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Italian man arrested for poisoning entire family

Xinhua,December 07, 2017 Adjust font size:

ROME, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Police on Thursday arrested a young man for killing his grandparents and an aunt by poisoning them with chemical element thallium, local media reported.

Another four family members and the family's live-in caregiver have been hospitalized with acute thallium poisoning.

The case of the mass poisoning has received extensive media coverage, as investigators initially thought it was accidental and have been trying to ascertain how the toxic substance, which is used in electronics manufacturing and other industries, could have gotten into the family's food.

It turns out the young man, who lives with his parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents in the small northern town of Nova Milanese, purchased the thallium and put it in the family's tea.

Carabinieri said they arrested 27-year-old Mattia Del Zotto on charges of murder and attempted murder "to prevent further possible victims", according to Italian news agency ANSA.

"I did it to punish impure subjects," Del Zotto reportedly told investigators. The suspect's mother has reportedly stated to police that her son, an unemployed loner with a number of phobias, had joined a religious cult.

Also according to ANSA, police found five packages of thallium sulphate in the family home, along with the purchase receipts.

Thallium is a heavy metal used in electronics manufacturing and other industries. It is highly toxic, odorless and tasteless.

"One gram of thallium is enough to kill an adult person," research scientist Pietro Calandra from Italy's National Research Center (CNR) told RAI public broadcaster, describing its effects as "atrocious suffering". Enditem