Domenico Rancadore: Mafia Boss Wins Extradition Battle
wow, did not see that coming
Convicted Mafia boss Domenico Rancadore will not be extradited back to Italy, Westminster Magistrates' Court has ruled.
District judge Howard Riddle said a recent decision of the Administrative Court, which binds lower courts in England, had led to his decision.
Rancadore will be bailed while an appeal takes place, the judge ruled.
He was told he must live at his home in Uxbridge and report to Uxbridge police station every day.
The 65-year-old will also be electronically tagged.
Mr Riddle told the court his original decision was to extradite Rancadore.
In an original draft, Mr Riddle said he included that he was satisfied the European arrest warrant was valid and that extradition was "compatible with the defendant's convention rights, including prison conditions".
However, in a dramatic turnaround, the judge changed his decision following the ruling in a similar case involving the Court of Florence and Hayle Abdi Badre.
"The judgment of the Administrative Court is binding on me," Mr Riddle said.
Following the ruling, Rancadore's lawyer, Karen Todner, told the BBC: "It's almost impossible to defeat a European arrest warrant but we have been successful today so I'm delighted with the decision."
Rancadore, who was known as The Professor in his native Sicily, moved to London in 1994 with his wife and two children.
He was found guilty of Mafia association and extortion in Italy in 1999 and given a seven-year jail term.
Rancadore adopted the alias Marc Skinner, using the maiden name of his British-born wife's mother.
Previously, the court heard he had fled Italy because he wanted "a normal life" for his family and had "cut every tie" to his past.
The prosecution alleged he had been "deliberately absent" from the 1999 trial, where he was subsequently sentenced, and had deliberately "hidden" his identity as he knew he was a wanted man.
Domenico Rancadore case: The Mafia boss in the semi next door
taly's deputy prime minister Angelino Alfano called him "one of the most dangerous fugitives", but to his neighbours he had been an "ordinary", "caring", "lovely" neighbour.
A suburban cul-de-sac of semi-detached maisonettes in west London might seem an unlikely place for a Sicilian Mafia boss to be living.
But in August last year the residents of Manor Waye in Uxbridge discovered the man they thought was Marc Skinner was actually Domenico Rancadore.
The Italian police say he headed a family involved in extortion, racketeering and drug trafficking.
Rancadore, who came to the UK 20 years ago, will not be extradited to Italy, Westminster Magistrates' Court has ruled.
He was convicted in his absence in 1999 for being part of a criminal organisation in Sicily and sentenced to seven years in jail.
Joan Hills who lives next door, said she never suspected the double-life Rancadore was living.
"He's just an ordinary person, a lovely person who I've always known," she said.
She did say, however, that his strong Italian accent and surname did seem to be at odds with one other.
"We used to say Skinner wasn't a very Italian-sounding name," she said. "My husband once joked, 'I think you must be in the Italian Mafia'."
Mrs Hills, who thinks of Rancadore, his wife Anne and their two children as "extended family", had said in advance of Monday's court decision: "They are very loving, caring people. I hope he can come back."
For Wendy Cottrell, 76, who has lived in Manor Waye for nine years, in hindsight a "big posh car" on the driveway was the only hint that a mobster lived nearby.
She said: "We hadn't got a clue. They've never been any trouble with people coming or going. They're just a perfectly normal, quiet family living next door-but-one."
The night Rancadore was arrested Mrs Hills came to her house and explained what had happened, recalled Mrs Cottrell.
The next day reporters started arriving.
Sky News came and I thought, 'What do you want Joan for Sky News for?'"
It was not until they watched the TV reports that they realised that "Marc Skinner" was, in fact, one of the heads of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra.
"We thought, 'Mafia? Oh my God'. It doesn't happen to the likes of us. It was a big, big surprise."
She added that she did not feel afraid. She said: "It's an Italian thing. They are still Marc and Anne as far as I'm concerned."
Rancadore's background has excited a house of students living nearby.
Brunel biology student Robert, 19, moved in a few months ago.
On hearing about his neighbour's past, he said: "That's so cool. It's like The Godfather. I literally just watched The Godfather and The Godfather II for the first time the other day. That's crazy."
America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society - Peter Kropotkin