Prosecutors demand 26 years for ‘Captain Coward’

2015-01-26 16:40
Captain Francesco Schettino leaves the court room of the converted Teatro Moderno theatre at the end of a hearing in his manslaughter trial in Grosseto, Italy. (Andrew Medichini, AFP)

Captain Francesco Schettino leaves the court room of the converted Teatro Moderno theatre at the end of a hearing in his manslaughter trial in Grosseto, Italy. (Andrew Medichini, AFP)

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Rome - Italian prosecutors have called for the captain of the doomed Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, to serve 26 years and three months in jail for the 2012 shipwreck which left 32 people dead.

"This is not an exaggerated sentence," prosecutor Maria Navarro told the court in Grosseto, Tuscany, on Monday, saying the man dubbed "Captain Coward" by the media was guilty of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all the passengers were safe.

"Francesco Schettino has lied to everyone, to the press, to the court, to the maritime authorities. He has never accepted responsibility [and] no elements have emerged in his favour" since his trial began in July 2013, she said.

Schettino, 54, is accused of delaying the order to abandon ship after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio on 13 January 2012, during a risky drive-by "salute" manoeuvre, and then abandoning ship before many of the passengers had been rescued.

The ship, carrying 4 229 people from more than 70 countries, listed and turned onto its side, making it impossible to launch many of the lifeboats once the alarm had been sounded.

Navarro called for Schettino to serve 14 years behind bars for multiple manslaughter, nine years for causing a shipwreck, three years for abandoning ship and three months for failing to contact the authorities when the accident happened.

"God have pity on Schettino, because we cannot have any," prosecutor Stefano Pizza said in his summing up speech.

The ex-captain says he delayed calling for help because he knew the wind would guide the ship towards land, and was forced to abandon ship after he fell off when it tilted, and was thrown into a lifeboat which carried him ashore.

A verdict is expected by the middle of February.

Read more on:    italy  |  costa concordia  |  maritime accidents

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