'We dedicate our deaths to Silvio Berlusconi': Italian couple ruined by economic crisis commit suicide in hotel room after writing to former PM

A desperate Italian couple dedicated their double suicide to former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi - who 'ignored their pleas for help'.

Salvatore De Salvo, 64, and his wife Antonia Azzolini, 69, killed themselves on Sunday after losing their home, jobs and dignity due to the crippling economic crisis.

Their tragic end came after letters to Berlusconi and top regional politicians in the southern region of Puglia were not replied to.

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Warnings: Antonia Azzolini (left) and Salvatore De Salvo (right) had indicated what they wanted to do several times before they committed suicide

But it was not without warning - the couple of 45 years said in a 2010 regional television interview how 'it would be better to die' than live in separate rooms in a hostel.

They described it as a 'mousetrap with a humidity of madness' and Antonia ended the recording by saying: 'I want to do anything to give me the chance to get out of this hellish place where I am.'

Six months ago a letter published in the Italian press stated: 'Hail Silvo, about to die we salute you, illustrious gentleman Berlusconi, to you we dedicate our final goodbye.'

And, the week before their death, an open letter to Berlusconi in the Oggi newspaper said: 'You will learn from the newspapers of the great dignity with which two people knew how to die, disgusted with the hypocrisy and the cruelty of you, the politicians.'

Blamed: The couple said former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had ignored their pleas for help, and then dedicated their death to him

The poverty-stricken couple, who survived on little more than 400 euros per month, lost their home where they had lived since 1966 after the businessman found it impossible to find work.

Unemployed for seven years, they regularly wrote letters to newspapers and politicians, outlining their problems and deep disappointment with the political system

But their appeals for help in improving their situation to Berlusconi, who was ousted from power in November, and President of Apulia Nichi Vendola were not listened to.

At their wits end, the Italian press reported how the couple checked into the three-star Sette Mari Hotel, in Bari, and took an overdose of barbiturates.

Antonia died in the room, which as requested had a sea view, and Salvatore, who did not pass away immediately, walked into the sea. His body was later found by a fisherman.

Locked down: Police stand outside the Sette Mario Hotel, in Bari, where the couple took their lives