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Italy: 6 youths convicted over deadly nightclub stampede

ROME (AP) — A court in the Italian coastal city of Ancona convicted six young men Thursday over a 2018 nightclub stampede that killed five teens aged 14-16 and a mother who had accompanied her daughter to a rap concert.

The defendants were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and received sentences ranging from 10 years and five months to 12 years and three months in prison, Corriere della Sera and Sky TG24 TV reported from Ancona.

The defendants, most of whom are in their early 20s, opted for a fast-track trial held behind closed doors. Within 90 days the court must issue a written explanation of why it decided as it did. Prosecutors had alleged that the defendants sprayed an “irritating substance” in the Lanterna Azzurra nightclub in the town of Corinaldo, in the central Marche region, crowded with young teens awaiting a popular rapper’s performance. They contended the defendants wanted to distract the concert-goers so they could steal jewelry, handbags and wallets.

Videos taken outside the concert venue showed scores of young teens rushing through a door and surging toward a low railing near the exit, which then collapsed. Some 60 people were injured. Separately, prosecutors are investigating 17 persons, including the owners and managers of the nightclub, on suspicion that the venue was heavily overcrowded.

Paolo Curi, whose wife, Eleonora Girolimini, was killed after accompanying their 11-year-old daughter to the event, said that after Thursday's verdict he was awaiting that second trial. “I was inside (the nightclub), you were sensing that it was 200% unsafe, it was unbelievably overcrowded, and the tragedy could have been sparked by a canister (of irritating spray), by a fight, by anything," Corriere della Sera quoted him as saying.

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