UK & World News
Mafia Boss Rancadore Remanded In Custody
An on-the-run Mafia boss arrested in Britain after fleeing Italy 20 years ago has been remanded in custody after appearing in court.
Domenico Rancadore, 64, was captured by Scotland Yard officers after authorities in Italy issued a European Arrest Warrant.
Rancadore had been living quietly in Uxbridge, west London, since fleeing Italy in 1993 and he was initially arrested at his home earlier this week, but not before trying to escape.
At an initial hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court it emerged there were discrepancies in the European Arrest Warrant and it was suggested he may well be released.
But at a further hearing today, a new European Arrest Warrant was issued.
It was signed just minutes earlier by judge Roberto Scarpinato in Palermo, Sicily, enabling Rancadore to be rearrested in the cells below the court.
The court heard how he had been convicted to seven years imprisonment by a court in Palermo for Mafia association.
He was said to be the head of a powerful crime family which ruled with an iron grip the suburbs of Caccamo and Trabia.
Benjamin Seifert, for the CPS, described how Rancadore was a member of an organisation that "spread terror throughout Sicily, imposing rules and controlling the area, murdering systematically people who didn't agree with its rules".
Father-of-two Rancadore has not been convicted of any violent offences but Mr Seifert said he "collected bribes" and was the "leader of an organisation that ensured strict compliance of its rules, through giving orders instructions and securing illicit building contracts".
He added that Rancadore was a "man of honour", which means a senior Mafia member and was in charge of his territory.
As this was being said the smartly dressed Italian raised his eyebrows and puffed out his lips.
The court heard how he also had no formal identity documents and had been using the name Marco Skinner - his wife's maiden name - and that as a result he had evaded arrest for almost 20 years.
In his defence, Euan Macmillan said his client was suffering from a heart condition and was also unaware of proceedings in Italy that had resulted in a seven-year jail sentence in his absence in 1999.
The court heard that he had been convicted of Mafia association between 1987 and 1995.
It is known that during this period he was said to have ordered a severed lamb's head be sent to a prison priest.
Father Gino Sacchetti had campaigned against the Mafia and had his car firebombed and besides the grim lamb's head was also sent a letter containing bullets with the message: "The first is for your head, the second for your head and the third for the coup de grace. No more warnings."
In asking for bail Mr Macmillan said Rancadore's wife, Anna, who was in court and held hands with their daughter Daniela, was able to provide £10,000 to secure his release at and that point the Italian blew a kiss to her.
However District Judge Quentin Purdy refused to grant him bail.
He told Rancadore the fact he had no formal identity documents in his name and had evaded capture for so long meant "if you were released you would adopt same stance and find success as you have over the past few decades".
Police sources in Rome told Sky News they were "delighted" at Rancadore's detention.
"Justice will now be served on Rancadore and it will be a warning to other criminals on the run - we will catch up with you. The judge had no real option but to send him to prison."
The hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court was adjourned until later this month for technical matters, before a full extradition hearing on November 25.