British tourist held hostage in Italy freed by police after sending family coded plea for help

Victim is found barefooted and handcuffed at an address in central Italy’s Macerata province

Matt Mathers
Friday 15 October 2021 11:38
Comments
<p>Italy police say man was freed on Wednesday evening </p>

Italy police say man was freed on Wednesday evening

A British man held hostage by a gang in Italy for eight days has been freed after police raided the property where he was being kept.

The 25-year-old London man, whose name has not been released, was found at an apartment in the central Macerata province on Wednesday night, detectives said.

He was kept handcuffed and barefooted in a room at an address in the town of Monte San Giusto, which is about 106 miles southeast of San Marino.

The man was allegedly kidnapped by a gang of four people, who demanded he pay them €7,000 (£5,918) to be released.

They allowed the victim to call his parents in order to get the money, at which point he used a coded message to signal to them he was being held captive, police said.

The man’s father then contacted the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA), which in turn raised the alarm with authorities in Italy.

Massimiliano Mengasini, a lieutenant colonel at the Macerata unit of Italy’s Ros Carabinieri special operations group, said three men and a woman have been arrested following the alleged kidnap.

“He had been kept in the dark room of an apartment, handcuffed and barefoot,” Mr Mengasini said.

"We are still working to shed light on the case,” he added.

Despite being fed scraps of food for over a week, police said the victim was in a good physical condition but “psychologically tested” by the incident.

Sean Kelly, an operations manager for the NCA’s anti-kidnap and extortion unit (AKEU), said: “We have been working closely with the Italian authorities since the kidnap of a British man was reported.

“NCA officers in Italy and specialists from AKEU, working together with UK policing, have been providing close support to the Carabinieri police as part of its ongoing investigation. We are pleased that this incident has been resolved successfully.”

The victim told police he had been travelling around Italy since June and made visits to several cities including Naples, Sorrento, Florence and Bologna, before arriving in Macerata.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in