A group of men have been captured on CCTV dragging a girl towards a dark corner in the grounds of an Italian villa shortly before two British teenage girls were raped.
Two of the men are said to have gained the trust of one of the underage girls during a party at the villa in Marconia di Pisticci, southern Italy.
Before then, the victims and alleged perpetrators did not know each other.
It is claimed that the group of men gate-crashed the party and then forced the girls into a dark, hidden part of the villa’s garden.
Four men, reportedly aged between 19 and 23, have so far been arrested over the alleged gang-rape of the two British, with four more people suspected to have been involved.
Angelo Onorati, a Matera prosecutor, said the arrests and custody of the men were ordered because of the ‘brutality, severity and savagery of the violence committed, in devious ways, that could be repeated against other women’.
This frame grab made from video surveillance released by Italian police today shows a group of people walking towards a dark corner of a garden of a villa
The assault is said to have taken place at a villa in the small seaside town of Marconia di Pisticci in southern Italy, in a region that is one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations.
Investigators said that the girls attended the party with the older sister of one of the two girls, but soon after they arrived they were approached by two of the suspects.
Authorities are investigating reports that a group of uninvited boys then forced their way into the party and attacked the girls.
‘On the night between 7-8 September, in Marconia di Pisticci, sexual violence was committed against two foreign minors who were at a party in a villa,’ local police said in a statement on Thursday.
‘The investigative unit of Matera police headquarters has begun investigations in coordination with the public prosecutor’s office.’
Four people have been arrested in connection with the alleged gang rape. Above, police officers are pictured taking a youth in custody
According to local media reports, the two girls were punched and kicked before being raped by more than one person.
News website Sassilive said the attack took place in the early hours of Monday, when ‘the girls were attacked by a herd of eight boys behind a bush near the place where the party took place’.
The girls were able to make it back to their accommodation where they told the older sister about what had happened.
Police were alerted and they were then rushed to a hospital in Matera, around 40 miles away.
There, they were treated for shock and were found to have marks on their bodies. They have since been discharged from hospital, according to local reports.
Four people have been arrested after the alleged rape of two British girls – believed to be teenagers – on the night of 7 September. The assault occurred at a villa in the small seaside town of Marconia di Pisticci in southern Italy (pictured)
One of the girls is said to have relatives from England living in the area after they moved to Italy several years ago.
A lawyer for the girls, Giuseppe Rago, said the violence committed against them was ‘unprecedented’.
‘They are girls with a strong character, they have been heartened by their families and are confident in the work of justice. They hope to soon recover and forget what happened … we would never have thought that such wickedness could happen here,’ he told Adnkronos news agency.
The 12,000 residents of Marconia are in deep state of shock, according to local paper La Gazetta Del Mezzogiorno which called it an ‘extremely shameful’ case.
Viviana Verri, the mayor of the town, said in a statement: ‘This is the moment in which the spirit of our community must emerge strongly, a healthy community that cannot and must never get used to such episodes.
‘For this reason [witnesses] cannot afford to keep silent [and must] help investigators to put an end to this affair.’
The Pisticci State Police Commissioner is leading the investigation and few details have been released due to young ages of the alleged victims.