Brazil outrage over Sao Paulo cyclist's lost arm


A road collision in Brazil has caused outrage after police said a motorist drove off with a cyclist's severed arm attached to his vehicle.

The driver, who later turned himself in, told Sao Paulo police that he had dumped the limb in a stream.

The arm has not been recovered but doctors believe it could have been reattached, police told local media.

The cyclist - a window-cleaner on his way to work - is said to be in a stable condition in hospital.

The accident that saw the cyclist's arm torn off took place on Sunday morning on Avenida Paulista, one of Sao Paulo's busiest streets.

'Difficult to find'

The authorities say the driver, a 22-year old student, will be charged with attempted murder and driving while under the influence of alcohol. However, they haven't yet decided how to charge him for the disposal of the arm.

The student says the arm fell into the car after the collision.

The motorist's lawyer, Cassio Paoletti, has told BBC Brasil he denies the attempted murder accusation and that his client did not stop for fear of the reactions of witnesses.

"If he had stayed, they would have killed the boy. For instance, the police station was surrounded by hundreds of people who verbally abused and threw cans at my client's father, who's a 60-year-old man," Mr Paoletti said, adding he would press for serious bodily harm charges.

A policeman told the BBC the case was still under investigation, but the driver had admitted to throwing the arm into the stream.

"It has dirty, murky waters, so it might be difficult to find it," he said, adding that the man was being questioned about the details.

Police say the motorist was on his way back from a night out when his car hit the window-cleaner.

After the accident, he reportedly drove a friend home and discarded the arm, before turning himself in.

A number of cyclists gathered outside the police district where the driver was being questioned to protest.

Cycle activists have been campaigning for more safety on the city's streets for months.