Antonino Calabro and Francesca Di Wiki- Antonino Calabro and Francesca Di Biography
Antonino Calabro and Francesca Di The heartbreaking moment a young Italian couple shared a final kiss just hours before being bludgeoned to death by their close friend has been released as their killer was today sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.
Former casino worker Andrea Cardinale, who was suffering from acute undiagosed paranoid schizophrenia at the time, attacked his ‘closest friend’ Antonino Calabro and Mr Calabro’s fiancée Francesca Di Dio days before Christmas last year.
Teesside Crown Court heard Cardinale, 22, and Mr Calabro, 26, were friends from crupier school and traveled to the UK in 2019 to work at the Grosvenor Casino in Stockton-on-Tees.
Cardinale was dismissed from that role in September 2022 due to poor work ethics and ‘odd behavior’, prosecutor Nick Dry said.
As his mental health deteriorated he believed the couple were using spells against him and cursing him, a court heard, before the fatal attack in the early hours of December 21, which saw him go into Mr Calabro and Ms Di Dio’s bedroom and bludgeon Mr Calabro with a sledgehammer before stabbing him.
Ms Di Dio, 21, who was visiting for Christmas, was able to escape and run upstairs before being chased by Cardinale, who killed her with the sledgehammer, the court heard.
Mr Dry said Cardinale then went to a petrol station to buy diesel and a lighter to blow up the flat. He used the property in fuel but did not ignite it.
Antonino Calabro and Francesca Di Age
Antonino Calabro age is 26 years old,
Francesca Di age is 20 years old.
Schizophrenic friend bludgeoned them to death with a sledgehammer
He later told the police he had been hearing voices telling him to carry out the horrific attack.
Video footage shown to the court reveals how Ms Di Dio got up to wait for her partner to return home from work at around 3.30am in the morning, wearing slippers and a red dressing gown as she waited in the hall of the property the two men shared.
She then opened the door for Mr Calabro, with the pair sharing a quick kiss in greeting before heading back to his room.
At some point later that morning, both were killed by Cardinale.
Both bodies were found in the flat in Thornaby by Cardinale’s father, who had traveled over to persuade his son to fly back with him to Sicily after the family became concerned about his mental health.
Cardinale’s father alerted Italian police, who raised the alarm with Interpol and Cleveland Police.
Cardinale was arrested that afternoon and later told police he killed his friends because he believed they ‘had been conjuring and putting curses on him’, Mr Dry said.
Police bodycam footage show police asking Cardinale his name before placing him under arrest.
Investigators looked at his phone and found searches including dynamite and ‘how to make a bomb’. He had also searched on the internet for ‘voodoo’ and ‘how to remove the evil eye’.
The defendant, of Thornaby Road, denied murder but pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.
On Wednesday Judge Paul Watson KC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, sentenced Cardinale to an indefinite hospital order, saying that he had been suffering from undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia at the time.
The court heard three psychiatric experts agreed that the defendant’s ‘unrecognised psychosis’ was the ‘substantial’ reason for the killings, with Professor Donald Grubin saying the illness ‘was so acute that his culpability for the killing is minimal’.
Peter Makepeace KC, mitigating, said: ‘The families are crying out for answers and it’s entirely understandable. The answer in this case appears to lie in a devastating and acute illness which has led to him being responsible, albeit in a diminished form, for the death of his closest friend.
A statement from Ms Di Dio’s mother, Anna Nosi, read in court, said: ‘The death of my daughter overturned and destroyed my life, that of my daughter Veronica and my ex-husband, Giuseppe.
‘Since her death we can no longer find inner peace or comprehend what happened. We no longer sleep at night because our thoughts are all about our daughter.
‘I often go to the cemetery and talk to my daughter looking at the small picture on the tombstone hoping for her to answer.
‘We are completely exhausted, our every thought is of our beloved Francesca who is sorely missed and whose presence she will never be filled and replaced by anyone.’
Mr Calabro’s father, Salvatore Calabro, said in a statement: ‘For parents, a child is an extension of life, for a sister, a shoulder to lean on and a person to ask for help, but unfortunately this has been denied us.
‘Not having Nino with us anymore, after having cuddled, helped and supported him for 26 years is not easy to overcome, but with a lot of willpower and with the help of our Lord we have to face the future as serenely as possible.’
“There was one three months ago, there was one four months ago, and they are all within these five to six houses.”