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A.K.A.: "The Monster of Nerola"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robberies
Number of victims: 4 - 16
Date of murders: 1944 - 1947
Date of arrest: September 7, 1947 
Date of birth: ???
Victims profile: Men and women
Method of murder: Shooting / Stabbing with knife
Location: Nerola, Italy
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on March 12, 1949

Monster's Child

Monday, Apr. 16, 1956

When black-haired Carolina was nine years old, she saw her father commit a murder. "Father was squabbling in the kitchen one night with a stranger," she remembers. "I heard them and went to look. On the kitchen floor I saw a man with his throat cut and his head all bloody. I hurried back to bed."

A few months later Carolina's father, Ernesto Picchioni, was known to all Italy as the "Monster of Nerola." With her mother, two sisters and a brother, Carolina lived with him in a dank stone cottage in a lonely gorge in the hills east of Rome. Father Picchioni was an itinerant olive-picker, chicken thief, and loud-mouthed braggart who was first a Fascist, later a Communist. Always roaring at his wife and children, he once made them dig a long family grave in the backyard so that "it will be ready when I want to get rid of you."

After Dark.

One night in 1944 a lawyer named Pietro Monni stopped in the lonely gorge to ask help in fixing the leak in his bicycle tire, and stayed for the night. Carolina's mother heard a shot. "I got up and saw my husband carrying out a big bundle—a sheet with a human foot hanging out."

Three years later another bicyclist stopped, and did not live the night. This time Carolina's terrified mother summoned her courage and notified the police. At the trial Picchioni brazenly confessed to two more murders, and a dozen others were attributed to him. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Carolina's mother took up washing and Carolina and her sisters were sent to Rome's House of Calasanziane Sisters for orphans and convicts' children.

At the orphanage Carolina learned to sew, made laces, embroideries, bridal trousseaux; she left the institution only for group walks, saw no movies, read only religious books. In the home's routine, she rose every day at 5:30, attended Mass at 6, worked all day.

Carolina had grown into a tall, slim, black-eyed girl of 17 when, one day last fall, the Sisters told all 157 girls to line up for inspection. A greying, well-dressed man looked along the line and said: "I'll take that one," and pointed to Carolina. Hastily, the Sisters told him the story of her father. "All the more reason to take her," said he. "She deserves a break."


Carolina's benefactor was an Englishman named Robert Wilbraham Fitz Aucher. A vicar's son, Fitz Aucher was a man of great charm and erratic fortune. Three years ago he struck it rich when he sold a rust-proofing process to a Belgian steel concern for close to $1,000,000. After that he expanded gloriously, launching enterprises from Norway to Iran. He did not marry, but brooding on his loneliness, decided to adopt children. He dreamed of being a Pygmalion to some poor Italian girl and transforming her into a perfect English lady. Italian friends sent him to the Calasanziane Sisters.

Fitz Aucher arranged a legal guardianship for Carolina and younger sister Gabriella. While he traveled the international business circuit, Fitz Aucher lodged Carolina with an elderly couple in one of Rome's most expensive districts. Carolina went on a happy whirl of movies and shopping, rode home weekly in a Rolls-Royce to her old village of Nerola. Fitz Aucher started her studying English, tennis, driving, planned to adopt her formally and take her to London.

A fortnight ago Fitz Aucher died of a heart attack. Last week every daily newspaper in Rome headlined the happy story of La Cenerčntola, the Cinderella girl, who had inherited an estimated $2,000,000 in her benefactor's will. Carolina, the monster's child, had overnight become the richest 17-year-old girl in Italy. She talked happily of building a home for her mother, of praying for the soul of Signor Fitz Aucher, that "very good man," and of going to Texas to see some cowboys.



VENUE: Nerola, Italy


MO: Lust killer of women; buried victims in his garden.

DISPOSITION: Convicted; sentence unknown.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans



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