January 11 2018

Paramedic 'killed patients in ambulance to get payout from their funerals in mafia scheme'

Davide Garofalo allegedly injected air into veins of terminally ill patients as they were transported home

Italian police have arrested an ambulance worker on suspicion of killing people to earn money from funeral homes linked to the mafia.

Davide Garofalo, 42, is alleged to have injected air into the veins of terminally ill patients to end their lives as they were transported from a hospital to their homes.

He is said to have then put victims' grieving families in touch with undertakers, pocketing $300 (£265) for each corpse.

Three other people are under investigation in the case, dubbed the "ambulances of death" scandal by Italian media.

The claims first came to light when a reformed mafia member tipped off an investigative TV programme and police in the Sicilian city of Catania.

Mr Garofalo worked for a private ambulance company that transported patients to and from a hospital in nearby Biancavilla.

He is alleged to have injected air into each victim's bloodstream, causing a fatal embolism, as they were transported home to spend the remainder of their lives with their families instead in hospital.

Mr Garofalo has been charged with three counters of voluntary homicide.

But police believe there could be many more victims of the mafia scheme, which they say may have been in operation since 2012.

Investigators have examined the deaths of 50 patients, 12 of which are considered "particularly meaningful," according to a prosecutor.


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