Sadomasochist meth addict ‘cannibalised’ London policeman after sex, dissolved rest in bath of acid
A crystal meth user obsessed with Breaking Bad has been found guilty of murdering a police officer he invited to his flat for a drug-fuelled sex session.
Stefano Brizzi, 50, strangled Gordon Semple, 59, and dissolved his body in acid in a bath, mirroring a method of disposal employed by Walter White, the lead character in the hit US TV series.
Brizzi cooked other parts of the officer’s body, and possible bite marks were found on a rib, leading the prosecution to accuse him of cannibalism.
Brizzi admitted dismembering and disposing of Semple’s body, but claimed that the officer, who served in the Metropolitan police for 30 years, died accidentally during a sex game after a dog leash around his neck slipped.
On Monday, after more than 30 hours of deliberation, a jury at the Old Bailey convicted the Italian national of murder by a 10 to two majority.
Brizzi, a former web developer who lost his job at Morgan Stanley as a result of his crystal meth addiction, broke down a number of times during the trial as the prosecution detailed the gruesome nature of the allegations. He showed no emotion as the jury returned its verdict.
Detective chief superintendent Peter Ayling said: “Fuelled by drugs, Stefano Brizzi murdered Gordon and then set about systemically disposing of his body, the detail of which is quite frankly distressing to read and hear.
“The investigation has evidenced the sickening lengths that he went to [to] dismember Gordon and dispose of his remains, not just in the immediate aftermath of the murder, but over the days that followed, and amounts to cannibalism.”
He said the officers who discovered their colleague’s body and those involved in the investigation had been affected by the traumatic nature of the case.
Semple went to Brizzi’s flat in Southwark, south London, on April 1 after the pair made contact on gay dating app Grindr. The officer, who was supposed to be on duty, messaged Brizzi to say he was “free now for [a] hot, dirty, sleazy session”.
Both men regularly indulged in extreme sexual practices including domination, bondage and sexual asphyxiation, and used illegal drugs.
That day, Brizzi was said to be tired and fractious because he had been engaged in heavy drug use, had not slept and had been let down by someone else on Grindr. He was also unhappy at Semple’s appearance, describing him as fat, ugly and unattractive.
Brizzi is believed to have killed the officer after the pair had sex. Four days later, he bought items including pincers, heavy-duty scissors, a putty knife, plastic buckets, carpet cleaner and a perforated metal sheet from a hardware store, using them to strip flesh from the corpse.
Semple’s partner, Gary Meeks, made more than 20 unanswered calls to his mobile phone on April 1 and reported him missing the next morning after he failed to return home.
But Semple’s body was not discovered until April 7, when officers were called to Brizzi’s flat after neighbours complained about the smell. They found human remains in the bath and in plastic buckets on the floor.
A pool of fat and grease was discovered inside Brizzi’s oven and the handle was bloodstained. Semple’s DNA was also recovered from the oven, a cooking pot and chopsticks found in the flat.
Brizzi, who answered the door to officers wearing pink underpants, initially confessed to deliberately killing Semple, telling police at the scene: “Satan told me to.” But he later changed his account, claiming it was an accident.
However, a pathologist concluded that while strangulation was a possible cause of death, it would have taken minutes, rather than the momentary slip of the leash described by Brizzi.
In a statement, Semple, who was based in the Westminster antisocial behaviour team, was described by his family as “a loyal and much loved long-term partner, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin and friend to all.
“We were devastated when the news broke of Gordon’s murder and the circumstances, which are still incredibly hard to deal with. It is still insurmountably upsetting.”
Malcolm McHaffie, a deputy chief crown prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service in London, said: “Stefano Brizzi is an evil and calculating man who intentionally killed Gordon Semple and then made gruesome attempts to dispose of his body.”