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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 June, 2004, 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK
'Satanic killings' shock Italians
By Mark Duff
BBC, Milan

A gruesome find in a wood outside Milan has sparked fears that bored young Italians could be coming under the influence of Satanic cults.

The news has caused an outbreak of soul-searching in Catholic Italy.

Even hardened police officers were shocked by what they found outside the sleepy commuter town of Busto Arsizio.

Two teenagers' bodies were discovered in a makeshift grave, killed - police say - as part of a satanic ritual involving sex, drugs and rock and roll.

The two - a 19-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy - were last seen alive leaving a pizzeria with other members of their heavy metal rock band, called the Beasts of Satan.

Sexual violence

What happened next is still the subject of investigation.

But the magistrate leading the inquiry says they were murdered at the end of a drug-fuelled ritual which involved a level of cruelty he has never seen before.

Italian newspapers have described the murdered girl's bedroom, decorated with black candles and goats' skulls, and have quoted witness statements of sexual violence.

There are also suggestions that the double-killing might not be isolated and that more young Italians than anyone cares to think are dabbling in Satanism.

The experts are having a field day: pinpointing the ease with which young people can make contact with Satanists on the internet, describing the attractions of Satanism to impressionable people steeped in Catholic culture - and blaming the breakdown of traditional family values for the extreme alienation of some young Italians.

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31 Jan 02  |  Europe



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