John Marshall, a British national, has been arrested in Rome, Italy on suspicion for brutally murdering a gay tour guide and torturing another man.
The suspect met online the victim, a 55 year-old man, in a gay chat room and arranged to meet him in person, reported the The Telegraph today (24 February).
A Rome police officer told The Telegraph that the victim invited the suspect to his home, ‘they ate dinner, watched TV and kissed but did not have sex.
‘Then the victim noticed that Marshall was carrying a gun and demanded to know why.
‘Marshall claimed to be working for MI5 and involved in security at the British embassy in Rome.
‘When the victim did not believe him, Marshall flew into a violent rage’.
The victim alleged Marshall then punched him repeatedly and suffocated him with cushions.
‘He tortured him for hours to get him to reveal his bank card code’, the officer added, and stole 400 euros (US$ 528), eventually fleeing after neighbors heard the victim screaming.
The victim gave the police Marshall’s mobile number through which he was tracked down and caught, early on Friday morning (22 February).
Police found among his possession a replica gun and the victim’s iPad.
Marshall is also a suspect in the murder of 68 year-old tour guide Vincenzo Lale, 68.
It is believe that Marshall met Lale, like the other victim, on an online gay chat room.
Police suspect that Marshall had sex with Lale before stabbing him four times in the chest and strangling him with an electrical cord.
The police officer described Marshall as ‘well built’, and stated that ‘this was a ferocious killing’.
Lale's bank ATM card was stolen and used, suggesting to the police the killer forced him to reveal his code before murdering him.
Police suspected Marshall’s involved after reading through Lale’s emails.
The suspect apparently moved to Rome on 11 January where he rented a flat.
He is now being held in Rome's Regina Coeli prison for questioning, but has not yet been charged with any offence.
A Foreign Office spokesman told The Telegraph: ‘We are aware of the arrest of a British national in Italy on the 22nd of February.
We are providing consular assistance’.