Unable to pay rent, Italian couple commits suicide

05 April 2013 - 19:46
By Sapa-AFP
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

An Italian couple in their sixties, overwhelmed by crushing financial difficulties and unable to pay their rent, committed suicide by hanging, police told local media on Friday.

The bodies of Romeo Dionsi, 62, and Anna Sopranzi, 68, were discovered by their neighbours on Friday morning at their home in Civitanova, a small village in the central Marche region on the Adriatic Sea.

Learning the news, the woman's brother Giuseppe Sopranzi, 73, threw himself into the sea. His body was retrieved by rescuers who were unable to revive him.

Police said there was no doubt the suicide was linked to economic problems, and that the couple was unable to pay their rent.

Sopranzi received a modest pension of 500 euros ($650) a month and her husband was a "victim" of recent labour reforms that left him without unemployment insurance or right to a pension, police said.

The couple appeared to have painstakingly planned their deaths, leaving a note in front of their garage apologising for their act and explaining where to find their bodies.

"They preferred to disappear rather than ask for help, showing their extreme dignity in a tragic situation," Mayor Tommaso Corvatta told local media, in tears.

He called on government "not to abandon people".

Corvatta said the economic crisis in Italy has led to a rise in suicides linked to economic problems among the unemployed and small business owners. The unemployment rate has gone from 7.0% in 2009 to 10.9% in 2012.

"The unemployment rate is unacceptable and it is a tragedy for the whole country and for Europe," said Emanuela Munerato, a lawmaker with the Northern League party.