Italy arrests man who hired dark web hitman to cripple ex-girlfriend

Filed on April 7, 2021
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He paid an advance in Bitcoin to attack his ex-girlfriend and disfigure her with acid.

Italy’s police said on Wednesday they foiled a “nightmare” plot by arresting a man who wanted his former girlfriend crippled and disfigured with acid by a hitman hired on the dark web.

Calling the plan something out of “a contemporary thriller movie,” police in Rome said it was the first time they had managed to stop a gender violence crime plotted on the internet.

The suspect, an IT expert said to be in his 40s and working for a large corporation, was placed under house arrest and charged with attempted grievous bodily harm and stalking.

Planning the assault “down to the last details,” he wanted his ex-girlfriend to be made wheelchair-bound, and had agreed to pay the hitman a “considerable sum in Bitcoin,” police said in a statement.

He had already made a down payment, and the hitman was going to act soon. According to Italian news agency AGI, which quoted a court document, the hitman was supposed to receive in total almost 10,000 euros ($11,900).

Police said they started investigating in February, after being alerted via Interpol by colleagues from another European country who had first detected suspicious conversations on the dark web.

There have been several particularly gruesome cases of violence against women in Italy in recent years, including acid attacks and murders committed by men targeting their partners or ex-partners.

Out of the 111 women murdered in 2019, 55 were killed by their husband or current boyfriend, while 13 were killed by their ex, according to national statistics institute Istat in their most recent data on the topic.

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