Johannesburg - An online petition asking that murder accused Joburg banker, Vincenzo Pietropaolo, be denied bail has reached almost 1400 signatures. The former treasurer of the Bank of Athens was arrested in November last year for the murder of his wife, Manuela.
He stands accused of shooting his wife nine times after breaking into her Brackenhurst home. While he initially abandoned bail proceedings, following the submission of three affidavits from his adult children calling for him to remain in custody, he has tried to launch a new application over the past two weeks.
On Thursday, he appeared at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, where he was initially set to start the bail application. However, his lawyer Sandile Buthelezi told the court he had heard the number of cases set to appear meant there would be no time for his client’s application to go ahead. However, when the surprised looking presiding magistrate said there was time to proceed, Buthelezi said he wasn’t ready and asked for a postponement.
The case was subsequently postponed to next week for the proceedings to begin in earnest. Throughout the brief proceedings, the court gallery’s front bench was filled with family, friends and anti-abuse activists, holding up signs that called for the court to deny the accused bail. It’s understood that relatives of the deceased mother of three are willing to testify that should Pietropaolo be granted bail, their lives would be at risk.
Also submitted to the prosecution was the petition launched on petitions24.com called “Justice for Mannie! NO BAIL!” that had already garnered 1372 signatures. Numerous signatories had left messages alongside their signatures. Mandy Woodhouse from Howick in KwaZulu-Natal summed up the sentiment: “She did not deserve to die in such a brutal way. No Bail should be granted.”
Meanwhile, this week the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation also announced it had joined the call to deny bail. Last week, the Saturday Star revealed that while Pietropaolo was charged with his wife’s murder, he was also under investigation for possible links to the murder of his own father, Pasqualino, who was killed in what police initially believed was a bungled house robbery last year.
Pietropaolo had been staying at his father’s home when the 91-year-old’s body was discovered. The incident where Pasqualino had been shot twice in the head had allegedly taken place in the morning, after Pietropaolo had gone to work for the day.
While police initially believed the incident may have been a house robbery gone terribly wrong, reportedly nothing had been stolen from the home and there were no signs of forced entry.
However, a firearm linked to the crime scene had allegedly gone missing, at least until it was allegedly found in Pietropaolo’s possession.