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Family Slaughter in Verona Avian Flu Scare
Former poultry firm driver kills wife, daughter and self
Benny Pistone (bpistone)     Print Article 
Published 2006-02-18 15:59 (KST)   
The flat in Grezzana, a small industrial center near Verona, Italy, was suspiciously silent on the morning of Feb. 13. Not hearing the usual morning fuss and with no answer to her calls, a woman living on a lower level of the same building became concerned.

©2006 bpistone
Her worst fears were confirmed when the police opened the front door — Claudio Rubello, 48, a meat company driver, had killed his wife, 44, his daughter, 10, and badly injured his sons, 14 and 16, and then took his own life.
He was found lying in a pool of blood on the floor of his living room with his throat cut, while his wife's and daughter's bodies were found in their bedroom. The two sons had been badly injured by hammer blows and were found in bed; they have been operated on for serious brain, cranial, and facial damage.

He left a note saying, "Because of my stupid negligence I ruined my family," which could be a first clue in explaining his desperate act.

The killer-suicide was a self-employed truck driver who delivered poultry but who lost his job a week ago because of a cutback in production after the bird flu scare.
The H5N1 virus appeared in southern Italy for the first time last week, when 21 dead swans were found in lagoons, but authorities hastened to reassure the citizenry about the danger of infection. The main bird migrations from Russia that may carry the notorious virus to warmer poultry-farming areas hasn't occurred yet.

The H5N1 scare has already caused a 35% decrease in sales in the Italian poultry market, amounting to a financial loss of 궗 600 million; also, 200,000 jobs are at risk.
The damage to the national poultry industry as a whole is over 궗 1 billion, in an industry that has a turnover of 궗 4 billion: 궗 3 billion for meats and 궗 1 billion for eggs.
The Confagricoltura (the producers' organization) stated, "Italian chickens are safe" and claims that the virus is related to wild birds and has not been found in Italian farm production. Nevertheless, the alarm is spreading and consumption is decreasing.
There is, unfortunately, peripheral damage already from the virus, if it is confirmed that the Veronese driver was desperate because the crash in poultry consumption had lost him his job.
He was facing a dead end — a problem with no solution that ended tragically after a day that had been calm — his two surviving sons, Antony and Thomas, had played in and won a basketball match, while their father and the rest of the family cheered from the sidelines — but in the night, tragedy struck.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Benny Pistone

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