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Escaped Italian serial killer caught in France

Manhunt comes to an end after days on the loose

20 December, 15:03
Escaped Italian serial killer caught in France (ANSA) - Rome, December 20 - An Italian serial killer who fled during a granted prison leave Tuesday was apprehended in Mentone, France on Friday, Italian Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said.

Bartolomeo Gagliano, 55, had a criminal record that included the killing of two prostitutes and a transsexual in the 1980s. On Tuesday he hijacked a car at gunpoint and fled. The case, along with another escapee who was also recaptured Friday, was seen as a threat to government prison reforms.

Earlier Friday Cancellieri told the House that she has ordered a full investigation into Gagliano's release for good behavior to visit his mother. She also urged calm and asked that people try not to judge the entire system by this affair. Gagliano's criminal past also includes robberies, extortion, narcotics and arms possession, and fleeing from psychiatric hospitals, authorities said. He had a year and a few months left on his sentence for attempted extortion when he failed to show up as scheduled from his leave at the Marassi prison, in the periphery of Genoa, on Tuesday morning at 9:00. Twelve hours later, he was officially declared a fugitive. The judge who authorised Gagliano's prison leave said Thursday that her decision had been legitimate. "The permit was issued on legitimate foundations, after a long study of reports that said for some time there had been a balancing of the psychiatric disorder, lucidity, capacity to cooperate, tranquility and no signs of being psychopathic," said Daniela Verrina.

Earlier Friday police announced they had apprehended Pietro Esposito, a convicted mafioso who failed to return to prison after a granted leave. He was declared a fugitive Thursday, with only six months left to the end of his sentence.