We had given news some time ago of the arrest of Filippo De Cristofaro, the catamaran killer who killed skipper Annarita Curina in 1988 aboard a boat. Unfortunately, the criminal became a fugitive once again: no escape, however, he was surprisingly released from prison in Portugal, where he was being held in Lisbon, due to the expiration of the terms of his pre-trial detention! In 2007, he escaped from Milan’s Opera prison by taking advantage of a furlough, but was caught in Utrecht by Dutch police. In 2014, however, he had escaped from the Porto Azzurro prison on the island of Elba, where he was serving his sentence, but after two years he was arrested again in Portugal. A “European Arrest Warrant,” issued after the escape from Porto Azzurro, hung over Filippo De Cristofaro, in addition, of course, to the Ancona Court of Appeals warrant linked to the life sentence for the skipper’s murder. Portugal had already asked for clarification because there is no provision for life imprisonment in the country. The response from the Italian prosecutor’s office, which explained that 30 years of imprisonment cannot be exceeded in Italy, was followed by a long silence from the Portuguese authorities. Then came the unbelievable news that he had been released from prison due to lapse of time. Now the catamaran killer has once again lost track of him.
Some time ago we told you the gruesome story:
THE CATAMARAN KILLER
Morning of June 28, 1988: off the coast of Marzocca di Senigallia (Ancona), during a trawling session, crew members of a fishing boat make a gruesome discovery, recovering the body of a woman. The body was ballasted with a 17-pound anchor, and the face was completely disfigured from the long stay in the water and, as would be discovered later, also from the numerous blows inflicted with a machete. The woman is identified. She is Annarita Curina, 34, a skipper by profession and owner of a 10-meter sailing catamaran, the Arx.
TO THE BALEARICS
International investigations and searches are triggered: it turns out that on the morning of June 10 Annarita had taken to the sea together with a man, an Italian and a Dutch girl. The three had left for the Balearic Islands: not just for a vacation, but to have the opportunity, once they arrived in the Spanish archipelago, to rent the boat as a charter.
HANDCUFFS FOR ‘STRANGE’ SAILOR
The boat, which had since been renamed Fly 2, was found on July 19 in the Tunisian port of Ghar el Melh. On July 21, Tunisian authorities arrest Filippo De Cristofaro, 34, divorced, a daughter, a strange guy who lives by his wits and possesses a real passion for sailing boats, and two Dutchmen: the very young Diane Beyer (17), who with De Cristofaro, leaving her parents behind, has already fled once to New Caledonia and Pieter Groenendijk, 27, who would later turn out to be unrelated to the crime.
THE IMPROBABLE HARANGUE OF THE KILLERS
At first, Philip and Diane try to baste their own version-quite improbable-of what happened at sea: a brawl between the two women who were fighting over De Cristofaro that ended in tragedy. Then they both collapse. And they confess. It was Filippo De Cristofaro who killed Annarita Curina, with the girl’s complicity. She allegedly wounded the woman-previously stunned with Valium dissolved in coffee-in the side with a knife while she was resting below deck. But he finished her off with a machete that was on board. Both then threw the body into the sea, after ballasting it so that it would never be found again.
MOTIVE: A SICK DREAM
The motive for the crime is futile and obvious in its horror: to seize Annarita’s catamaran and sail around the world together. A dream of many, but ill-attempted to achieve. Beyer was sentenced by the Juvenile Court to six years and six months in prison on December 17, 1988. Instead, De Cristofaro got 30 years in the first instance, a sentence that was changed to life in prison on appeal and in the Supreme Court on June 5, 1991.
THE KILLER IS ON THE LOOSE
However, De Cristofaro managed to escape from prison twice. On July 6, 2007, during a furlough from Opera prison, Goofy (as his friends call him) escaped. They fish him out in Utrecht, the very city where his great love Diana (who has since married and had three children) lives, a month later. Seven years pass. De Cristofaro manages to get an Easter furlough in 2014. Three days out of prison in Porto Azzurro, Elba, to be spent in a community in Portoferraio. And he still disappears. Since then, no one has seen him. Until he is caught in Portugal.
INTERVIEW WITH THE KILLER
In 1994, Franca Leosini conceived the series “Storie Maledette,” in which the Neapolitan journalist and anchorwoman traveled to Italian prisons to interview inmates involved more notorious crime stories. Filippo De Cristofaro was featured in the very pilot episode of the series, titled “Arx, the Catamaran of Death.” We reproduce below the full interview, in which the sailor, after a six-year silence, decides to tell his (shaky) version of events. (Ghego Saggini)