Hannibal Lecter was actually Mexican.
Now author Robert [sic - nice job, Daily Mail!] Harris, the monster's creator, has revealed the identity of the real life man who inspired him - a gay Mexican doctor who murdered his lover and was consumed by guilt over it until his dying day.
Harris met the doctor at the Nuevo Leon State Prison, at Monterrey, Mexico, as a 23-year-old journalist. The author was at the prison to interview Dykes Askew Simmons, a former mental patient who was under the death sentence for killing three people.
But he met 'Dr Salazar' after learning he had apparently saved the life of Simmons when he had been shot during an attempt to escape from the prison about a year earlier.
The true identity of 'Dr Salazar' has now been revealed as Alfredo Balli Trevino, who died in 2009 at 81. Harris met him in 1963 while Balli Trevino was serving 20 years for the murder of his lover Jesús Castillo Rangel. A medical intern at the time, he had slit Rangel's throat with a scalpel in a 'crime of passion' and cut his body into pieces and buried them to hide his crime.
The body parts were unearthed by the victim's suspicious uncle.
In The Times on Saturday, Harris described the inspiration for Lecter as 'a small, lithe man with dark red hair. He stood very still and there was a certain elegance about him.'