Rome judges write that Cucchi starved in police custody

Justification of manslaughter convictions for doctors filed

Rome judges write that Cucchi starved in police custody

Rome, September 3 - A 31-year old man who died in police custody in 2009 perished from malnutrition, wrote Rome judges in a justification, deposited Tuesday, for the manslaughter convictions of five doctors from Rome's Pertini prison hospital last June. Stefano Cucchi, a 31-year-old surveyor's clerk, died while in police custody, on October 22, 2009, one week after being arrested on a drug charge. The Rome judges wrote that they agreed with assessments made by forensic experts - that Cucchi was killed by untreated ''inanition syndrome'' or malnutrition, which the judges called ''the only explanation for the most glaring and singular element in the case, and that is the striking weight-loss that Stefano Cucchi encountered during his hospitalization''. Forensic exams filed by the prosecution reported that Cucchi's condition was not properly treated by hospital staff and that his death was caused by a ''severe shortage of food and liquids''. Prosecutor Francesca Loy said that medical staff were indifferent to the young man, a drug addict with medical problems who had been described as grumpy and rude. Hospital director Aldo Fierro was sentenced to two years, physicians Stefania Cordi, Flaminia Bruno, Luigi De Marchis and Silvia Di Carlo one year and four months, and staff member Rosita Caponetti eight months. Three police guards and three nurses also on trial were acquitted. An experts' report also noted that shoddy records were kept at the Pertini prison clinic where Cucchi died, with few notes on the victim's weight, body temperature, or heart rate while he was a patient. An autopsy shortly after Cucchi's death found he was severely dehydrated, had two broken vertebrae and internal organ damage. The report also said that ''the traumatic injuries on Cucchi's body correspond with both aggression and with an accidental fall''.

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