Judge among three killed as man opens fire in Milan court

Suspect, on trial for fraudulent bankruptcy, arrested trying to leave scene on motorcycle

A defendant in a bankruptcy proceeding in Milan’s main courthouse has shot and killed three people connected to his case, police say.

Claudio Giardiello (57), who was in court to answer charges of “fraudulent bankruptcy” in relation to his Magenta real estate firm, is said to have killed a judge, a witness and a former business partner all involved in his hearing.

Eye witnesses said Mr Giardiello had been sitting in the public seats near the front of the courtroom when he produced a gun and shot dead Lorenzo Appiani, a lawyer who in the past had defended him but who was in court yesterday in the role of state’s witness.

At least one lawyer in the court room claimed afterwards that Mr Giardiello had been trying to shoot the state prosecutor Luigi Orsi, but had hit Mr Appiani instead after the prosecutor had saved himself by falling down on the courtroom floor.


Mr Giardiello is reported to have killed Mr Appiani, and then opened fire on two of his co-defendants, Giorgio Erba and Davide Limongelli, killing the former and seriously wounding the other in the stomach.

At that point, witnesses say, he ran out of the third-floor courtroom, and went down to the second-floor office of bankruptcy judge Ferdinando Ciampi. The suspect is said to have burst into the office, killing the judge with two shots to his upper body as he sat at his desk. In all, 13 shots were fired during the shooting spree.

The suspect is reported to have shot another witness, accountant Stefano Verano, who ran into him on the courthouse stairs.

Despite much police activity, the suspect managed to escape from the court house, climb on to his motor scooter and travel some 30km to Vimercate, outside Milan, where he was finally apprehended.

When arrested, Mr Giardiello was reported to have told police: “I wanted to take my revenge on those people who have ruined me.”

Media reports claimed thatMr Giardiello was no stranger to bankruptcy proceedings, and that yesterday represented the sixth time in the last 20 years that he had to close a business activity which had collapsed because of insolvency.

Lawyer Valerio Maraniello, who represented Mr Giardiello until two years ago, told Corriere Della Sera's website that he had renounced his mandate because Mr Giardiello was a "difficult" client. "He was always over the top, it was impossible to handle him as a client because he would never listen to advice. He was convinced that everyone was out to cheat him, he was totally paranoid."

Mr Giardiello had managed to get into the courthouse with his own legally held, calibre 7.65 revolver and two bullet clips, police said. Apart from judges and lawyers, everyone entering the courthouse has to pass through metal detectors.

Having examined video footage of the four entrance turnstiles, chief Milan prosecutor Edmondo Brutti Liberati told reporters that Mr Giardiello had used the lawyers’ entrance where there was no metal detector control.

It is believed he used a forged identity, passing himself off as a lawyer, and may have been aided by the fact that he was wearing a suit and tie and carrying a large leather briefcase.

Interior minister Angelino Alfano was in Milan yesterday at an Expo 2015 meeting.

Later in the day, Mr Alfano said Mr Giardiello went out to Vimercate with the intention of killing another of his business partners who lived there.

President Sergio Mattarella convened an urgent meeting of the Supreme Council of Magistrates, of which he is the constitutional head. Referring to a climate of distrust around magistrates, he said: “Magistrates are always in the front line and that makes them especially vulnerable. For that reason, all attempts to discredit them have to be firmly rejected.”