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CRIME

Italy just made it easier to claim self-defence if you hurt or kill an intruder

The Italian senate on Thursday signed into law a widened definition of legitimate self-defence, in line with a manifesto promise by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Italy just made it easier to claim self-defence if you hurt or kill an intruder
Guns on display at an international arms show in Brescia, northern Italy. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

“It's a very beautiful day — finally, Italians' sacrosanct right to legitimate self-defence has been confirmed,” said Salvini, who also serves as deputy prime minister.

“From today, miscreants will know it will be more difficult to be a burglar in Italy — it will become a still more dangerous undertaking,” Salvini said after the senate passed the bill by 201 votes to 38.

The legislation, passed on its third reading, will limit legal action against persons who fire on an intruder.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about gun laws and ownership in Italy


Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Previously, the law had required proof that an intruder posed an immediate physical threat to the householder. The new law renders defence legitimate in a person's home against a perceived threat of violence from someone trespassing on their property.

The law also offers free legal aid and defence counsel costs for those who kill or injure an intruder, then claim legitimate self-defence. In addition it toughens sentences for theft, burglary and shoplifting, while making release from custody in such cases conditional on payment of damages.

READ ALSO: 

Salvini's populist League party, in a coalition government formed last year with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, campaigned on behalf of individuals and traders facing justice for killing unarmed burglars.

Magistrates, however, have warned the new law could have dangerous effects, “reducing magistrates' scope for interpretation” of such cases.

“It is important to remember that… even with this new law, penal proceedings will be opened and investigations will be undertaken,” Francesco Minisci, president of Italy's National Association of Magistrates (ANM), said in a statement. 

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CRIME

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.

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