Murder Most Foul No. 75

Murder Most Foul No. 75

£4.50

Donato Bilancia couldn’t help but admit it – his penis was at the root of his problems. It was just too small.

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Donato Bilancia couldn’t help but admit it – his penis was at the root of his problems. It was just too small. And that, claimed a Roman prostitute named Irene, was the reason why Donato became a woman-hating serial killer. But Bilancia was much more than a misogynist with an anatomical problem. He was also The Executioner, The Terminator and the Ligurian Monster, names he earned from a killing spree that resulted in 18 cold-blooded murders. He is also considered to be Italy’s worst-ever serial killer.

The public execution of wife-killer Francis Bradley almost outshone his terrible crime. Thousands flocked from all over the country to see it, the first outside Liverpool’s Kirkdale Prison for four years. As most arrived before 8 a.m. they were annoyed to learn they had a four-hour wait. Still, they passed the time as best they could, some by throwing cabbage stumps, others by picking pockets. “To see a man die game,” an observer noted at the time, “was a sublime event, sadly more solemn than death in any other form.”

Ralph Smith planned to make Swindon landlady Beatrice Baxter his wife by that Easter of 1939, provided she behaved herself and “stopped carrying on with other chaps.” But she apparently found that a difficult promise to keep. A decision that was to cost them both dear.

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