Portugals Famous Serial Killer
Diogo Alves is Portugal’s most infamous serial killer. He was responsible for terrorizing the citizens of North East Lisbon for three violent years. Born in 1810 some 400 miles north in the Spanish city of Galicia, Alves travelled to Lisbon in search of work. Ill content with the low wages, he turned to crime to fund his lifestyle.
The Aqueduto das Águas Livres – Where Diogo Alves robbed and killed his victims. – Photo/ www.ruralea.com/aqueduto-das-aguas-livres-lisboa/
The Story of Diogo Alves
Diogo Alves left central Lisbon, and relocated to the ‘Aqueduto das Águas Livres’ (Aqueduct of the Free Waters). This 1 kilometre aqueduct was used by farmers living in the cities outskirts to transfer their crops to central Lisbon for sale. Alves spent his time between 1836 to 1839 watching the Aqueduct. He would identify farmers en-route to Lisbon in the morning, and then lie in wait to relieve them of their earnings on their return journey. Diego Alves was a brutal killer. After he had taken the farmers earnings he would throw the bodies over the aqueduct to their death below.
The Aqueduto das Águas Livres – Where Diogo Alves robbed and killed his victims. – Photo/imgur.com
More than 70 unsuspecting people met their grisly end this way. The authorities however, were slow to react. There was no rush to stop a criminal who only seemed interested in robbing the poor. The murders were documented by police as copycat suicides and consequently three years passed before they acted. In 1839 they finally decided to close the Aqueduct due to ‘Safety Concerns’.
Alves changed tactics and started targeting homes in Lisbon. He recruited a gang and spent two years breaking, entering and pillaging houses of wealthy Lisbon residents.In 1842 he was eventually caught, but not before he had savagely killed hundreds.
Alves was sentenced to death by hanging and met his inevitable fate in February 1841. The pseudoscience of phrenology, or the belief that certain personality traits could be predicted by the shape of an individual’s brain. Consequently scientists jumped at the change to study such a ruthless killer’s brain and his head was donated to science. His head was pickled and placed in a glass jar where it still remains today on a shelf at the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Medicine.
Getting To University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Medicine
Seeing Diogo Alves picked head is possible. You’ll need to find your way to the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Medicine. It’s well connected and there’s many metro stops within easy walk of the facility. Full details about admission can be found here.