Ashley Olsen, the 35-year-old American woman found strangled to death in Florence, Italy, was last seen alive inside a seedy club known for drugs, sex and violence, Daily Mail Online can reveal.
On Thursday night, after an evening of hard drinking in various bars in Oltre Arno – one of Florence’s trendiest districts – Olsen headed to the Montecarla club, an insalubrious members-only establishment owned by Jovo Vukelic, a Serbian known for his long, dark hair and white jackets.
The dimly-lit club, which spans two floors and is open only to members and those known to the proprietor, has reclining areas that are almost like beds, strewn with leopard-print cushions and velour drapes. Waitresses dress in provocative, leather costumes.
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Ashley Olsen, 35, was found dead in her flat in Florence, Italy on Saturday by her boyfriend, an Italian artist
The 35-year-old was last seen alive at the Montecarla club, an insalubrious members-only establishment
Local people view the establishment – which is open until seven in the morning – warily.
‘It’s a place where you can find anything you are looking for, sex, drugs, transexuals,’ said a woman in a nearby bar, speaking on condition of anonymity.
‘It’s known as a druggy place. When you’re completely wasted, you end up there.’
Vukelic, the proprietor, told Daily Mail Online that he had no idea who had killed Olsen. ‘I was not here on the night she disappeared,’ he said, ‘and the CCTV camera at the entrance is not working.’
On Thursday night, Olsen headed there after an evening of hard drinking in various bars in Oltre Arno
The club has reclining areas that are almost like beds, strewn with leopard-print cushions and velour drapes
The dimly-lit club, which spans two floors and is open only to members and those known to the proprietor
The Montecarla club ‘is a place where you can find anything you are looking for, sex, drugs, transexuals,’ said a woman in a nearby bar
One of his members of staff, a leather-clad barmaid, confirmed that she had given evidence to the police but said that she had been told by officers not to speak to journalists.
Police suspect that Olsen might have been killed by someone she met inside the club in the early hours of Friday morning and invited home for sex.
There was no sign of forced entry at her apartment, and an autopsy confirmed that her naked body showed no indication that she had put up a fight.
Bruises around her neck suggested that her murderer strangled her with bare hands.
Olsen’s naked body was found on Saturday, two days after she disappeared from the Monte Carlo club, in her bed, which is on a raised mezzanine inside her chic Florence apartment.
Jovo Vukelic, the proprietor of the club, told Daily Mail Online that he had no idea who had killed Olsen.
Investigators said the woman’s friends told them they were together with Olsen at the Florence nightspot
Police suspect that Olsen might have been killed by someone she met inside the club in the early hours of Friday morning and invited home for sex
Forensic teams have been searching for clues left by the killer in the club, along the streets that lead to her apartment, inside her home and on her body.
Among Olsen’s close-knit group of friends, there is surprise that she could have left a club with a man who was not boyfriend, Federico Fiorentini, 42, an Italian-American artist.
‘She would never have cheated on her boyfriend. I had a New Year’s Eve party for 300 people and he came along,’ said one, who did not want to be named.’
He was known as being unemotional.
‘The expression on his face was completely blank. I have never seen him smile, and I have known him for several years.’
Forensic teams have been searching for clues left by the killer in the club, along the streets that lead to her apartment, inside her home and on her body
A leather-clad barmaid confirmed that she had given evidence to the police but said that she had been told by officers not to speak to journalists
Lorenzo Grassi, 28, the bartender at the Cafe Notte, one of Olsen’s haunts, said that Fiorentini could appear strange.
‘We all know that the boyfriend was weird and strange and a bit of a snob,’ he told Daily Mail Online, but added that he drew no adverse conclusion from it.
Everyone agrees, however, that Olsen was a party animal.
She had a reputation for downing vodka shots, and it was ‘no secret’ that she was a regular drug user, with a particular fondness for cocaine.
‘She was not a nun,’ one of her friends told Daily Mail Online. ‘She was getting wasted every day on alcohol, cocaine, mushrooms, and other stuff. She was part of this group of arty people who liked to experiment.
‘But overall, she was just a really sweet girl.’
An autopsy is being carried out, but medics have already established that Olsen was strangled
Olsen’s body showed no sign that she had engaged in a struggle before being killed, a source said
An autopsy is being carried out, but medics have already established that Olsen was strangled, and that no implement was used in her death, a source told Daily Mail Online.
The source also confirmed that Olsen’s body showed no sign that she had engaged in a struggle before being killed.
Olsen’s body was discovered by her boyfriend, who asked her landlord to open her apartment door after he hadn’t heard from his girlfriend in three days.
Police have confirmed that he had scratches across both knuckles, but he said that these were sustained as he battled to save his girlfriend’s life.
Fiorentini was interrogated overnight by police and released without charge in the morning.
Italian-American artist Federico Fiorentini, 42, was held overnight by police after the body of his girlfriend was found. He was freed to go after being questioned by officers
The victim’s beloved dog, Scout, was present when she was murdered and was found in great distress, surrounded by his own urine and feces, when the body was discovered
Forensic officers were outside the scene of the murder today and found a black bra close to the apartment where Ashley Ann Olsen was found dead. It was placed in an evidence bag
The office of the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Giuseppe Creazzo, said that Olsen had apparently opened the door to her killer, as police did not find any sign of forced entry.
The police also confirmed that the killer took Olsen’s mobile phone, making the subsequent investigation more difficult.
A black bra was found in the street outside the scene of the crime, and was removed by police.
Italian prosecutors have opened a murder investigation. The detective in charge of the murder inquiry, Giancinto Profazio, is the same officer who led the investigation into the death of British exchange student Meredith Kercher.
That has stoked fears among locals in Italy that the case could end up like a drawn-out legal saga like that of the high-profile murder case of Kercher.
It resulted in the conviction, then ultimately acquittal of her housemate Amanda Knox, a student from Seattle, in a saga which divided opinion in Italy, the US, and the UK.
Amanda Knox, left, and Knox’s then-boyfriend were at first convicted of the Meredith Kercher’s murder, acquitted, convicted again on appeal and finally acquitted. Kercher is pictured right
Domenico Giancinto Profazio lead the Meredith Kercher murder inquiry and is now in charge of the probe into the death of Ashley Ann Olsen