The Carole Compton trial 1983
Late in the trial, a psychiatrist told the court that the accused could have deliberately created an aura of witchcraft for her own amusement. He said she had an abnormal and 'naughty' personality and it was possible she had fostered the impression of a spirit world out of devilment.
Public prosecutor Arturo Cindolo, in his closing speech, demanded a seven-year prison sentence. He told the two judges and the six members of the jury: 'Just because she has a nice face, an innocent face, it is not enough for people to sympathise with her. It is mere appearance and people should not be influenced by her appearance. Carole Compton is a liar. She lied to her boyfriend and the families she worked for, especially the families. She showed them a face that was not a true face'.
Cindolo said that, although he was responsible for her arrest, he was not responsible for the many months she had spent in prison awaiting trial: 'This period was necessary because of the special examination by psychiatrists and criminologists and the transfer between courts'. He reminded the court that the five fires had occurred in two locations far from each other. 'She is the common factor in all these fires. It is too much of a coincidence'. Cindolo said Compton had played on the fact that she did not speak Italian and that people could not understand what she was saying: 'All the lies have made it worse for her and have put her in a more difficult situation'. He admitted that there was no clear motivation for starting the fires, but added that lack of motive was not equivalent to lack of responsibility.
One of Compton’s two advocates, Alberto Valenti, warned the jury: 'You are not judging a witch. You are running the risk of convicting her of things for which there is no scientific explanation'. The jury of five men and one woman retired to consider its verdict.
The trial continues tomorrow