London

Stefano Brizzi: PC Gordon Semple 'didn't use safe word'

File court artist sketch of Stefano Brizzi at the Old Bailey on 13 April 2016 Image copyright PA
Image caption Stefano Brizzi denies murder but has admitted disposing of PC Semple's body

A police officer found dismembered did not use a "safe word" during a "very dangerous" sex game, his alleged killer has told jurors.

Stefano Brizzi, 50, is accused of strangling PC Gordon Semple, 59, and attempting to dispose of the remains in an acid bath.

Mr Brizzi said PC Semple, whom he had met on dating app Grindr, "stopped breathing" during sadomasochistic sex.

Mr Brizzi, 50, denies murder but admits disposing of his body.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, Mr Brizzi said the pair had devised a "warning code" to indicate enjoyment or distress.

This included the codeword "red" - meaning "stop immediately" - the court heard.

Mr Brizzi said PC Semple was wearing a collar and a mask with a leash attached.

The policeman had initially been "extremely excited" during the encounter on 1 April, he said, but stopped responding.

"He never said 'red'," Mr Brizzi said.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Gordon Semple had served with the Met Police for 30 years

It was then, the defendant said, he realised "that something had gone wrong".

Mr Brizzi told the court he "started to panic" when he removed a mask covering PC Semple's head and found he was "completely unresponsive".

He performed chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but to no avail, he said.

Heart attack 'possible'

He thought about calling an ambulance, he said, but did not do so because he thought Mr Semple may have a "condition" such as asthma.

Mr Brizzi said he checked Mr Semple's pocket for an inhaler but instead found his police badge.

"I was absolutely petrified," he said.

It was "possible" that the officer had died from a heart attack, rather than strangulation, pathologist Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl told the jury.

He said the "heart was not present to be examined" but PC Semple's weight and history of high cholesterol meant a heart attack could not be discounted.

Earlier in the trial the pathologist for the prosecution said he had recorded the cause of death as "unascertained" because PC Semple's internal organs and some parts were never recovered.

But Dr Benjamin Swift told jurors a fracture to a tiny horseshoe-shaped bone in his neck and bruising indicated evidence of strangulation.

Jurors previously heard Mr Brizzi may have cooked and eaten parts of PC Semple, whose DNA was found on kitchen utensils in his south London flat. His internal organs, including the heart and brain, were not recovered.

The defendant told police officers he had been using crystal meth since 2013, and had been told by Satan to "kill, kill, kill".

The trial continues.

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