Wife of Mafia don found in London: 'We came to Britain to escape our past'
Anne Skinner and husband Domenico Rancadore left Italy 19 years ago and changed their names, but he now faces extradition
The wife of a mafia boss facing extradition to Italy to serve a seven-year prison sentence said on Monday that they were in hiding in Britain to escape their past.
Anne Skinner – whose husband, Domenico Rancadore, is a convicted mafia boss accused of fleeing Italy before facing trial – told an extradition hearing that they had lived in the country undetected for 19 years.
The couple, along with their two children, moved to Uxbridge, West London, in 1994 and changed their name to Skinner – the maiden name of Mrs Skinner’s British mother.
Rancadore, 64, known as “The Professor”, was convicted in his absence in Italy in 1998 for taking bribes and issuing illegal building contracts.
Mrs Skinner, also 64, the daughter of a former Italian consul to London, told the hearing at Westminster magistrates’ court that they fled Italy to escape the criminal legacy of her husband’s father, Giuseppe, a Sicilian mafia leader.
“We wanted our children to live a different life to that environment, where all they speak about is mafia,” she said. “There was nothing against his name when we left. We wanted to get away from our surname, we had been through so much, we needed a break.
“I found a job, I was working, it was much easier to have an English name than an Italian name.”
Rancadore was living in London under the name “Marc Skinner”. The couple have two children, Giuseppe, 36, and Daniela, 33, and Mrs Skinner ran an executive travel agency, which she claimed had gone bust when her clients “abandoned” her following her husband’s arrest in August at the family home.
Mrs Skinner said that until this point she had been unaware of the European arrest warrant against him.
When asked if her husband had been hiding, she said: “Yes, but he hasn’t done anything.”
Alun Jones QC, Rancadore’s barrister, said the surname had “cast a shadow” over the family.
Rancadore was granted bail after his wife offered their £370,000 home as a surety. District Judge Howard Riddle imposed conditions including a £50,000 security, a curfew and an electronic tag.
Rancadore had twice been refused bail, but the judge said: “He has no convictions recorded against him in this country or any others and no evidence had been put to me that suggests he has committed offences here or abroad in 18 years.”
Mrs Skinner told the judge: “My husband would never leave me. He would never go anywhere, he wouldn’t allow me to lose my house. I can guarantee on my life that my husband will not go anywhere.” She added that they had lived under house arrest for three years in Italy in the 1980s, after which her husband was acquitted of mafia involvement.
Hannah Hinton, on behalf of the Italian authorities, appealed against the decision and said Rancadore remained “a significant flight risk”.
A review of the extradition proceedings will be held on Dec 16, until which Rancadore will remain in custody. A full extradition hearing is scheduled for Feb 20-21.