Retrial for Gucci 'black widow' after brain tumour evidence

Patrizia Gucci, former wife of the luxury goods heir Maurizio Gucci who is serving a 26-year jail sentence for arranging for him to be murdered nine years ago, has been granted a retrial.

Mr Gucci was shot dead on 27 March 1995 as he was walking down stairs to his office in Milan. Mrs Gucci, the so-called "black widow", was said to have ordered his death to prevent him squandering the family fortune on his new lover.

The decision to send Mrs Gucci for retrial, announced on Thursday, is a victory for her mother and two daughters, who have been campaigning on her behalf for years. They claim that an operation to remove a brain tumour that the convicted woman underwent in 1992 had fatally affected her judgement.

The family's first victory came two weeks ago when a prosecutor in Venice said he was in favour of a retrial. There was no dispute, the prosecutor said, that Mrs Gucci wanted to kill her husband, nor that she hired four men to do the job. "The only issue," he said, "is whether the woman was in full possession of her mental faculties when she planned the killing of her husband."

The prosecutor's decision was influenced by a brain scan on Mrs Gucci proving the existence of a cerebral lesion that may have affected her judgement. In addition, a medical report documents mistakes that followed her brain operation, mistakes which, it is claimed, may have affected her health.

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