A man from London has been arrested in connection with the murder of a tour guide and the attempted killing of another man in Italy – with police sources indicating he met both victims through gay chat rooms.

Jason Peter Marshall, 24, from Greenwich, south-east London, was held by police early on Saturday after they traced him through his mobile phone signal to a bus.

Sky News reports he is the prime suspect in the murder of 68-year-old tour guide Vincenzo Iale who was strangled and stabbed to death in his flat on the outskirts of Rome four weeks ago.

His bank card was also removed from the property.

It is believed that Marshall arrived in Italy last month and allegedly killed Mr Iale at his flat in Torvajanica before carrying out the latest attack.

Marshall was arrested on Saturday after a 55-year-old man was found severely beaten in the bedroom of his apartment in central Rome, following calls to police when neighbours heard screams and calls for help.

When officers arrived on the scene, the victim identified Marshall as his attacker and described how he had been threatened with a gun, badly beaten with a telescopic cosh and smothered with a pillow.

Marshall is said to have fled the apartment with €400 (£348), credit cards and the victim’s iPad as he allegedly tried to erase all traces of contact between him and the victim.

Police said Marshall was being held in Rome’s Regina Coeli jail on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, kidnap and possessing offensive weapons.

According to Sky News, sources said the victims had been targeted through gay internet chat rooms.

A Rome police said: “This could easily have been a double murder investigation and the second victim – although badly hurt – can think himself lucky he is not dead.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the arrest of a Britain national in Italy on February 22. We are providing consular assistance.”