An Italian nurse has allegedly strangled his doctor girlfriend to death because he believed she had infected him with the coronavirus.
The young couple were living together in an apartment in the commune of Furci Siculo, in the city of Messina, in the southern Italian region of Sicily.
According to national newspaper Nuovo Sud, the suspect, 29-year-old Antonio De Pace will now face charges for the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, 27-year-old Lorena Quaranta.
Lorena was allegedly strangled to death in the apartment where the young couple lived together on March 31.
De Pace is a nurse and Lorena was a junior doctor, and both were working at a local hospital in Messina treating COVID-19 patients.
According to local newspaper Gazzetta Jonica, De Pace told police that he did it because she gave him coronavirus.
Lorena had only recently posted a message about 41 Italian doctors dying during the pandemic.
Linking to a news report on the deaths that have hit Italy due to a lack of personal protective equipment, she criticised the situation and wrote: "Now more than ever we need to demonstrate responsibility and love for life. You must show respect for yourselves, your families and the country.”
"You must think and remember those that dedicate their lives daily to looking after our sick.
"Let's stick together everyone staying at home. Let's avoid the next one falling sick is a loved one or ourselves."
Salvatore Cuzzocrea, the dean of Messina University where Lorena had studied before working as a junior doctor, told Giornale di Sicilia that she would be awarded her medical degree posthumously as a tribute.
The 27-year-old was originally from Favara in Sicily but the couple had lived together for the last few months in Messina where she died.
After a violent quarrel, De Pace allegedly hit Lorena in the forehead with an object, knocking her out.
De Pace then allegedly climbed on top of her, immobilised her and then suffocated her.
After that, he allegedly tried to take his own life by cutting his wrists, but the attempt did not seem serious and only left him with superficial wounds.
Later, the man reportedly called the police and confessed to the alleged murder saying he did it because she had infected him with the virus. However, later tests indicated that neither of them had the coronavirus.
In addition to confirming the murder charge, the deputy prosecutor Roberto Conte also wants to make it aggravated after finding evidence that the killing was premeditated.
The nurse reportedly sent messages to family members which were later deleted, in which he expressed his desire to transfer his savings to his nephew.
According to the prosecution, this is proof that he had planned the crime.
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