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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > January 2017 > KILLER QUEENS


Three men who met casual partners on Grindr and other social networking sites have just been convicted of murder. Six men lost their lives in total – that we know of. From the court room of the most dangerous gay serial killer since Jeffrey Dahmer, Neil Root investigates the very real dangers of using Grindr and other sites for hook-ups with strangers.


‘Free now for hot dirty sex session, ’wrote PC Gordon Semple to Stefano Brizzi on Grindr using his iPhone. It was the afternoon of 1 April earlier this year and he was still on duty, having just left a meeting in the City of London’s iconic Shard building. He made his way to Brizzi’s flat on the Peabody estate in Southwark Street, Bermondsey, southeast London. Semple – aged 59, openly gay for many years, in a long-term relationship and originally from Inverness in Scotland – had been a Metropolitan Police officer for 30 years, and now lived in Greenhithe. A frequent user of Grindr, Semple apparently enjoyed S&M sex, the extreme kind where a safe-word is required. Gordon Semple would never leave Brizzi’s flat alive.

Fifty year-old Stefano Brizzi, an Italian from a strongly Catholic family, has been in London since late 2011 and worked as a senior web developer for Morgan Stanley – earning £70,000 a year until he lost his job. Brizzi was addicted to crystal meth, the ferociously destructive ‘club’ drug that destroys your life, and also features heavily in the hit TV show Breaking Bad – another obsession of Brizzi’s. The son of an Italian civil servant and a child healthcare worker, Brizzi grew up in San Marcello de Pistoiese, a tiny medieval town with a population of around 7,000, about 28 miles north of Florence.

Neighbours of Brizzi in London complained about the terrible smell coming from his flat, and he was confronted by two brothers who lived on the floor above. Brizzi told them that he’d been cooking for a friend, and that was why there was a candle outside his front door. This did little to explain the ‘smell of death’ and the police were called – it was now 7 April, a week after Semple was last seen alive, and CCTV footage later accessed by the police would reveal Semple walking in the direction of his appointment with Brizzi on the day of his death. In the meantime, Semple had been reported missing and family and friends set up a Facebook page appealing for information. When Stefano Brizzi finally answered the door of his flat, he was wearing just aviator sunglasses and pink underpants.

“I’ve killed a police officer. I met him on Grindr and I killed him. Satan told me to.”

When the police officers entered Brizzi’s flat, they found his bath full of a thick liquid substance, which turned out to be acid, made thicker by the fact that some of Semple’s flesh was still in there too. There were also plastic buckets in the bathroom containing human flesh. When confronted, Brizzi said, “I’ve tried to dissolve the body… I’ve killed a police officer… I killed him last week. I met him on Grindr and I killed him. Satan told me to.” CCTV footage in a shop would later show Brizzi buying a saw, which he used to dismember Semple’s body, as well as cleaning products, all purchased after Semple’s murder.

Brizzi had also disposed of parts of Semple’s body in the River Thames at Rotherhithe, and they were found at the water’s edge when Brizzi was physically taken there by the police. A decomposed foot was found close to Bermondsey Wall. Many of Semple’s body parts had been stripped of human tissue, wrapped in kitchen paper and placed in M&S and Tesco carrier bags.

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