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Man who allegedly strangled lover and melted his body in acid is "not a monster"

Stefano Brizzi
Stefano Brizzi

A Breaking Bad fan accused of strangling a police officer and trying to dissolve the body in an acid bath is "not a monster", his lawyer told jurors.

IT developer Stefano Brizzi, 50, is on trial at the Old Bailey charged with the murder of Pc Gordon Semple, 59, at his flat in south London on April 1.

The crystal meth addict has admitted cutting up the body and trying to dispose of it before his arrest six days later, but he has denied one of the disposal methods was by consuming parts of the policeman's flesh.

He has told jurors that Pc Semple accidentally died during a sex game when a dog leash he was wearing momentarily slipped.

His lawyer Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC told jurors: "Stefano Brizzi would be the first to accept - and he has done as we know by his plea of guilty of obstructing a coroner - that his actions between the time of Gordon Semple's death and his arrest on April 7 were both horrific and inhuman.

"He does not dispute that, but you may think whatever those actions were, and you know he has not attempted to run away from his responsibility for them, they were carried out while he was in a hell of his own making by virtue of the drugs he had taken."

She told jurors to focus on the actual circumstances of Pc Semple's death rather the what happened afterwards.

She said: "Just as Gordon Semple was a good man, Mr Brizzi, is a middle-aged, intelligent, urbane, interested linguist, a highly skilled professional.

"He is not a monster. He is a human being, like you or I."

Ms Bennett-Jenkins told jurors that people's sexual preferences were their own business and they should guard against feelings of dislike or disapproval of "promiscuous behaviour between men".

She said: "Whatever you think about the actions clear from the Grindr messages, participating in different sorts of sexual conduct ... do not allow any prejudice to seep into your consideration of the real job of how Gordon Semple died."

Gordon Semple

The defendant's "intellectual curiosity" in religion and ideas of Satanism may be "distasteful", but people were entitled to read any books they choose, she said.

The Satanic Bible, which was found in his flat, had sold a million copies worldwide and been available for 30 years.

The lawyer dismissed the suggestion of a possible bite mark on the body, saying speculation lay beyond the remit of the jury.

She highlighted the presence of strong acid at the flat which had led to police officers needing hospital treatment, despite wearing gloves, and said: "No-one could attempt to take into their mouth any form of item that had been exposed to those chemicals."

Brizzi, who was brought up in Italy in a Catholic family, denies murder.