An Italian footballer has been jailed for life for stalking and beating his ex-girlfriend to death with a hammer.

Giovanni Padovani, a 28-year-old former centre-back who played for Sancataldese, was today handed a life sentence for murdering his ex-girlfriend, 56-year-old Alessandra Matteuzzi, outside her home on August 23, 2022.

Alessandra was on the phone to her sister, Stefania, who heard her screams as Padovani beat her to death, first with a hammer and his fists, then a baseball bat, and finally a bench he had picked up from a garden near her apartment in Via Dell’Arcoveggio, in Bologna, northern Italy, Daly Mail reports.

He had flown to the city to wait outside her home after his team told him to stay away from a training session. He ambushed her, and started beating her in a sick attack that Stefania heard over the phone.

She previously told a local TV station: ‘She got out of her car and started screaming, ‘No Giovanni, no, I beg you, help.’

‘I was on the phone. I immediately called the [police] who arrived straight away.’

While Alessandra survived the initial attack, she later died in hospital after suffering massive injuries.

The pair were together for about a year, according to local media, but had spent most of their time apart as Alessandra lived in Bologna, while Padovani worked in Sicily.

Stefania claimed they had a fight in January 2022 in which he smashed dishes and a light at her Bologna home.

After they broke up, Padovani bombarded her with messages and calls, and she ended up reporting him to the police for stalking.

But this did not stop him, as he tried sabotaging her car, disconnecting her meter from the outside, and even tried to climb up her balcony.

The judge at the Bologna court, Domenico Pasquariello, took just two hours to hand a sentence down today, and said that his stalking and predatory behaviour, as well as the premeditated nature of the attack, were aggravating factors.

He reportedly tried to claim he was not in a fit state of mind at the time of the attack, telling the court: ‘If I was completely lucid and capable I deserve life in prison. But if you consider that there is something abnormal, anomalous, in the conduct, then no.
‘I wasn’t well, because a person who is well doesn’t kill another human being. I’m in a nightmare, I’m sorry, this is a bigger burden than prison.’
Stefania was reportedly only able to get a single sentence out following the hearing, and burst into tears as she left the courtroom. She said: ‘Alessandra is no longer here, my sister is no longer here.’