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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Chiara Fiorillo

Former girlfriend of Mafia boss quizzed by police 'for helping him' as love letters found

A woman who was in a relationship with notorious Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro could face prosecution after being suspected of helping him evade justice.

Maria Mesi, 57, was jailed for three years for sheltering the godfather of the Sicilian Mafia, the Cosa Nostra, in the 1990s and is now suspected of helping him again in recent years.

Messina Denaro was finally captured last month in Palermo, Sicily, after being on the run for 30 years.

He is starting several life sentences for the murders of around 50 people, including magistrates Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone, as well as 12-year-old Giuseppe di Matteo who was kidnapped in 1993 and dissolved in acid two years later.

Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested in Sicily on January 16 (Carabinieri via Getty Images)
He was on the run for 30 years (Studio Camera Di Lannino/REX/Shutterstock)

Mesi, whose brother Francesco had links to the Cosa Nostra, showered Messina Denaro with gifts including aftershave, video games and clothes when she sheltered him in a flat in Bagheria - about 10km from Palermo city centre.

The Mafia boss escaped as police closed in, possibly tipped off by a corrupt official, and when officers arrived at the flat, they found caviar and champagne in the fridge.

They also discovered a video game console, a jigsaw puzzle, cigarettes and a Polaroid camera.

The Mafia boss was captured after 30 years on the run (Carabinieri/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

In letters found by the Italian police, sent by the woman to the Mafia boss, Mesi described him as "the most beautiful thing there is".

She wrote: "I love you and will love you for ever."

Following the mobster's arrest on January 16, police are once again questioning Mesi and searching her home in Bagheria.

Italian police are also questioning another unnamed former lover of Messina Denaro, with a Carabinieri official saying: "One of the women denies ever knowing him and the other says she did not know who he really was, and describes him as kind and attentive."

Italian police at the hideout in Campobello di Mazara where Messina Denaro lived before his capture (Alessandro Fucarini/REX/Shutterstock)

Cyprien d'Haese, who directed 'The World's Most Wanted', a Netflix documentary about the Mafia boss, said Messina Denaro took "many risks" to see his girlfriend Maria Mesi.

He added the woman's parents "could do nothing" about their relationship and that despite being arrested due to her links to the boss, she never betrayed him.

Mr D'Haese told the New York Post: "He was interested in her and she was in love with him. Her parents could do nothing about it.

"But the police found out and began shadowing Maria. It took the police months to realize that they met in a flat in front of her flat — his hideout was just a few feet away from where she lived."

Forensic officers taking notes in front of the house (ITALIAN CARABINIERI PRESS OFFICE)

He added: "They arrested the girl; she was jailed and she never betrayed him. But I don't think they ever got back together. Denaro had other girls."

According to investigators, Mesi and Denaro even spent some holidays together between 1994 and 1995, not just in Sicily but also in Greece, where the Mafia boss travelled using the false name of Matteo Cracolici.

Images taken by video surveillance cameras in the town of Campobello di Mazara, where Messina Denaro was hiding before his capture, suggest Mesi had contact with him recently.

For this reason, she has been added to the register of suspects and is now being investigated for aiding and abetting.

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