Tomorrow will see Lazio face Roma in the ‘Derby della Capitale’, a game filled with hate and passion but this match will have a sad twist.
Five years ago on November 11, Gabriele Sandri, a 26-year old Lazio fan was on his way to Milan to watch Inter vs Lazio but he never got there.
The young DJ from Rome was at a service station on the A1 motorway at Badia al Pino in Arezzo when there was an altercation between some Lazio and Juventus’ ultras.
Sandri was sat in a car, but not involved in the incident, yet he was shot in his neck by a policeman.
Initially it was reported that it had been a stray bullet from a police officer’s gun that was supposed to distract a group of ultras.
It was not long before the truth was released – Policeman Luigi Spaccarotella initially held a manslaughter inquiry against him, and at the hearing he was guilty of homicide and sentenced to six years in prison.
Having gone to appeal, in higher court his punishment was increased to nine years and four months as it was felt that there was an element of intentionality.
It is such a sad loss to society, the DJ was not an ultra he was never involved in violence, he just wanted to watch the team he loved.
There was a meeting between Lega Calcio president Antonio Matarrese and police chief Antonio Manganelli who decided that the Inter/Lazio match should be called off.
The day’s other fixtures would still go ahead, but starting ten minutes later.
But the Atalanta/Milan game ended up getting suspended after ultras showed their frustration and despair at a supporter being killed.
Rivals Roma were supposed to play Cagliari in the evening kick off but after lots of pockets of trouble around the country the Italian Football Federation decided to postpone the game.
The day after a note was posted on the window of Giorgio Sandri’s shop: “Yesterday a disgusting bastard killed my son. May you be cursed forever.”
The saddest moment at any game played between Lazio and Roma was during the 1979-80 season when Lazio fan Vincenzo Paparelli was killed.
He was hit in the eye by a flare that had been thrown by a Roma fan; he was only thirty-three years when he died on October 28th 1979.
He stood eating a sandwich when an emergency rocket fired by a Roma Ultra killed him.
His wife Wanda, tried to remove the burning flare from her husband’s eye, but only ended up burning herself. By the time the doctor arrived, Paparelli was dead.
A regular man, not an ultra, he lived in a local Roman neighborhood and had borrowed his brother’s season ticket for the game.
The person who ended the Lazio fan’s life was Giovanni Fiorillo; an eighteen year-old unemployed painter. Straight after the incident occurred, he disappeared and became a fugitive, where he was on the run for fourteen months, before turning himself in.
In 1987, eight years after Paparelli’s death, Fiorillo was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six years and ten months in prison. His two accomplices who had helped him escape both received sentences of four years and six months.
Whilst on the run, Fiorello regularly phoned Paparelli’s brother Angelo, begging for forgiveness and saying that he had not meant to kill anyone.