NEWS

Cyanide in spaghetti did mobster in

The sudden prison death last month of an infamous Athens crime family’s last male scion was caused by cyanide added to his spaghetti by another convict, Piraeus court authorities confirmed yesterday. The death on January 28 of Theodoros Grigorakos, 28, was originally attributed to alcohol poisoning caused by a noxious drink convicts clandestinely brew using fruit and electricity. But Piraeus prosecutor Evangelos Floratos said yesterday that toxicological tests conducted by Athens University found traces of cyanide in the body of the last of the Grigorakos family – whose activities ranged from drug smuggling to protection rackets. Grigorakos’s father and brother were both shot dead two years ago in Athens, at the height of a turf war among protection racketeers. The death of Grigorakos – who was in prison for attempted murder in connection with the family extortion racket – was the third this year in the capital’s overcrowded Korydallos penitentiary, and the second murder. A few days later, on February 7, Albanian bank robber Constantin Papa was found hanged in a Korydallos prison cell. Two other convicts have been charged with murdering Papa, who is understood to have given police crucial information during their hunt last year for Costas Passaris, Greece’s most wanted criminal. Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos reacted to the results of the toxicological tests yesterday by calling on prison authorities to speed up an investigation he had ordered last month into Grigorakos’s death. He also promised a crackdown on prison gangs. Prison sources said at least 10 convicts have been questioned in connection with the murder. Grigorakos was reportedly very careful with his food, making a point of sticking to the prison fare and avoiding private cook-ups. But his last meal, of spaghetti, is believed to have been prepared by somebody he trusted. Shortly after dinner, Grigorakos – who had received numerous threats in prison, including a couple of bullets under his pillow – felt unwell and his two cellmates called the wardens, saying that all three of them had been drinking spirits distilled in prison. He died in an ambulance on the way to the Piraeus Tzaneio hospital.