The background - Street vendor (39) beaten to death

The deadly attack lasts four minutes. In broad daylight, an Italian (32) beats a Nigerian street vendor (39) to death. Scene of the crime: the shopping street in the coastal town of Civitanova. Dozens of passers-by watch, many film. Italy is horrified.

In a first press conference, the police say that there were no racist motives for the crime. According to initial findings, the murderer Filippo F. (32) was mentally ill: he had a bipolar disorder in combination with a Borderline personality. His mother is to be registered as his legal guardian.

the mayor
Mayor Fabrizio Ciarapica condemns the cruel, senseless act
Screenshot: Facebook/Fabrizio Ciarapica

The police have provisionally arrested the 32-year-old on suspicion of intentional homicide and robbery.

Early Friday afternoon in Civitanova, Marche: Filippo F. (32) is walking with his partner Elena D. (45) when Alika O. (39), a well-known street vendor, approaches them. The couple is not interested in buying anything. The hawker asks for a donation. The couple enters a shop.

Normally, the story would end here. According to the partner, Filippo F. left the shop alone.

Dramatic encounter: Civitanova's mayor, Fabrizio Ciarapica, meets the widow at the crime scene
Screenshot: Facebook/Fabrizio Ciarapica

Filippo F. is said to suffer from a bipolar disorder with psychotic episodes and a borderline personality. Over a longer period of time, he is said to have previously been treated in the local psychiatric ward.

His mother is said to be registered as his legal guardian: Filippo is allegedly 100 per cent mentally disabled. He only recently moved to Civitanova with his partner. Before that, he lived with his mother in Salerno.

According to investigations so far, Filippo is said to have followed the trader. Alika O. has needed a crutch since a bicycle accident about a year ago.

Franco F. suddenly beats the Nigerian with this crutch. He tries in vain to defend himself and falls to the ground. A passer-by kicks the crutch away, shouts again and again "stop it, you're killing him". Franco F. beats the defenceless man, chokes him. After four minutes, Alika O. is dead.

"It was impossible to separate the two, this guy was cruel," the eyewitness told the newspaper "La Repubblica". Other passers-by filmed the act seemingly unmoved. Their videos circulate on social media.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is an illness associated with periods of depression and hypomania (elevated mood), alternating with periods of normal mood. It is characterised by mood swings of a pathological nature that put the sufferer into manic-like states.

After the Nigerian stopped moving, Filippo F. took the dead man's mobile phone and, according to the investigation so far, went back into the shop to his partner. She does not want to know anything until Franco F. is standing in front of her covered in blood.

Through his lawyer, he says that he is "sorry". He apologises to the family of the deceased. According to the newspaper "La Repubblica", his lawyer wants to request a psychiatric report.

Filippo F.'s mother is shocked: She was born in Austria and would never have believed that her son, who according to her was not a racist, would commit such an act.

Unbelievable pain and horror after the crime: Here the widow with the mayor in the city centre.
Screenshot: Facebook/Fabrizio Ciarapica

For the family of the murdered Alika O., these apologies are not enough: they want justice, as their lawyer informs. In addition, it must be urgently clarified why such an apparently mentally ill person had no care.

On Tuesday, an autopsy is to determine what led to the death of the Nigerian family man: the beatings, the strangling or was Alika O. ultimately suffocated by the body weight of his opponent.

Borderline personality

People with a borderline personality have clear tendencies to quarrel and conflict with others. They are prone to impulsive actions and outbursts of anger - unable to control their explosive behaviour.

In a special meeting, the municipality set up a 15,000 euro fund for Alika O.'s family. The local shoe company Eurosuole spontaneously donated an additional 10,000 euros. The Marche Region wants to act as a civil party in a possible lawsuit.

On Saturday, there was the first vigil in Civitanova, organised by the African community. Her suspicion: "If it had been two Italians, things would have turned out differently. Then someone would have intervened..."

Current Stories from Italy

Title / Montage - Photo: Buffy 1982/Getty Images via canva. com

Sources: Italian and German daily press; own research