Friday 23 March 2018

Custody judge warned children were at risk

Twins Augustino and Gianluca Riggi (8) and Cecilia Riggi (5) were found dead at their home in Edinburgh on Wednesday after an explosion
Twins Augustino and Gianluca Riggi (8) and Cecilia Riggi (5) were found dead at their home in Edinburgh on Wednesday after an explosion

Paul McDonald in Edinburgh

A JUDGE warned that three children at the centre of a bitter custody battle could be in danger just 24 hours before they were found dead, it emerged last night.

Eight-year-old twins Augustino and Gianluca Riggi and their five-year-old sister Cecilia were discovered on Wednesday at the modern townhouse in Edinburgh's Slateford Road after reports of an explosion.

The children's mother, Theresa Riggi (46) is in a serious but stable condition in hospital after apparently falling from the second floor of the building.

Judge Lady Clark raised concerns about the welfare of the children after their mother failed to appear before a divorce hearing on Tuesday.

The deaths are being treated as suspicious and police want to speak to Mrs Riggi when she is well enough.

Post-mortem examinations were carried out on the children yesterday and police insisted it was too early to say whether it was a murder investigation.

The children's father, Pasquale Riggi (46) has been interviewed by police, but is not a suspect. He is said to be "heartbroken".


Police said Mrs Riggi and the children were traced to the Edinburgh address last month after they were reported missing from their home in the Aberdeen area of Scotland.

When Mrs Riggi, previously of Skene, Westhill, Aberdeenshire, disappeared again, the judge ordered the court's Messengers at Arms to search for her, with social services instructed to supervise the children once found and to apply to a local sheriff in relation to their protection if they thought it necessary.

The couple were due in court tomorrow for a further divorce hearing.

Detective Superintendent Alan Jones, of Lothian and Borders Police, said it was also too early to determine the children's cause of death.

He said: "The family had been in the city for a few weeks and we are keen to speak to anyone who knew them during that time.

"We are not in a position to speak to the woman yet, and we will take advice from her doctors as to when that can happen," he added.

Mr Jones said of Mr Riggi: "He's heartbroken, but he's very composed. He realises he holds a lot of central information that we need. We're conscious of the trauma he's gone through."

The detective said the family came from California and Colorado -- although he did not confirm who came from which US state.

Mr Riggi has worked for oil firm Shell since 1987. He has been in Aberdeen for a number of years and in the UK for 13 years, police said. He was in Aberdeen at the time of blast.

Floral tributes were left close to the scene yesterday. One card, attached to a bunch of flowers and a yellow teddy bear, simply said: "With sympathy."

Edinburgh Pentlands MSP David McLetchie, in whose constituency the incident took place, said: "This is a tragic case which has horrified and saddened us all."

Irish Independent

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