Prostitute in Rome scandal dies

A body believed to be that of a Brazilian prostitute involved in a scandal that brought down the governor of the Rome area was found in an apartment fire yesterday.

The woman, known as Brenda, was one of two transsexuals linked to former Lazio regional governor Piero Marrazzo in a prostitution scandal and had been questioned by prosecutors earlier this month. A top Rome police official, Vittorio Rizzi, said it appeared that the victim was killed by smoke inhalation. If arson is found, the investigation could lead to murder charges.

Four policemen were arrested in Rome recently for allegedly attempting to blackmail Mr Marrazzo, who was found with another transsexual prostitute, known as Natalie, last July.

After Brenda was found dead, Mr Marrazzo's lawyer told reporters that the authorities should put Natalie under protection.