Man sets himself alight ‘due to quake trauma’

Man sets himself alight 'due to quake trauma'
L'Aquila was struck by a devastating earthquake on April 6th 2009. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP
A pensioner in L’Aquila burnt himself to death on Friday morning, leaving a note in which he described his torment following the city’s 2009 earthquake which killed 309 people.

The 68-year-old man, who has not been named, is thought to have killed himself by setting alight a shed from the inside, Ansa reported.

Police spotted the fire on the edge of the city at around 6.30am this morning and called the fire brigade, who found the pensioner’s body after dousing the flames.

A letter was found in the man’s car, in which he says: “After the earthquake, my whole life changed.”

The devastating earthquake hit the city on April 6th 2009, killing 309 people. Recovery from the disaster has been slow and wracked by allegations of corruption, with just last month a former ministry official being arrested for graft.

READ MORE: Ministry official arrested over L'Aquila bribes

Responding to today’s suicide, Mayor Massimo Cialente said: “A lot of people carry desperation within, because their lives got completely worse after the earthquake.

“I had seen him recently and he seemed jokey and calm, very much not showing the desperation that he had inside,” the mayor added.

Cialente resigned from his post in January after four people from his administration were put under house arrest, on corruption charges tied to the post-earthquake rebuild. But the mayor returned to office ten days later, declaring he was back to “defend the town”.

READ MORE: L'Aquila mayor returns to 'defend' the town

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