London

PC murder accused Stefano Brizzi 'not a monster'

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 drug addict accused of strangling a police officer and dissolving the body into an acid bath is "not a monster", his lawyer told a jury.

Stefano Brizzi, 50, denies murdering PC Gordon Semple, 59, at his south London flat, and claims he died accidentally during a sex game.

The Old Bailey has heard Brizzi admit to cutting up the body and trying to dispose of it but deny eating flesh.

His lawyer told jurors to focus on how PC Semple died not what happened after.

Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC said the defendant, who is addicted to crystal meth, accepted that his actions between the time of PC Semple's death on 1 April and his arrest six days later were "both horrific and inhuman".

"He does not dispute that, but you may think whatever those actions were, and you know he has not attempted to run away from his responsibility for them, they were carried out while he was in a hell of his own making by virtue of the drugs he had taken," she told the court.

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

"Just as Gordon Semple was a good man, Mr Brizzi, is a middle-aged, intelligent, urbane, interested linguist, a highly skilled professional.

"He is not a monster. He is a human being, like you or I."

The lawyer dismissed the suggestion of a possible bite mark on the remains of the police officer, who was from Greenhithe, Kent, saying speculation lay beyond the remit of the jury.

The presence of strong acid at the flat - which had led to police officers needing hospital treatment - meant that "no-one could attempt to take into their mouth any form of item that had been exposed to those chemicals," jurors were told.

Ms Bennett-Jenkins also told jurors they should guard against feelings of dislike or disapproval of "promiscuous behaviour between men".

The trial continues.

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