Updated: 22/12/17 : 06:26:16
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This

world

World :: Ambulance worker in Sicily killed patients for mafia money

Police on the Italian island of Sicily have arrested an ambulance worker suspected of killing people to earn money from a funeral parlour linked to the mafia.

The man is alleged to have injected air into the veins of at least three terminally ill patients as they were transported back to their homes.

He is said to have been paid 300 (265) for each corpse.

Italian media have dubbed it the "ambulances of death" scandal.

Police arrested the man after a contact, said to be a reformed mafia member, gave details to authorities in the city of Catania and to an investigative TV programme. The ambulance worker is charged with voluntary homicide.

It is alleged that the suspect injected air into the veins of patients - causing them to die of an embolism - as they were being transported back to the small inland town of Biancavilla.

The 42-year-old man is said to have then taken advantage of grieving families by recommending a funeral agency linked to the Sicilian mafia, from which he gained a commission.

Reports suggest the scheme could have been operating since 2012 and there could have been many other victims.

Investigators say they have looked into dozens of deaths in Biancavilla but only 12 have so far been deemed "meaningful" and only three have been presented to an investigating magistrate.