two passing security guards who noticed the struggle and pulled over to help. The guards, Candido Rando and Massimino Gualillo, were killed. Lorena was wounded and left for dead.
Bilancia began building up his police record as a child. He spent time in prison for theft in 1973, 1981 and 1983. In 1990 he was arrested after threatening a prostitute with a gun.
Police in the resort towns along the Ligurian Riviera are now seeking to establish whether Bilancia was present in any of the local casinos on the night of 18 April, when the body of Maria Angela Rubino was found in the lavatory of the Genoa- Ventimiglia express train with a bullet in the back of her head.
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Holborn fire: Chaos as 2,000 people evacuated to escape toxic smoke filling central London
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Katie Hopkins reported to the police for race hatred by Labour MP Simon Danczuk after tweet about Pakistani men
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...