A paramedic gave terminally ill patients lethal injections for cash as part of a money-making scheme for a mafia-linked funeral parlour in Italy, it has been claimed.
Police have arrested a stretcher-bearer in Catania, Sicily, suspected of carrying out the killings in a so-called ‘death ambulance’.
The 42-year-old is alleged to have injected air into the veins of three patients causing them to die of an embolism as they were being transported home from hospital to the town of Biancavilla.
The ambulance driver (not pictured) is alleged to have injected victims while transporting them home from hospitals
He was paid 300 euros for each death, according to a reformed mafioso who unveiled the affair in an investigative programme aired on Italian television.
Two other stretcher-bearers are being questioned by police over similar cases.
The total number of suspect deaths in the ‘death ambulances’ is thought to be around 50.
‘As these people were at the end of their lives and were slated to die anyway, he injected air into their veins and they died of embolism,’ the mafioso said.
Police detained the 42-year-old and charged him with voluntary homicide.
It is alleged that he took advantage of grieving families by recommending a funeral parlour linked to the mafia and then taking a commission.
Local reports claim this may have started five years ago and investigators say they have looked into dozens of deaths in Biancavilla.