A 22-year-old economics student from Rome, Italy, was found burnt to death May 29 on the outskirts of the city.
Sara Di Pietrantonio was attacked by ex-boyfriend Vincenzo Paduano, 27, while driving home, according to media reports.
Di Pietrantonio recently broke up with Paduano, who worked as a security guard.
“I can say that in 25 years in this work I have never seen something so atrocious,” said Luigi Silipo, the lead police officer in the investigation, according to the Daily Mail.
Di Pietrantonio’s mother received a text message from Sara saying she was on her way home. But her mother decided to search for her after she failed to show up.
Paduano confessed to the attack after eight hours of interrogation. He has been arrested on a charge of premeditated murder.
“He organized, he planned the aggression,” added prosecutor Maria Monteleone.
Monteleone went on to say that Paduano did not accept Di Pietrantonio’s decision to leave him.
Police questioned friends and family, and soon realized that Di Pietrantonio had suffered psychological abuse while in the relationship with Paduano, The Local reported.
Police told the media that Paduano followed Di Pietrantonio after she left a friend’s house at around 3 a.m. May 29. He then rammed his car into her vehicle, forcing it to stop.
“He got into her car, and after an argument, doused the car [interior] with a small bottle of alcohol, and doused Sara, too,” said Silipo, according to the Mail.
Paduano used a cigarette lighter to carry out the attack.
“She ran out, he torched the car, caught up with her, and after about 100 meters” set light to her, abandoning her to die “in an atrocious manner,” he added.
Reports suggest Di Pietrantonio called out for help, but several motorists drove past without stopping.
Monteleone urged citizens “not to look the other way” when confronted with victims of violence, suggesting that if one of the drivers had stopped to help, they could have saved Di Pietrantonio’s life.
She also advised women “not to keep hidden any threatening behavior by those who insist they love you, but it's not that way.”