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CRIME

Life sentence for man behind deadly apartment block explosion in Milan

A man who deliberately caused a gas explosion in his home, killing his wife and two neighbours, was sentenced on Monday to life imprisonment.

Life sentence for man behind deadly apartment block explosion in Milan
An aerial view of Milan. Photo: oneinchpunch/Depositphotos

The defendant, Giuseppe Pellicanò, unhooked his apartment's stove from the gas main in June 2016, causing an explosion which left three people dead and his two daughters suffering serious burns.

Pellicanò had confessed to deliberately causing the explosion after his arrest one year ago, but later said he was able to picture the incident but didn't remember actually doing anything due to medicine he was taking for insomnia and anxiety.

His lawyers presented a psychological assessment which found he was “partially insane” at the time of committing the crime and therefore did not intend to kill or hurt anyone. However, this assessment was challenged by prosecution lawyers and ultimately rejected by the judge.

Prosecutors asked for a life sentence on the grounds that the man had not only caused three deaths, but “continued to lie in order to go unpunished”.

Pellicanò also lost parental responsibility of his two children, who were aged seven and 11 at the time of the explosion and currently live with their maternal grandparents.

The 54-year-old had separated from his wife, Micaela Masella, some time before the blast but the couple had continued to live together for the benefit of their children, the youngest of whom is autistic.

Just four days before the explosion, he attacked the car of his wife's new lover, spray-painting it with profanities and slashing its tyres.

The parents of the couple who were also killed in the blast wrote to judges, saying their children had been caught up in “an absurd and bloody affair, which leaves us dismayed and destroyed”.

Families of all the victims will receive over €1 million in compensation, and Pellicanò was ordered to reimburse other residents of the apartment block for the damage to their homes. The exact amounts of compensation will be decided in a civil court.

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Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

ROME

‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

Four people were arrested in Rome after a suspected would-be bank robber was rescued from a tunnel under a road, police said on Friday.

'Bank robber' rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.

Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital.

“Two people from Naples were arrested for resisting a public official and two, from Rome, for damage” to public property, a police spokesman told AFP.

The rescued man, one of the two Romans, remains in hospital, he said without giving an update on his condition.

“We are still investigating, we do not exclude that they are thieves, it is one of the theories,” he said.

For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

“The hole gang,” headlined newspapers Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, while La Stampa said: “They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.”

Other reports referred to the suspected burglar as l’uomo-talpa, or ‘mole man’.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday saw the man brought out alive on a stretcher, after a day-long operation involving dozens of emergency service workers using mechanical diggers.

The tunnel began underneath an empty shop that had recently been rented.

“We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So we had no suspicions and we did not hear noises either,” a resident, Michele, who lives in the same building told AFP.

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