London

Police killing cannibal Stefano Brizzi dies in prison

Stefano Brizzi Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Stefano Brizzi admitted trying to dispose of PC Semple's body in an acid-filled bath

A murderer who was jailed for killing a Metropolitan Police officer and trying to dissolve his body in acid has died in prison.

Stefano Brizzi, 51, was sentenced to life in prison in 2016 for murdering PC Gordon Semple and was ordered to serve at least 24 years in jail.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed Brizzi, an HMP Belmarsh prisoner, died in custody on Sunday.

His trial was told he had tried to eat his victim's flesh.

Brizzi denied trying to cannibalise parts of PC Semple, 59, from Greenhithe in Kent, by cooking and then biting into a rib.

But at his sentencing, the prosecution said an expert odontologist had since confirmed that even though Brizzi claimed not to remember it, he had in fact tried to eat flesh.

He was caught when neighbours reported a foul smell coming from his flat in south London.

Image copyright Gordon Semple
Image caption Gordon Semple, who was originally from Inverness, served with the Metropolitan Police for 30 years

The pair met on the dating app Grindr and at his trial Brizzi claimed PC Semple, who was originally from Inverness, had died during a "sex game gone wrong".

Jurors did not believe him and found Brizzi guilty of murder by a majority of 10-2 after five days of deliberation.

The court was told Brizzi was a fan of the US TV show Breaking Bad in which the protagonists dissolve a rival drug dealer in a bath filled with acid.

When investigators visited Brizzi's flat in south London they found "globules" of flesh floating in the bath, plus bags containing bones and pools of human fat in the oven.

In a statement the MoJ said: "HMP Belmarsh prisoner Stefano Brizzi died in custody on Sunday.

"As with all deaths in custody there will be an independent investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman."

The MoJ has not indicated a cause of death and said that would be determined by a coroner. No date has been given for an inquest.

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