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Family of murdered Inverness cop left in emotional turmoil after killer’s body found in prison cell

Stefano Brizzi was told he would have to serve a minimum of 24 years (Metropolitan Police/PA Wire)
Stefano Brizzi was told he would have to serve a minimum of 24 years (Metropolitan Police/PA Wire)

The family of a murdered policeman has been left in emotional turmoil after his depraved killer was found dead in his cell just weeks into his life sentence.

Gordon Semple’s brother Ronnie said he did not know whether to feel happy or sad when he heard cannibal Stefano Brizzi’s body had been discovered at Belmarsh Prison on Sunday.

The Italian crystal meth addict was serving a life sentence with a minimum of 24 years after a jury found him guilty of strangling Mr Semple when they met for sex in London.

He then cooked and ate parts of the former Inverness High School pupil’s body as he attempted to cover up the grisly crime.

Brizzi was jailed at the Old Bailey in December for the murder of 59-year-old Constable Semple at his flat in south London.

An investigation has now been ordered after the 50-year-old killer’s body was found at the high security jail in Woolwich, south east London.

Constable Semple’s brother Ronnie said he was unsure about how to react when the news of the death broke yesterday.

Speaking to the Press and Journal last night he said: “I don’t know how to feel to be honest, whether to be happy, or sad that he didn’t spend 24 years in isolation.

“What I would say is that if it was 30 years ago he would have hanged.

“Justice works in peculiar ways.”

A Prison Service spokeswoman said in a statement: “HMP Belmarsh prisoner Stefano Brizzi died in custody on Sunday.

“As with all deaths in custody there will be an independent investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.”

Brizzi, a former Morgan Stanley IT developer, was found guilty of murder in November by a majority of 10 to two after the jury had deliberated for more than 30 hours.

Judge Nicholas Hilliard, the Recorder of London, sentenced him the following month to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey, with a minimum sentence of 24 years.

The judge commended the officers who attended the “unprecedented scene”, which “no amount of training or experience could have equipped them for”.

Constable Semple worked at the Royal Bank of Scotland before joining the Metropolitan Police in October 1983, latterly being attached to the antisocial behaviour unit at Westminster Council.

The court heard Brizzi met his victim on gay dating app Grindr and arranged a “hot dirty sleazy session” at his flat near London’s Tate Modern gallery on April 1 last year.

According to Brizzi, Mr Semple died when a dog leash he had been wearing as part of a sex game slipped.

But a pathologist concluded that while accidental strangulation was a possible cause of death, it would have taken minutes rather than moments, as the defendant had claimed.

After the killing, Brizzi was caught on CCTV buying buckets, a perforated metal sheet and cleaning products from a DIY store.

Inspired by a scene from his favourite TV show Breaking Bad, he then set about dismembering the body, stripping the flesh, burning some in the oven and mixing some with acid in the bath.

Constable Semple’s long-term partner Gary Meeks reported him missing when he failed to return to their home at Dartford in Kent.

Neighbours complained about the stench coming from Brizzi’s flat and eventually called police.

Officers were confronted with the grisly sight of “globules” of flesh floating in the bath, bags containing bones, and pools of human fat in the oven.

Brizzi, who was wearing pink underpants and sunglasses, was arrested as officers realised the enormity of what they had found.

The court heard there was evidence in the kitchen that Brizzi had chopped up the Inverness-born officer with a variety of utensils and may have even used chopsticks to eat morsels of cooked meat.

Following his arrest, Brizzi admitted killing and trying to dissolve the body of a policeman because “Satan told me to”.

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