Fashion’s own ‘black widow’: the true story of the house of Gucci murder | Italy

Even when she was being escorted to jail, Patrizia Reggiani was decided to go in fashion, carrying darkish sun shades and a fur coat. “I informed her: ‘Look, you’re going to jail and this fur coat is vastly costly’,” mentioned the former police officer Carmine Gallo. “And so we left the coat along with her mom and I lent her my inexperienced jacket, which she promised to offer again.”

Gallo by no means noticed his jacket once more, however he doesn’t maintain a grudge. He was the police officer who known as at Reggiani’s opulent central Milan house at about 5am on a frosty morning in January 1997 to arrest her on suspicion of orchestrating the murder of her ex-husband and style house inheritor, Maurizio Gucci. Gucci was gunned down outdoors his workplace on By way of Palestro nearly two years earlier, aged 46. The case captivated Italy, and now the story is being retold in Ridley Scott’s movie about the style dynasty, House of Gucci.

Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci.
Girl Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci. {Photograph}: Fabio Lovino/AP

Gallo doesn’t know if his character options in the movie, starring Girl Gaga and Adam Driver, however his inadvertent function find Gucci’s killers was instrumental.

He was on responsibility as head of a police unit concentrating on organised crime when he answered a telephone name from a person saying he had details about the murder. “Till then, I solely knew about the Gucci case by way of the newspapers,” mentioned Gallo. “I used to be used to coping with corruption, not murder. It was tough to consider what this particular person was saying, however I used to be curious.”

The informant, known as Gabriele, had not lengthy returned to Italy from South America and was jobless and homeless. He was dwelling in an affordable lodge on the outskirts of Milan, the place he met Ivano Savioni, a porter who confided in him about his involvement in Gucci’s murder.

“Gabriele mentioned he might give extra data in return for money,” mentioned Gallo. “I mentioned no, we may help discover you a job and a house, however provided that the data is confirmed right.”

Gabriele obtained Savioni to recount the story once more, this time recording the dialog. Savioni mentioned he had been approached by Pina Auriemma, an previous pal from Naples, asking if he knew anybody who might kill Gucci. Auriemma was a clairvoyant to Reggiani, by then divorced from Gucci, who was dwelling with one other girl.

Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani.
Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani. {Photograph}: Sipa Press/REX/Shutterstock

“Auriemma informed Savioni that Reggiani was sick and drained of being harassed by her ex-husband, who she mentioned needed to take the Gucci identify away from her,” mentioned Gallo. “She hated him and needed him useless, and if Auriemma might discover somebody to kill him, she would pay for it.”

Savioni turned to Benedetto Ceraulo, a debt-ridden pizzeria proprietor, and Orazio Cicala. Ceraulo carried out the capturing on the morning of 27 March 1995, additionally injuring Giuseppe Onorato, the concierge who had been sweeping away leaves from the entrance to Gucci’s workplace constructing. Cicala drove the getaway automobile.

Neither of the 4 concerned in the murder – for which they had been paid 600m Lira, the previous Italian foreign money (£260,600) – had dedicated a earlier crime.

The inspector main the official investigation staff, which for a very long time had been pursuing the concept that Gucci might need been the goal of a world plot after promoting his stake in the firm to an Arab financial institution, laughed when Gallo introduced him together with his preliminary data.

However that didn’t put Gallo off. “The one factor that struck me after I first examine the murder was that the concierge had been injured – if these individuals had been professionals, they might have killed him too, they wouldn’t have left behind a witness,” he mentioned.

As the group caught wind that police had been homing in on Gucci’s interior circle, they apprehensive that Reggiani would confess and so plotted to kill her too. They had been recorded hatching their plan to kill Reggiani after Gallo despatched an undercover police officer pretending to be the Colombian hitman steered to the group for the job by Gabriele. All aside from Ceraulo confessed to their involvement upon their arrest, and that Reggiani had ordered the murder.

Patrizia Reggiani during proceedings in a Milan court
Patrizia Reggiani throughout proceedings in a Milan courtroom {Photograph}: FERRARO/EPA

Police needed to break down the door to Reggiani’s house after they arrested her as she didn’t hear the doorbell. “She was strolling round this large place, holding a lamp,” mentioned Gallo. “However she was very calm. She mentioned she had been joking when she informed Auriemma that she needed Gucci useless. She mentioned: ‘What number of wives say they wish to kill their husbands?’”

Reggiani was known as “the black widow” by the Italian press as the portrayal of a girl scorned emerged throughout her trial. She was convicted together with the others and served 16 years of a 29-year sentence.

In an interview earlier this 12 months, Reggiani, now 72, for the first time spoke candidly about ordering a hitman to kill Gucci, saying she went round asking everybody if they may do it on her behalf, “even the native shopkeeper”. She mentioned she fairly loved her time in jail, the place she stored a pet ferret, helped fellow inmates do their hair and nails and tended to the backyard.

Since her launch on good behaviour in 2014, she has usually been photographed strolling round Milan along with her pet parrot on her shoulder.

A situation of her shortened jail time period was that she needed to work, one thing she balked at till her lawyer organized a part-time job at Bozart, an upmarket costume jewelry store.

“It was a blessing and a curse; some individuals thought we had been unhealthy individuals for hiring an murderer,” mentioned Maurizio Manca, the co-owner of Bozart.

Patrizia Reggiani at the Bozart jewellery studio in Milan.
Patrizia Reggiani at the Bozart jewelry studio in Milan. {Photograph}: Uli Weber/The Observer

Reggiani spent over two years at Bozart, the place she suggested on the agency’s jewelry designs and helped curate the Instagram account. It was the first actual job she ever had.

“Essentially the most sophisticated factor was the expertise – we needed to prepare her to make use of electronic mail and left post-it notes on the laptop with directions on the right way to change it on, open information and print,” mentioned Manca. “There wasn’t a lot freshness of thoughts, however she was diligent.”

Much less diligent was the parrot, who she would often deliver to the store. “The parrot was a bit of a nuisance,” added Manca.

Reggiani usually spoke about her life with Gucci, their holidays in St Moritz and their time in New York, the place they socialised with members of the Kennedy household and the Trumps.

“The newspapers had been at all times full of what they’d been as much as, they had been like the king and queen of Milan’s social scene,” mentioned Manca. “She used to say she was the solely true Gucci left.”

It was the obsessional attachment to the Gucci identify which some consider motivated her to rearrange her ex’s killing. “She refused to signal her police assertion with the identify Reggiani,” mentioned Gallo, who nonetheless has Reggiani’s previous passport in his possession.

Giuse Ferrè, a veteran style journalist in Milan, mentioned all the components of the story present excellent fodder for a Hollywood movie. Reggiani is being performed by Girl Gaga.

“It hit me simply how a lot they give the impression of being alike,” mentioned Ferrè. “It was such a shock when the murder occurred, like one thing that might occur in America, not right here.”

Gallo, who retired from the police power after 40 years, mentioned the culprits would by no means have been discovered had it not been for the probability informant, for whom he discovered a job and stayed in touch with for a number of years. “It was all because of Gabriele that the case obtained solved,” he mentioned.

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