'Cannibal' police killer found dead in prison

Stefano Brizzi was given a minimum 24-year sentence in Britain last December for murdering and dismembering the remains of PC Gordon Semple

A man who was jailed for murdering a British police officer and dissolving his body in acid has been found dead in jail.

Stefano Brizzi, 50, was given a minimum sentence of 24 years in jail last December after he was found guilty of murdering PC Gordon Semple.

Police believe Brizzi had tried to dismember and dissolve the body after strangling his victim - as well as attempting to cook and eat it.

Investigators believed a leg had been placed in a roasting tin in the oven and found traces of his DNA on grease in the cooker, in a blender and on a set of chopsticks.

Detectives also found pieces of the PC's flesh floating in chemicals in the bath.

During his trial at the Old Bailey, the court heard Brizzi was a fan of the Breaking Bad TV series and had been inspired by an episode of the show to dissolve PC Semple's body in acid.

Police were called to investigate after neighbours complained of a "revolting smell" in Brizzi's flat.

Italian-born Brizzi claimed the police officer had "begged" him to be tied up and choked.

The pair had met on gay dating app Grindr and the case sparked fears for the safety of the users of online dating services.

He told the jury his death had been an accident, and that Mr Semple had slipped and snapped his neck.

But a pathologist said a tiny fracture in a bone in the PC's neck indicated he had been strangled.

In mitigation, Brizzi's lawyer blamed the crime on his addiction to crystal Meth and said he had "absolutely no recollection" of what had happened.

A Prison Service spokesperson confirmed Brizzi, 50, died on Sunday at HMP Belmarsh, south-east London.

It is believed he took his own life.

They added: "As with all deaths in custody there will be an independent investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman."