Mafia fugitive’s sentence dropped

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Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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A Mafia fugitive who was set to be extradited to Italy from the UK following a long legal battle has had his sentence dropped.

Domenico Rancadore, who has lived in Britain for more than 20 years, was given a seven-year sentence by an Italian court in 1999 for being a member of the Cosa Nostra.

In February he lost his year-and-a-half battle against extradition and was told he must return to Italy to serve his sentence.

But today it emerged that the 65-year-old’s case has been “extinguished” since last October.

Rancadore’s solicitor Karen Todner said: “Domenico Rancadore’s sentence in Italy extinguished due to age of conviction.

“I have sent a consent order for the discharge of Rancadore to the Crown Prosecution Service to sign.”

Vincenzo Celeste, from the Italian Embassy, told the BBC that Rancadore’s conviction remains intact but Italian law states that a sentence expires once a period of more than double the time of the penalty has passed.

The mobster was first arrested on a European arrest warrant at his semi-detached London home in August 2013.

Although he was never convicted of murder, the Italian authorities wanted him to be returned to the country after he fled in 1995.

Known as the Professor, Rancadore was tried in absentia and handed a seven-year prison term for his “Mafia association”.

Protracted extradition proceedings at Westminster Magistrates’ Court saw District Judge Howard Riddle reverse his initial decision over concerns that Italian prison conditions would breach his human rights because he has a serious heart condition.

In his judgment Judge Riddle said: “I am satisfied that, even without the assurance, there is no real risk that by returning this defendant to Italy he will suffer inhuman or degrading treatment.”

Before his arrest in 2013, the Mafia don spent two decades living under the name of Marc Skinner with his family in a house surrounded by a fence and large hedge, obscured from view.

He claimed he had changed his name to escape the notoriety associated with his father, Giuseppe.

Rancadore’s father was imprisoned in 1987 as part of the maxi trial which saw 475 Mafiosi indicted.

Ms Todner said in a statement: “There has been a long and unhappy history of these proceedings and I am delighted Mr Rancadore will now be able to live in peace in England with his wife and family.”

But there was an angry reaction from legal experts to the amount of time and money that had gone into the case.

Extradition expert Edward Grange tweeted: “What a waste of time and money. After two sets of proceedings, Italy no longer seeks extradition of Rancadore.”

Barrister Philip Marshall QC said: “Yet more incompetence by the CPS in the Rancadore case (allegedly): his seven-year prison sentence expired in October 2014.”

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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