Borough man appears in court accused of murdering copper and dissolving body in bath ‘Breaking bad’ style

Court Reporter (20 October, 2016)

Court heard how Brizzi committed the act after hearing voices from 'Lucifer'

8718PC Gordon Semple

A Breaking-Bad obsessed Borough man murdered a policeman and tried to dissolve his body in an acid bath, a jury at The Old Bailey has heard.

Stefano Brizzi, who worked as a web developer for Morgan Stanley, allegedly killed PC Gordon Semple, 59, after organising a drug-fuelled sex session on dating app, Grindr.

Some of the officer’s remains were found dissolving in a bath of acid after police were alerted to a “smell of death” coming from the Peabody Estate in Southwark Street, near London Bridge, on April 7.

Other parts were found in the estate’s communal bins where 50-year-old Brizzi lived.

One of PC Semple’s severed feet was found by a member of the public on banks of the river in Bermondsey, and attempts were also made to boil his flesh away in pans.

He later told police: “I met him on Grindr and I killed him. Satan told me to.”

Brizzi now claims PC Semple – a Westminster copper who lived in Kent with his partner Gary Meeks – was accidentally strangled during a sadomasochistic sex game.

He denies murder but has admitted obstructing the coroner in his duty by dismembering PC Semple’s body to dispose of it.

The Peabody Estate, Southwark Street

The Peabody Estate, Southwark Street

Jurors heard Brizzi was “obsessed” with the TV series Breaking Bad, which featured a similar scene of main character Walter White’s attempt to dissolve a body in a bath.

Brizzi also referred to crystal meth as “Nutella”, the court heard.

The Italian had been interested in satanic rituals for some time, the Old Bailey heard, and a number of notes with words like “Lucifer, I call you forth,” were found in his flat.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC warned jurors: “The nature of the evidence, I am afraid, calls for strong stomachs as well as broad minds.

“Albeit he was in a relationship, Gordon Semple was a sexually promiscuous man who made extensive use of the app ‘Grindr’.

“Using Grindr, Mr Semple would regularly meet strangers for sexual encounters.

“The sexual activity that followed might be of an extreme nature: domination, bondage and much else besides…. Drugs were often involved.”

Jurors were told that Brizzi’s tastes were “similarly extreme” and messaged PC Semple just before their meeting that he was “free now for hot dirty sleazy session”.

Over the next hour both men used Grindr to invite other men for a drug-fuelled sex party.

Only two men responded – one ultimately decided not to go. The other man – referred to as CD to protect his identity – arrived at just after 7pm.

When he rang the bell, Brizzi told him: “We’re having a situation here. Someone fell ill but we’re taking care of it. So our party is cancelled.”

Police believe there were only ever two people in the flat – the victim and the defendant.

PC Semple used the Grindr app for the last time at 7.05pm, when his partner tried to contact him 20 minutes later but there was no response.

It is believed whatever happened to PC Semple happened between 7.05pm and 7.30pm.

Brizzi told cops he was in the middle of strangling PC Semple at the very moment CD rang the bell.

The Old Bailey

The Old Bailey, photo by Nigel Cox

Mr Aylett said: “CD must have arrived at the very moment PC Semple was meeting his death inside.”

Over the next few days neighbours became increasingly aware of a “revolting smell” coming from Brizzi’s flat.

On Monday April 4, a neighbour came to enquire about the smell, Brizzi apologised and told him he had been cooking for a friend. The following day, Brizzi went to a DIY store and bought a number of items including a set of saws and several large buckets.

By April 7, the neighbours had called the police about the smell and Brizzi was visited by two police women – he answered the door in just his underpants and a pair of sunglasses.

They were hit by the overwhelming stench, and found human remains floating in a bath of acid.

Brizzi told the officers “I’ve tried to dissolve the body… I’ve killed a police officer.”

He added: “I killed him last week. I met him on Grindr and I killed him. Satan told me to.”

Brizzi said he had been hearing voices telling him “You must kill. You must kill.”

He admitted he had disposed of some of the body parts in the river.

Brizzi told police in interview: “I kind of said ‘goodbye’. luckily I didn’t know him. I thought it was a nice way to… make a funeral on the River Thames.”

Despite his admissions to police, Brizzi has not put forward any kind of psychiatric defence to the alleged murder.

Mr Aylett said: “In dismembering Gordon Semple and disposing of some of the body parts, the defendant must have hoped, first, to avoid being caught and, if that failed, that it would be impossible to identify how Gordon Semple had met his death.

“Nonetheless, from the body parts that were recovered, the pathologist has been able to identify bruising to the left side of the neck and the base of the tongue which are associated with fractures in the structure of the neck.”

CCTV image released by Met Police of PC Semple when he was seen in Great Guildford Street, before his disappearance on April 4

CCTV image released by Met Police of PC Semple when he was seen in Great Guildford Street, before his disappearance on April 4

PC Semple, originally from Inverness, Scotland, was last seen leaving London’s Shard at 12.30pm on April 1 after an on-duty meeting at the five-star Shangri-La hotel.

PC Semple, from Greenhithe, Dartford, was reported missing by Mr Meeks on Friday April 1 after he failed to come home from work.

Brizzi, of the Peabody Estate Trust, Southwark, denies murder.

He admits obstructing the coroner in his duty by dismembering PC Semple’s body in order to dispose of it.

The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.

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