ELIZA SAMUDIO’S screams were inaudible over the blaring music – but her four-month-old son saw the whole gruesome attack.
The former model was tortured and beaten before being strangled, chopped into pieces and fed to a pack of rottweilers.
Eliza, 25, had paid a deadly price for having a baby with one of Brazil’s top footballers, Bruno Fernandes de Souza, who arranged her murder to avoid paying child support.
The brilliant goalkeeper — known simply as Bruno in Brazil — had captained his Rio side Flamengo to the top of the Serie A league, was tipped to play for his national side in the 2014 World Cup and rumours were growing of a multi-million-pound transfer deal to AC Milan.
But in 2013 his glittering career appeared to be over when he was sentenced to 22 years in jail for his part in the grisly plot.
However, thanks to the leniency of the Brazilian legal system, after serving just six years, 32-year-old Bruno is now out of jail and back on the pitch while he appeals his sentence.
He has signed a contract to return to professional football as goalkeeper for Boa Esporte, and club owner Rafael Gois Silva Xavier said this week: “He was found guilty, he served his time and he was released by the courts. He deserves another opportunity.”
That view is not shared by everyone in Brazil — least of all, Eliza’s family, who had to endure hearing the harrowing details of her killing.
After baby Bruninho was born, she had been lured into a car on the promise that Bruno would give her an apartment and all the maintenance pay she wanted. Instead, she was pistol-whipped and driven with her baby to Bruno’s house.
There she was strapped to a chair and beaten for six days by a gang of Bruno’s cronies — including his wife, another former lover, his teenage cousin and a former police officer, Marcos Santos.
It is claimed Bruno himself watched as Santos committed “barbaric tortures” on the victim, playing music to drown out her screams before strangling her with a tie in front of her son.
She was then chopped up and the pieces put into black bin bags. One of the cronies headed for the kennels, where Bruno kept his ten rottweilers.
First he threw them a hand, which was devoured in seconds. Then, part by part, the rest of the body was thrown to the dogs until only bones were left. These were then buried and covered with wet concrete.
Eliza’s fate had been sealed when she turned from modelling to the murky world of soccer groupies.
Although Bruno was married with two daughters, he and other players regularly attended marathon 24-hour sex parties where, as a source close to the club put it: “Beautiful women would volunteer to have sex without commitment.”
At one such party in May, 2009, organised by teammate Paulo Victor, he met Eliza, who had previously been linked to Cristiano Ronaldo. He was soon besotted and they began a relationship, but after three months she became pregnant when a condom split. At that point Bruno turned nasty, insisting she must get an abortion — but she refused.
During her pregnancy Eliza went to the police, claiming she had been kidnapped by two of Bruno’s friends who forced her to take an illegal drug which would induce miscarriage.
The drug did not work and in February 2010 she gave birth to Bruninho — which translates as “Little Bruno”.
A DNA test showed the baby was Bruno’s, and Eliza filed a paternity suit against him. Four months later, both she and her baby disappeared.
Bruninho was later found abandoned in a slum district in south east Brazil. Police took in Bruno for questioning and he told them Eliza had left the country.
But her friends and relatives thought otherwise as they knew the new mother would never have abandoned her son. A search of Bruno’s car found bloodstains, a pair of sandals and women’s sunglasses, yet still he insisted in an interview: “I pray that Eliza will appear, and when that happens, if I am the father I will fight for the guardianship, because I don’t believe in leaving a child. I have a clear conscience.”
While the police were investigating Eliza’s disappearance, Bruno was charged over her initial claims of being abducted by two of his friends during her pregnancy, and was sentenced to four and a half years in jail.
The revelation shocked Brazil and Bruno was suspended from his team. But Eliza’s body had still not been found, and cops were convinced of the fallen star’s involvement.
Eventually one of Bruno’s co-conspirators — his teenage cousin — confessed all, though Bruno still denied everything. As he walked into court to face a murder charge in 2013, he told reporters he had a “clear conscience” and added: “In the future, I’ll be able to laugh at this.”
‘His acts were almost impossible to describe’
“And who will save it and lift the trophy for 200million Brazilians? Bruno. This is his biggest dream.”
In court it was alleged by the prosecution that he had arranged the murder after Eliza took legal action in an attempt to secure child support. However, after protesting his innocence Bruno finally broke down in court and confessed to his part in the plot.
He claimed he had not made the order to kill Eliza but had “accepted” it and knew she had been killed.
Bruno sobbed and admitted a loyal friend of his had commissioned the murder for £8,000.
The gang who tortured Eliza received sentences of between five and 22 years, while Bruno was sentenced to 22 years and three months. The judge said he had “meticulously calculated” the execution, and it emerged Bruno had tried to kill himself twice while awaiting trial.
But last month a Supreme Court justice upheld his lawyers’ request to release him, with 15 years still to serve, so that he can await the outcome of his appeal.
A video has since surfaced which appears to show Bruno celebrating with family and friends, beaming while giving a thumbs-up to the camera.
But the announcement of his return to top-flight football has been met with fury in Brazil, with one major sponsor severing all ties with the club and more expected to follow.
However, Bruno is still resolutely arguing his corner.
In February he told a Brazilian TV interviewer: “I want to make it clear that even if I stayed here and was given life imprisonment, for example, in Brazil, it would not bring the victim back.
“I paid dearly, it was not easy. This will help me as an experience. It has been a learning experience, not a punishment.”
Eliza’s mother, Sonia Fatima Moura, is looking after Bruninho, who is now seven.
Just yesterday she told how she refuses to tell him that his father killed the child’s mother.
She said: “The boy is clingy and still traumatised because of what he witnessed.
“I have said his father is in prison — but I cannot say why.”
SOURCE: THE SUN