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CRIME

Sicilian mafia boss ‘bites off and eats’ prison guard’s finger

An imprisoned Sicilian mafia boss bit off and swallowed a prison guard's finger while attacking seven during a cell inspection.

Sicilian mafia boss 'bites off and eats' prison guard's finger
The incident took place at the Rebibbia prison in Rome. File photo: AFP
Giuseppe Fanara, 60, who is serving a life sentence at Rome's Rebibbia prison, attacked seven guards in June when they came to inspect his cell, the daily Il Messaggero reported.
 
Fanara, from Sicily's notorious Cosa Nostra clan, was nine years into his sentence under Italy's tough “41-bis” prison regime usually applied to mafia members.
 
The rules isolate mobsters entirely to prevent them from running their clans from behind bars.
 
“During the altercation he (Fanara) bit off the agent's little finger on his right hand,” the paper said.
 
“The finger disappeared, leading a Rome prosecutor to conclude it had been eaten,” it added.
 
The prisoner then charged the six other guards, using a broomstick as a weapon, allegedly shouting “I'll slit your throats like pigs!”
 
Fanara has since been transferred to Sardinia's high-security Sassari prison, the paper said, adding that he faced new charges including aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
 
 
Meanwhile on Tuesday a serial murderer escaped from the Sassari facility for “at least the third time” while serving a life sentence, police said.
 
Earlier this year Italy decided to release elderly and infirm mobsters due to the coronavirus outbreak – including some belonging to the influential Cosa Nostra.
 
That decision sparked an outcry, forcing the justice ministry to backpedal and review the release decision.   
 
Fanara was handed a life term in 2009 following an anti-mafia sweep in 2006 in Sicily's Agrigente region.
 
His trial and conviction, which led to three life sentences and an 18-year term, was sparked by the murder of two brothers who had bucked the mafia's demands, and by the killing of three men in gang wars in the late 1990s.

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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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