The convicted Mafia boss Domenico Rancadore has appeared in court following his re-arrest in west London yesterday.
Described by Italian prosecutors as “one of the heads of one of the most powerful mafia associations in Italy”, the 65-year-old was detained after the Metropolitan Police received a fresh European Arrest Warrant.
Rancadore, who has a serious heart condition and fled Italy 20 years ago, was told only last month that he would not face extradition because prison conditions would be a breach of his human rights.
Appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court wearing a beige jumper and black trousers, and with his wife Anne in the public gallery, he argued that the latest arrest warrant request was identical to the last one from Italy except for some additional assurances about prison standards.
He was later remanded in custody, and is due to appear at the same court for a bail hearing next week.
Dubbed the “Godfather of Uxbridge”, Rancadore was first arrested last in the UK last August after two decades on the run from Italian police.
They have accused him of fleeing the country where he faced trial over his alleged Mafia connections in Palermo between 1987 and 1995, and said he has an “outstanding sentence of seven years imprisonment to serve” following a trial in his absence.
Last month Senior District Judge Howard Riddle reversed his original decision to extradite Rancadore, and was told at another hearing that he would not face an appeal against the judge's ruling.
The High Court heard the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lodged an appeal against the decision to refuse Rancadore's extradition but it was not served to his lawyers within the seven-day time limit and he was released on unconditional bail.
Rancadore and his wife moved with their two children to Uxbridge in 1994 and lived under the name of Skinner, the maiden name of Ms Rancadore's British mother.
At a previous hearing, Rancadore said he came to the UK to give his children “a good life”, and to bring his time in Italy to an end.
He said the infamous Maxi Trial in which he was a defendant in the mid-1980s - involving 460 defendants, one of whom was his father - was a “terrible experience”.
Asked about changing his name to Marc Skinner, he said it was to end ties with Italy, adding: “This was the only way.”
Rancadore said he did not even contact his mother or father back home, saying: “I wanted to end everything with Sicily.”