A 61-year-old woman is accused of killing her 93-year-old mother by jamming rosary beads down her throat. An attorney for Francesca Martire doesn’t deny that she placed the rosary beads in her mother’s mouth, fearing that the older woman had fallen because of the devil, but says she didn’t choke her.
Martire runs an antique shop in London, but was from Taranto, in southern Italy, where her mother, Maria Luigia Magazzil, still lived. The Guardian reports that Martire was taken to a psychiatric hospital after her mother died, then transferred to a prison in Naples. Neighbors called police in late May after hearing someone screaming for an ambulance from Magazzil’s apartment, where she was found dead. An autopsy revealed that she died of suffocation and had lacerations in her mouth and throat.
According to The Telegraph, Martire told police she believed her mother’s apartment was plagued by evil spirits, which had also infected her:
“She said she wanted to purify her mother of malign spirits,” Fabrizio Lamanna, Mrs Martire’s lawyer, told The Telegraph.
“She used a rosary. I cannot give any more details because the case is still under investigation. She is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation which will be concluded next month. The case will then go to trial.”
Lamanna told the Guardian that Martire was afraid Magazzil fell “because of the Devil. She went close to her and prayed, then put the rosary in her mouth.”
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