Italian Journal of Criminology

The official journal of the Italian Society of Criminology

by Isabella Merzagora Betsos and Ilaria Tallarico

The Authors have analysed two cases of parents' homicides (in one of the two cases the murderer’s young brother was also killed) that have aroused a great – and understandable - deal of interest, also by the media, because of their brutality. In both cases, the experts appointed by the court formulated a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder for the incube and of Dependent Personality Disorder for the succube. Besides diagnosis, reasons will be also analysed, as well as couple dynamics, reciprocal influence, predominance and subjection, crime genesis and crime dynamics. In the end a separate consideration will be dedicated to the fact that such crimes, contrary to stereotypes, happened in a “normal” social context. That is probably one of the reasons of the social alarm that follow them: the idea that “such things happen to others” and in contexts of economic, cultural and social indigence where everything is possible is, in fact, an idea that tranquillizes, keeps the danger distant from us and partly calms the anxiety. In these cases, however, there is no trace of social deprivation and it is impossible to invoke any explanation in the usual terms of the “cycle of the abuse”. Perhaps the concept of “normality” should be then re-examined.


Titolare Cattedra di Criminologia, Università degli Studi di Milano.
Isabella Merzagora Betsos
Psicologa afferente al Dipartimento di Criminologia, Università degli Studi di Milano
Ilaria Tallarico
Contacts: Isabella Merzagora Betsos, Cattedra di Criminologia - Istituto di Medicina Legale
dell'Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Mangiagalli, 37, 20133 - Milano, tel. 336362726, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

From: Rassegna Italiana di Criminologia n. 2/2007



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