Footballer ‘beat his ex to death with a hammer as her horrified sister heard blood-curdling screams down phone’

A FOOTBALLER clubbed his ex-girlfriend to death with a hammer and a baseball bat weeks after she reported him for stalking, it is alleged.

Giovanni Padovani, 27, allegedly left his team on the eve of a cup tie and flew to Bologna to lie in wait for Alessandra Matteuzzi, 56.

Italian footballer Giovanni Padovani has been arrested on suspicion of murder

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Italian footballer Giovanni Padovani has been arrested on suspicion of murderCredit: Facebook
Alessandra Matteucci had filed a stalking complaint against him weeks before her death

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Alessandra Matteucci had filed a stalking complaint against him weeks before her deathCredit: Facebook

As she arrived home he then ambushed her in the lobby of her apartment building, police said.

She was on the phone to her sister Stefania – who heard her screams as she was attacked.

Through tears, she told a local TV station: “She got out of her car and started screaming, ‘No Giovanni, no, I beg you, help.’

“I was on the phone. I immediately called the Carabinieri who arrived straight away.

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“I live 30km away. In the end he beat her to death.”

Alessandra and her younger lover had been a couple for around a year, according to reports in Italy.

However they spent most of their time apart as she lived in Bologna and he played in Sicily.

In January there was a bust-up at her home when he smashed dishes and a light, her sister claimed.

After they split he allegedly bombarded her with messages and calls at all hours and she reported him for stalking, it is alleged.

On previous occasions he had sabotaged her car, disconnected her meter from the outside, and tried to climb up to her balcony, residents said.

One neighbour told local media: “She was very afraid of him because he had become persistent and she didn’t want to let him in the house”.

Another neighbour said Sandra had asked her not to open the door if Padovani rang the buzzer to get into the building.

The case has sparked outrage in Italy amid claims the justice system fails to protect women from abusers.

Yesterday justice minister Marta Cartabia sent inspectors to review the actions of Bologna cops following Alessandra’s complaint.

Bologna Chief Prosecutor Giuseppe Amato denied accusations of judicial negligence in the case, reports news agency Ansa.

He said a probe was immediately launched after the complaint was registered on August 1, but the investigation could not conclude until next week because witnesses were on holiday.

“We did what we could,” he said, adding the stalking report did not highlight “situations of a concrete risk of violence, it was just the typical conduct of bothersome stalking”.

Padovani – a model and former youth payer at Napoli – has played as a journeyman centre back for ten clubs in Italy’s Serie C and Serie D leagues.

Earlier this month he signed for fourth tier Sancataldese, based in Sicily.

But last weekend he was absent from the opening clash of the Italian Cup, against local rivals Catania.

Sancataldese club lawyer Salvatore Pirrello said Padovani had left the team’s training retreat on Saturday saying he had personal problems.

He phoned asking to rejoin the team on Monday but was told to stay away, reports Corriere della Sera.

He then flew to Bologna in northern Italy, where he allegedly ambushed his ex on Tuesday.

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Alessandra was still conscious when medics arrived but died in hospital of massive head injuries.

Padovani was arrested on suspicion of aggravated murder and is being held in custody.

HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:

Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

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