Research has shown that 1,120 innocent people have been killed by Mafia groups in Italy in 150 years.

Data published in La Stampa on 9 November, collated by the Investigative Reporting Project Italy, found that of this number 125 were women and 105 were youths.

Meanwhile, a mobster-turned state witness has returned to Sicily despite being denied police protection.

Stefano Lo Verso, the former chauffeur for Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano, has called for a revolution in witness-protection programmes, which would protect collaborators in their homes, rather than requiring them to go into exile.

He has been denied armed protection by the interior ministry while he refuses to leave Sicily, after he cooperated with prosecutors after completing a five-year prison sentence for mob-related crimes.

Lo Verso said:

Better to die a turncoat than a Mafioso. I want the government to understand this: a collaborator who is able to return to his own territory can be a strong weapon against the Mafia.

It’s the Mafiosi who should have to leave this town, not I who’ve renounced my past.

Lo Verso hopes that his actions will aid challenges to the culture of silence surrounding the mob in some areas of Italy.

Laura Garavini, an MP on the Parliamentary AntiMafia Committee, told The Independent:

It is unrealistic to think about protecting a collaborator without resorting to security measures involving both the person’s transfer and change of identity.

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