Telegraph | Jan 23, 2008
By Duncan Gardham, Gary Cleland and Malcolm Moore in Rome
A British teacher has been arrested in Italy after he allegedly kidnapped his love rival, tied him to a chair and zapped him with a high-voltage stun gun.
Brian Avery, 47, from Ramsgate, Kent, is said to have become embroiled in a love triangle with one of his students, Chinese-born Shao Ling, 45, in the Italian town where he taught.
Tensions started to rise and Avery is alleged to have approached her 40-year-old husband in the street, pressed a gun into his back and told him to walk down a ramp into the underground car park of the apartment where the couple lived.
A spokesman for Italian police said: “He threatened the man with a gun and tied him to a chair in the victim’s own private parking space. He then hit him and stunned him with electricity.
“The ordeal ended after 10 minutes, when a car drove into the area. The victim was admitted to hospital.”
The alleged attack happened at around 8.30pm on the evening of Jan 13 in the centre of the northern Italian town of Como, where Avery had been working as a private English tutor for the past three years.
The couple who drove into the Via Einaudi car park told police they had seen a man with a gun, but that they could not see his face as he ran away. Avery was allegedly identified by the victim, who has claimed to have seen him before with his wife.
He was arrested 20 minutes after the attack at his house in the Camerlata district on charges of kidnapping, assault and illegal possession of a firearm.
Police say they found “several” stun guns at his house, but no pistol.
The teacher has protested his innocence and told Luciano Storaci, the judge in charge of the case: “I did not do anything, you must believe me.”
But Mr Storaci decided Avery should be detained in custody while the investigation continues. This means that Avery will remain in prison for up to a year while the authorities investigate.
Caroline Ingham, the British vice-consul in Milan, visited Avery on Tuesday in Bassone prison.
A spokesman for the British consulate said: “He was in good shape, considering the circumstances. However, he did have a broken foot, which he sustained before the alleged incident.”
Avery, a former pupil at St John’s School in Margate, has lived a nomadic life, at one stage alternating between living in Rotterdam, Holland, and Southern England, where he helped to develop a friend’s distribution company.
Before that he had lived in the Canary Islands for several years and wrote on a social networking site after his return: “I’m planning to stay around for another year or possibly two, and will then be moving somewhere warmer again, possibly South Africa.”
He went on to live in various parts of the country before settling briefly in Ashford, Kent, adding: “I can’t remember what possessed me to move here! Studying hypnotherapy and psychotherapy, struggling to write a book and paying for it all by selling the odd car here and there.”
Avery’s father, Brian, did not answer the door at his terrace home in Margate on Tuesday night. Neighbours confirmed that he had a son who lives in Italy.