HomeWorldItalian police investigate ‘murder by spaghetti’ mystery

Italian police investigate ‘murder by spaghetti’ mystery

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She had no children and was reported to have accumulated an inheritance worth some €500,000 (£428,000), which had been earmarked for a Christian youth education institute.

Relatives of Ms Basso told investigators they became suspicious of a plot to murder her and pilfer the money after distant relations from Sicily, including Ms Pepe, turned up at her 80th birthday party out of the blue and disappeared with her for hours afterwards.

Police later discovered Ms Pepe had made arrangements to transfer her great aunt to a care home in the southern coastal town of Aci Castello, more than 800 miles away from where she was being looked after.

Weeks before Ms Basso’s death, Ms Pepe drove her relative for more than 15 hours to the new facility. She did not take the 80-year-old’s personal belongings or vital medication with her, or notify other relatives of the move.

It later emerged Ms Pepe had legal documents that named her as being responsible for decisions related to Ms Basso’s care and the management of her assets.

The 58-year-old was also listed as the sole heir to her great aunt’s inheritance in a revised version of her will signed by Ms Basso on Dec 9, two days before her death.

On Dec 11, Ms Pepe sent a picture of Ms Basso seated at the Sicilian restaurant in front of the spaghetti dish to concerned relatives, who had pressed her for information on the 80-year-old’s whereabouts and wellbeing.

After her death, the relations raised the alarm with local authorities, who began investigating the possibility that Ms Basso had been murdered as part of a plot masterminded by her great niece.

Ms Pepe, who has reportedly been tagged with an electronic bracelet as part of her house arrest, denies any wrongdoing.

A first hearing on the case is set for Feb 28.

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