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CRIME

Trial begins over mob lynching of Italian man

Thirty-seven people went on trial in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo on Tuesday for the lynching of two Europeans, including a Franco- Italian, and a local man wrongly accused of killing a young boy.

Trial begins over mob lynching of Italian man
File photo of a beach on the island of Nosy Be, off Madagascar. Photo: Kalanosybe/Wikimedia

Residents of Madagascar's tourist island of Nosy Be went on the rampage on October 3rd, 2013 after the body of an eight-year-old local boy, who had been missing for a week, was found on a beach.

Incensed by false rumours of foreign involvement and a paedophilia connection, a mob attacked Sebastien Judalet, a French tourist, and Roberto Gianfalla, a Franco-Italian resident of the island, and beat them before burning them on a beach.

The uncle of the dead boy was also killed and burned later the same day.

The judge adjourned the case on Tuesday because two police officers charged in connection with the slayings failed to appear in court.

The two officers are accused of failing to intervene to prevent the attack.

Their lawyer said they had not received a summons to appear in court.

The other defendants are accused of premeditated murder, illegal confinement, torture and disturbing the peace.

Famous for its white pristine sandy beaches and turquoise waters, Nosy Be is Madagascar's main tourist magnet, but has been plagued by sex tourism.

“We've been waiting for this trial for two years,” said Andre Randranto, an attorney for one of the victims, said.

Mob justice is common on the vast island nation off southeast Africa, which authorities struggle to police effectively.

CRIME

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.

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