Pope Francis urges Italian mobsters to pray for forgiveness and convert to the Lord after three-year old is murdered in shock mafia hit
Brutal murder of three-year old Coco has sparked outrage in Italy as mafia crime takes an "unprecedented" turn
Pope Francis has urged Italian mobsters to pray for forgiveness after a child was shot in the head and killed in what authorities describe as an 'unprecedented' Mafia hit.
In his weekly Angelus address at St Peter's square, the Holy Father urged the killers to "repent" for the heinous crime that has shocked Italy, a country accustomed to mafia crime.
"This violence against such a small child seems without precedent in the history of crime," Pope Francis said. "Let us pray for Coco, who is certainly with Jesus in heaven and for the people who carried out this crime, so that they repent and convert to the Lord."
The body of three-year old Nicola Campolongo was found on 17 January along with that of his grandfather Giuseppe Iannicelli , 57, and a young Moroccan woman, Ibtissa Touss, 27, in a torched Fiat Punto in the town of Cassano Jonio in Calabria, southern Italy.
"In all my years investigating organized crime murders, none has been as horrific as this one," lead prosecutor Franco Giacomantonio told reporters. "It is unimaginable that a child can be made to pay for the crimes of his parents."
Italian authorities believe the 'Ndrangheta, Italy's most feared crime group, is behind the triple homicide. Police found a 50 euro cent coin on the roof of the burnt-out car, a symbol of vendetta, which suggests the hit was carried out in retaliation for an unpaid drug debt.
According to Italian media, Iannicelli was the real target of mafia killers who shot all three people in the car in the head. The 57-year been convicted of dealing narcotics and was serving an eight-year sentence under nocturnal house arrest. Authorities were alerted when he failed to check in.
Coco's 24-year-old mother, Antonia Iannicelli, is serving a four-year jail sentence for possession and sale of drugs. She did not attend the funeral fearing her life would be in danger. Her two other children, ages four and five, are in protective custody.
No suspects have been named in the triple homicide. The investigation continues.
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Peaches Geldof cause of death: Socialite had taken fatal dose of heroin after years of addiction, inquest concludes
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Iraq crisis: Isis orders Mosul shop keepers to cover mannequins
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...
£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...