Turin mayor convicted over deadly stampede at soccer screening

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FILE PHOTO: Spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Turin

ROME (Reuters) - Turin mayor Chiara Appendino was found guilty on Wednesday of involuntary manslaughter in connection with a stampede during a screening of the 2017 Champions League soccer final that killed two people and injured hundreds.

Three other officials and an events organiser were also convicted in the case, all receiving suspended 18-month prison terms.

An estimated 30,000 people had been in San Carlo square watching the game between Real Madrid and Juventus on a giant screen when panic rippled through the crowd and there was a mass surge for the exits.

Investigators said the mayhem had been triggered by a group of thieves who used pepper spray to disorientate their victims. Four Moroccans were sentenced to just over 10 years in jail in 2019 for their role in sparking the chaos.

Appendino and her co-defendants were accused of managing the event badly. They had denied the charges and the mayor said she would appeal Wednesday's ruling.

"Today I have to answer, as mayor, for events triggered by the mad actions of a gang of robbers," she said on Facebook.

Appendino was a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement when she was elected mayor in 2016. She was suspended from the group last year after being found guilty of a bureaucratic misdemeanour and has said she will not seek re-election.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Angus MacSwan)