Italian writer held over murder in 'Basic Instinct' case
An Italian man has been arrested over the murder of a Nigerian prostitute after police searching her apartment found a short story he wrote with close similarities to the killing.
Police in the northern Italian city of Turin discovered the nine-page story entitled The Rose and the Lion among the belongings of Anthonia Egbuna, whose body was fished out of the river Po in February, a Carabinieri spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday. She had been stabbed to death.
Police took some months to identify the body and then visited Egbuna's apartment last month.
In the murder case, reminiscent of the 1992 Hollywood thriller film Basic Instinct, aspiring author Daniele Ughetto Piampaschet was arrested last week because of likenesses between his short story and the real murder, the police said. He denies murder.
In Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone's character Catherine Tramell had described in a novel she wrote a rock star's murder with an ice pick that was later committed in real life, making her the top suspect.
After finding 34-year-old Ughetto Piampaschet's short story, police say they discovered he had been in a relationship with Egbuna, then 19, between February and August of last year.
They alleged in a statement that he murdered her in November because their relationship was going badly and she refused to give up prostitution - in what appeared to be a link to the short story.
"He loved her and he loved her more every day, but she did not want to leave the streets. All his efforts to convince her to change her life had failed. And for this reason she had become his torturer," reads an excerpt of the story quoted by police.
In the short story, the murderer strangles the Nigerian prostitute and then commits suicide.
"He wrote the story and gave it to her as a gift - to make himself look good," Ughetto Piampaschet's lawyer, Stefano Tizzani, told Reuters.
Tizzani said Ughetto Piampaschet had a "profound passion" for Africa and Nigeria, and saw Egbuna as an inspiration for his writing. "My client has declared his innocence and we are working to demonstrate it," Tizzani said.
Ughetto Piampaschet told investigators after his arrest that his relationship with Egbuna changed after he started dating another Nigerian woman last August, though he remained in contact with her.
His lawyer said his client stopped seeing Egbuna after he was threatened by people who control the Nigerian prostitution business in Turin.
"He stopped calling her after he was threatened and intimidated and told not to see her anymore," said Tizzani.