52-year-old man fakes amnesia and flees country to avoid 'nagging' mother-in-law
Italian authorities found that the father-of-four had googled 'how to disappear' on his computer and left a briefcase with $12,000 for his family.
A tourist who was presumed to be "lost" after he was found wandering around Edinburgh claiming to have no memory of who he was or how he got there has now admitted that he was faking his amnesia to avoid his "nagging" mother-in-law. Law enforcement authorities found 52-year-old Salvatore Mannino in a seemingly fugue state in Edinburgh's St. Giles Cathedral.
According to The Sun, Italian police officers tracked Mannino's searches on his computer, which showed he had looked up "how to disappear" and "how to fake memory loss", thereby raising suspicion when he disappeared from his native Pisa.
On October 31, the father-of-four admitted his pretense to British police after an interrogation, saying: "I did it to get away from my nagging mother-in-law. I never lost my memory. I wanted to show my family I was important to them. I wanted to regain my position as a husband and father as I felt my mother-in-law had taken that from me."
It was also understood that Mannino traveled to Scotland in mid-September after escaping his hometown, Daily Mail reports. He had dramatically left a briefcase with €10,500 ($12,000) before leaving the family home, supplemented with a numerical sequence on a sheet of paper, which was later deciphered by his 18-year-old son. Before moving to Scotland, Mannino worked for a while in a supermarket in the Tuscan town of Practo in the local Chinatown, it was later revealed.
Initially, investigators believed he was on the run from the Chinese mafia when he was in Scotland. However, his family was confused by this, saying it was "news to them." Ivo Gronchi, the lawyer representing the Mannino family, told local media outlets: "He can't give an explanation. He asks his wife if she can explain what happened. This has all been a bolt from the blue for the family. If he was threatened by the Chinese mafia, he never mentioned it to them."
Scottish police later identified him in the cathedral in Edinburgh after recognizing his tattoos. They flew in his wife, Francesca, and his children over immediately after. However, Mannino continued to keep up his facade even when confronted with his family and pretended he had no idea who they were. When he was flown back to Italy, medical authorities confirmed there was nothing wrong with his memory and that he was not suffering from any mental condition.
That said, Italian police have now slapped Salvatore with charges of abandonment. Speaking to The Sun, a spokesman said: "The waste of time and money hasn't gone down well." "Francesca is not happy at all," a source close to the family said. "He's caused a lot of anguish and her mother isn't even that bad — I've heard of worse."