Domenico Rancadore,64, one-time Sicilian mafia boss of Cosa Nostra, had his past catch up with him in a north-west London suburb. Rancadore was arrested in a modest house in Uxbridge living under the name Marc Skinner. Upon being confronted, Rancadore attempted to escape out the rear of the house but was caught by detectives. After questioning, he relented admitting he was Domenico Rancadore listed on the European warrant under which he was arrested.
Rancadore had lived an average life raising his children, Daniela, 33, and Giuseppe, 36, with his wife in the UK since the seventies. Rancadore’s wife, a UK citizen, ran a travel company from the house called Executive Travel. She was the bread winner of the family and Rancadore lived off a modest retirement from teaching.
“He is one of the best neighbors you could ever have. They have lived here for years and their children were brought up here. I love those two kids like I love my own. When I lost my husband, Marco hugged me and cried with me. They were just an ordinary family living in just an ordinary house,” said Joan Hills, 74, a neighbor.
In court proceedings after the arrest, it was apparent that past of the former Sicilian Boss had caught up with him when Italian authorities read aloud their statement. “He was a prominent representative of the Palermo mafia family who had led a comfortable life in London since going on the run in 1994.”
Benjamin Siefert, representing the Italian authorities, said, “the warrant accused Rancador of being the leader or “man of honor” of the mafia family in Trabia, a province of Palermo between 1987 and 1995. He had been convicted in 1999.” Siefert presented Rancadore as a flight risk stating he is a “man of considerable means”.
Euan Macmillan, legal representation for Rancadore, contended his client had been tried in 1993 in Palermo with others and was acquitted. He began a new life with his family in the UK and was essentially a free man.
“He was married in Italy in 1976, his children were born in the UK, his wife is a UK citizen, he returned here following the proceedings in Italy,” said Macmillan. “He has led a blameless life in this country for 20 years.”
Rancadore had previously confirmed his identity with the Metropolitan police’s extradition unit. When asked if he would consent to his extradition back to Italy for what the warrant said was a 1999 conviction for “participating in a criminal organization,” he replied, “no.”
Along with Rancadore’s arrest, deficiencies arose with the warrant as it was drawn up by Italian authorities. “It might have to be discharged,” said Quentin Purdy. The validity of the warrant was questionable and posed a major administrative problem.
It appears that the past of the Sicilian mafia boss Rancadore, formerly known as “The Professor”; has caught him off guard and threatens to snatch his future away. His lawyer clearly has an uphill battle in maintaining the freedom of the neighborly father of two.
By Thomas Barr