Case against man accused of strangling and dismembering police officer to open

Updated: 

The case of an Italian man accused of strangling and dismembering a police officer he met on gay dating website Grindr will be opened in court later.

Stefano Brizzi, 50, allegedly killed 59-year-old Pc Gordon Semple at his London flat some time between April 1 and April 7.

The officer went missing on April 1 and his remains were discovered a week later after a neighbour alerted Scotland Yard to a "smell of death" coming from a property on the Peabody Estate in Southwark Street, south London.

Brizzi denies murder but has admitted a second charge of obstructing a coroner in the execution of duty between March 31 and April 8 2016.

The charge states that he intended to "obstruct the coroner from holding an inquest into the suspicious death of Gordon Semple by dismembering the body in order to dispose of it".

Brizzi's trial at the Old Bailey is being heard before Recorder of London Nicholas Hilliard QC and is expected to go on for three weeks.

A jury was sworn in on Monday and prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC will outline the case against the defendant later.

Mr Semple was originally from Inverness in Scotland and had been with the Metropolitan Police for 30 years.