A philosophy graduate and would-be novelist who wrote a tortured story about a young man who murders a prostitute in Turin, Italy, has been arrested on suspicion of carrying out an almost identical killing.
Daniele Ughetto Piampaschet, 34, has denied murdering Anthonia Egbuna, 20, and dumping her body in the river Po in November last year. Details of her death are eerily echoed by his manuscript, entitled The Rose and the Lion, in which the protagonist kills a Nigerian prostitute rather than share her with other men, believing it is “the only way to preserve her purity intact.”
In a case echoing the film Basic Instinct, police found the nine-page manuscript among Egbuna’s possessions and traced it back to Piampaschet, a regular customer of hers who had become obsessively jealous, investigators say.
In letters found with the manuscript, Piampaschet wrote to Egbuna: “I love you but I am tired of your work ... When will you leave the streets? Please, leave them, we can earn money differently.”
In his story, the prostitute, also called Anthonia, and the protagonist, a young man who lives in the same area as Piampaschet, spend “carefree hours” together, but the man loses sleep dreaming of her other customers, “each one dirtier and more lurid than the next.” One night he arrives to pick her up, they argue and she refuses to get into his car. Enraged, the man forces her in and then strangles her behind a bush on the same street in Turin where the real-life Anthonia worked.
Piampaschet, once married to another Nigerian woman, was living with his parents and was unemployed at the time of the murder. This summer he worked as an Olympics volunteer in London.
Using mobile phone records, police discovered he called Egbuna 1,900 times last year. The last call was on Nov. 28, the date police believe he killed her.
Unlike in Piampaschet’s story, she had been stabbed 20 times, not strangled.
Investigators believe Egbuna was sending regular sums of money to relatives in Nigeria and had no intention of giving up her work, and that Piampaschet may have written his story to flesh out his fledgling plans for murder or as a warning to Egbuna. His fictional protagonist is unable to face life after killing Anthonia and kills himself.
Piampaschet is in jail, where he claims the similarities between his manuscript and the murder are coincidence.
“I have written about the lives of other Nigerian prostitutes and nothing happened to them,” he told investigators.
In Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone’s character describes an ice-pick murder in a novel which is then committed in real life, making her the prime suspect.
If convicted, Piampaschet would not be the first writer to describe a murder he committed. Krystian Bala, a Polish novelist, was sentenced to 25 years in 2007 for murdering a businessman seven years earlier after police spotted parallels between the murder and Bala’s 2003 novel, Amok.