Police officer's killer found dead in cell claimed he had no plan to use noose, inquest told

Police officer's killer found dead in cell claimed he had no plan to use noose, inquest told

A man convicted of murdering a police officer before dismembering his body and trying to dissolve it in a bath of acid wove himself a ligature a few months before he was found hanging in his cell, an inquest has heard.

Stefano Brizzi, 50, was found suspended from a light fitting in his cell at HMP Belmarsh on February 5 last year, less than three months into his 24-year sentence for killing Pc Gordon Semple after meeting him on gay dating app Grindr.

Brizzi previously worked as a web developer for merchant bank Morgan Stanley and held degrees in both philosophy and web development, but had not held a job since 2014 due to his battle with his crystal meth addiction.

Pc Semple, who was on duty when he arranged to meet Brizzi, was reported missing by his partner on April 2 - sparking a massive manhunt.

Police were alerted to the smell of chemicals and decomposing flesh coming from Brizzi's flat on the Peabody Trust Estate in Borough, south-east London, on April 7.

Traces of the victim's body were found in the oven, a tea strainer and even on some chopsticks, while a bite mark was found on a rib.

Brizzi was remanded to HMP Belmarsh on the same day, where he remained until his trial and subsequent conviction for murder the following autumn.

From December 6, he was placed on heightened observations after prison officers found a rope plaited out of strips of bedsheet in his cell - just a few days before his sentence on December 12.

He was moved on to the health care wing within the prison, but he insisted to staff he had made the ligature out of frustration and had no intention of using it, a jury at Southwark Coroner's Court heard.

Dr Matthew Cook, who was working as a locum forensic psychiatrist at the prison at the time, said Brizzi was irritated at the level of intervention by prison staff and did not want to move from the main block.

He added that Brizzi told him he did not feel his trial had gone well for him or that all the evidence had been accurate.

Dr Cook said: "He was frustrated that he couldn't have access to the same amenities (on the health care ward) that he was having in his block.

"He said he was better off staying on his block, where he could meet with other inmates he had formed friendships with and watch TV."

Police officer's killer found dead in cell claimed he had no plan to use noose, inquest told

He continued: "He stated to the nurses that he didn't have any suicidal thoughts, he said he had made the noose because he felt bored and frustrated about everything that was happening to him at the time.

"He said he had made the noose on the Friday and that he had no intention of using it and it was only when [staff] found it on the Monday that he was transferred off his block.

"He was adamant that he didn't have any thoughts or intention to harm himself."

Dr Cook said Brizzi had a good relationship with staff and had been open about his sentencing, saying he expected to receive a sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 to 30 years.

"He said he didn't feel the trial had gone that well for him because some of the witnesses didn't attend and he felt that the statements were not all accurate, particularly of the offence, and that some friends had stopped contact with him," Dr Cook said.

But he added that Brizzi had recently reached out to some old friends who had re-engaged with him.

He told the inquest Brizzi, who was born in Florence to a Catholic family, had told him about the difficult relationship he had with his parents who could not accept his homosexuality or his HIV and Hepatitis C status.

The inquest heard Brizzi had been teaching maths in the prison and had been working with a listener - a prisoner trained by Samaritans.

He said Brizzi blamed his addiction to crystal meth for his crime and for ruining his life.

"He said a number of events had led to him weaving the rope - he said he couldn't access his bank accounts for some reason and couldn't purchase anything in the canteen," said Dr Cook.

"He felt frustrated and annoyed that he couldn't purchase anything and felt that staff and people around him didn't care for him."

He added: "He said that if he wanted to kill himself he would have done it there and then."

Dr Cook said Brizzi had told him that he did not think he would see the end of his sentence because he had a life-limiting illness and was preparing to spend the rest of his life in jail.

He described Brizzi as honest and articulate with very good self-awareness about what was happening to him and why.

The inquest, which is due to last for a week, continues.

PA

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