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CRIME

Verona teens accused of burning homeless man to death ‘as a prank’

Police in Zevio near Verona have questioned two teenagers, one 13 and the other 17, who allegedly set fire to a car in which a homeless man had taken shelter.

Verona teens accused of burning homeless man to death ‘as a prank’
A rough sleeper in Rome. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The man, 64-year-old Ahamed Fdil, was found dead inside the vehicle on the evening of December 13th. Police said his charred body was partially outside, suggesting that he tried to escape.

The younger of the two boys has admitted lighting paper towels and throwing them at the abandoned Fiat Brava, which Fdil regularly used as a shelter, police sources told the press on Friday.

He told investigators that “we only wanted to prank him”, according to the Corriere del Veneto.

Neither boy has been arrested. The case was referred to the regional juvenile prosecutor’s office, though since Italy does not consider children legally responsible for crimes until the age of 14, the younger boy cannot be charged.

Fdil, a Moroccan living in Italy who reportedly became homeless after being laid off from a local factory, was known to smoke and drink heavily, and police initially suspected that the fire started accidentally.

Yet witnesses reported seeing local youths harassing Fdil over several months, repeatedly following him and throwing firecrackers. Investigators reportedly have videos showing some of the abuse, according to Verona Sera.

Local residents told the news site that Fdil was well known and liked in the neighbourhood, where he was nicknamed “good old Gary”.

His shocking death, which made headlines across Italy, has been classified as murder. 

ROME

Tourist fined €450 for swim in Rome’s Trevi Fountain

With the return of tourism and scorching temperatures, Rome’s fountains are once again attracting visitors hoping to cool off with a midnight swim.

Tourist fined €450 for swim in Rome's Trevi Fountain

In the latest incident, a 26-year-old Spanish man was fined 450 euros after taking a dip in the Trevi Fountain in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Rome’s city police apprehended and fined the man after he was spotted swimming in the 18th-century monument at around 5am, according to local media reports.

READ ALSO: How to keep cool like an Ancient Roman in Italy’s summer heat

Every summer, hapless foreign visitors face fines of hundreds of euros after falling foul of Rome’s strict ban on taking a dip in public fountains – with the city mayor warning tourists that the centuries-old Baroque monuments are “not swimming pools”.

In April, two Dutch tourists also faced fines totalling over €1,000 after their own ill-advised splash in the Trevi Fountain.

The Roman landmark is one of the city’s main magnets for badly-behaved visitors, but tourists have also been fined after cooling off in the Santa Maria fountain in Trastevere, believed to be the city’s oldest. 

Since 2018, anyone caught misbehaving at Rome’s monuments can also face a temporary ‘Daspo’ ban from the area – similar to an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order) in the UK – which allows city police to restrict the movement of people they deem a threat to public order.

READ ALSO: From selfie brawls to midnight swims: Tourists behaving badly at the Trevi Fountain

But a plan to erect a one-metre-high glass and steel barrier around the Trevi fountain to protect it from unruly visitors now appears to have been abandoned after arts and heritage experts called the idea “foolish”.

Fines for swimming in the fountains have been in place since 2015, but this hasn’t stopped determined visitors from recreating scenes from La Dolce Vita and even some locals from taking a dip – – with or without their clothes.

Swimming in the wrong place is just one of the offences regularly committed by visitors, with graffiti and vandalism a common problem at many of Italy’s famous monuments.

READ ALSO: 15 strange ways to get into trouble on holiday in Italy

In Rome alone, this year tourists have made headlines for everything from breaking into the Colosseum to enjoy a drink with a view to driving a car down the Spanish Steps.

Other Italian tourism hotspots, including Florence and Venice, also have varying local rules in place aimed at curbing rowdy behaviour.

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