London News & Search
Cannibal killer Stefano Brizzi who strangled a Metropolitan Police officer before cooking and trying to eat him was found hanged in his cell just a month after being taken off suicide watch, an inquest heard.
Italian national Brizzi, 50, died at Belmarsh high-security jail in Woolwich, south-east London, on February 5.
He was handed a life sentence in December last year after he throttled 50-year-old PC Gordon Semple to death and chopped up his body with saws.
The pair met through gay dating app Grindr and the former Morgan Stanley IT developer invited PC Semple to his flat for a “sleazy session” on April 1 last year.
The crystal meth addict, who was inspired by TV show breaking bad, tried to dissolve parts of his victim’s body in acid before cooking and trying to eat him.
He was arrested after neighbours complained of a foul stench coming from his flat.
Officers then found flesh floating in the bath, bags of bones, and pools of human fat in the oven.
Brizzi, who was HIV-positive, was initially on a programme for prisoners considered at risk of harming themselves, a pre-inquest review hearing at Southwark Coroner’s Court was told on Tuesday.
He was taken off the programme on December 28 and several days later on January 4 “suicide watch ceased”, senior coroner Dr Andrew Harris said.
A noose and a letter “indicating he was thinking about death” had been found in his single cell on December 6, the hearing was told.
It was unclear whether the letter was found on December 10 or was dated December 10 and discovered later, the court heard.
Dr Harris gave the cause of death as hanging, adding there were no injuries “implying altercation with another party”.
A full inquest will examine how officials managed “information found in his cell indicating he was thinking about death”, Dr Harris said.
Dr Harris queried the potential “non-disclosure” of the letter to healthcare staff and said it had been suggested Brizzi made the noose out of boredom.
He said: “It is important to understand the way that risk was assessed at the time.
“Given the nature of his crime we need to understand … whether he was assessed as a violent prisoner.
“It may relate to the fact he was in a single cell and whether he had been exposed to risk by other prisoners.”
A full inquest has been scheduled for April 23.
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