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CRIME

Italian truck victim was ‘too short to be seen’

A truck driver who knocked over and killed a woman as she walked along a pavement is only partly responsible for her death because the woman was too short to be a seen, according to the driver’s insurance company.

Italian truck victim was 'too short to be seen'
This is not the truck driver in the story. Truck driver photo: Shutterstock

Gabriella Serangeli, 65, was knocked over by a truck on the morning of March 15th last year as it came out of a supermarket car park in Cesano, north west of Rome, Corriere della Sera reported.

Despite the cries of horrified passers-by, the driver Marco De Paolis did not stop the vehicle in time and the woman died from her injuries.

According to the company that the vehicle was insured under, it was not possible for the driver to see the woman because she measured just 1m 50cm, shorter than the height of the vehicle.

“[The]cause of the accident is the imprudence of the woman, who was in a position, in front of the truck, which made it impossible [for the driver] to see her, as she was lower than the vehicle”.

As a result both the woman and the driver were judged responsible for the accident, meaning that the woman’s family were entitled to just half the compensation.

But according to a legal advisor at the public prosecutor’s office Clara De Cecilia, the driver did not see the victim because they did not look to the right before moving the truck.

“The pedestrian can’t be blamed because she was walking correctly on the pavement and because she had been doing so for several minutes, as is normal, thinking she had been seen,” she said.

The prosecutor has now obtained an indictment against the truck driver for manslaughter.
 

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MAFIA

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

In its latest mafia sting, Italian police took down a large 'Ndrangheta ring in southern Calabria, placing 56 people under investigation including a regional councillor and a former head of the regional tourism board.

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

The early-morning blitz by over 300 police focused on areas of Calabria – Italy’s poorest region – under the control of the Mancuso clan, a powerful branch of the infamous ‘Ndrangheta, many of whose top operatives are among hundreds of defendants in an ongoing ‘maxi-trial’.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

READ ALSO: ‘Ndrangheta: It’s time to bust some myths about the Calabrian mafia

Besides alleged mafia members, the operation also snared businessmen, a regional councillor released from prison days earlier, a former head of the regional tourism board and two civil servants, police said.

The incarcerated boss of the clan, Luigi Mancuso, also known as “The Supreme”, is the biggest mafioso in the massive mafia trial that started in January 2021.

Still, police said, his clan and affiliates, including the La Rosa and Accortini families, have continued to dominate illegal activities in the Vibo Valentia province, which is located right on the toe of Italy’s boot and is widely known as the ‘Coast of the Gods’ due to its stunning coastal views.

One mafia scheme involved the infiltration of a foreign tour operator in Pizzo Calabro, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

No one talks

In Calabria, the extent of the ‘Ndrangheta’s reach in the local economy has made it near impossible to eradicate it.

By controlling the bulk of cocaine flowing into Europe, the ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra in power and wealth. It has extended far beyond its rural roots and now operates internationally, with illegal gains reinvested in the legitimate economy.

In the area around Vibo Valentia, extortion of local businesses and the fixing of public tenders is also common.

The allegations against those arrested Thursday include the transport and sale of stolen farm machinery to Malta and Romania, police said.

The sting carried out on Thursday extended to other parts of Calabria, Palermo in Sicily and as far as Rome and Milan, police said.

READ ALSO: Meet Nicola Gratteri, the prosecutor leading Italy’s battle against the mafia

In a press conference, anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, whose efforts to defeat the ‘Ndrangheta have forced him to live under police escort for over 30 years, called the group a “fierce mafia syndicate” controlling areas around the tourist resort of Tropea.

Francesco Messina, who leads Italy’s organised crime investigative unit (DAC), cited the economic power of the clan, which relies locally on “substantial” extortion activity.

The “total absence” of complaints to authorities was striking, Messina said, underscoring the ‘Ndrangheta’s power to intimidate.

By Alexandria Sage

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