UK & World News
Mafia Boss Domenico Rancadore Held In London
A Mafia boss on the run for 19 years has been arrested in London, Italian police have confirmed.
Domenico Rancadore, 64, was one of Italy's most wanted criminals and had been sentenced to seven years in jail in his absence for Mafia association.
He was head of a crime family involved in extortion, racketeering and drug trafficking, Italian police said.
Italian detectives knew he was living in London and had failed to have him arrested in the past because the crime of Mafia association is not recognised by authorities in Britain.
However Sky sources said "circumstances changed" in recent weeks and police were able to move in.
Rancadore was arrested as he returned to the home in Uxbridge, west London, that he shares with his wife Anna Maria, 60, and children Giuseppe, 36, and Daniela, 33.
It is thought he initially attempted to escape but was quickly caught and overpowered by unarmed Scotland Yard officers.
Rancadore, nicknamed "u profissuri" (the teacher) because he was a qualified PE teacher before turning to a life of crime, following in the footsteps of his father Giuseppe, who was also a top Mafia boss and given a life sentence.
He was running a travel agency with his wife and said by Italian police to be "living a golden life" in Britain, with a comfortable home as well as top of the range Jaguar and Mercedes cars.
Rancadore's wife - the daughter of the Italian consul - was born in London, as were his two children.
According to Italian media, Rancadore was living so openly in London he was even collecting his pension - considering himself untouchable because his conviction was not recognised.
He was said to be still running his criminal activities despite being more than 1,000 miles away from Palermo.
Italian police sources said he was using the alias "Marco Skinner" and had no official documents in his real name.
He went on the run in 1994 after being jailed by a court in Palermo, Sicily, where he ran the Caccamo and Trabia areas on the outskirts of the city in the 80s.
He was said to have been involved in the so-called Mafia Wars 30 years ago but was never directly convicted of murder.
A police source in Rome told Sky News: "Rancadore is a senior Mafia figure and his arrest is highly significant. Obviously we would like to pass on our thanks to colleagues in London who carried out the arrest."
Palermo prosecutor Vittorio Teresi said the Italian authorities would be seeking to have Rancadore extradited.
He said: "We asked several times for him to be arrested through the European Arrest Warrant but the procedure was never carried out because the British authorities wanted clarification of his committed crimes."
Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano welcomed the arrest and said: "We have ensured that another on the run criminal has been consigned to the country's jail system."
During one investigation, a Mafia supergrass called Gaetano Lima reportedly told investigators: "Rancadore is dangerous, I can assure you of that. I know that because I brought him up."
It is not the first time a Mafia gangster has been arrested in London.
In 2006, Raffaele Caldarelli was held in Hackney where he was running a shoe shop and in 2012 cop killer Gianfranco Techegne was held outside St James's Park post office.