Tayside and Central Scotland

Convicted rapist dies in hospital

A 78-year-old man jailed in 2009 for a series of rape and sexual abuse offences has died in hospital.

Giovanni Cocozza was taken to hospital from his cell at Glenochil Prison in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, on Sunday afternoon after becoming unwell.

He was jailed for 10 years after admitting to raping a woman and a teenager and abusing five other girls between 1964 and 1976.

The offences took place in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire.

Cocozza suffered from chronic kidney disease and heart problems.

'Hurt and abuse'

A Scottish Prison Service spokeswoman said there were no suspicious circumstances, and he is understood to have died from natural causes.

She said police and next of kin had now been informed and a fatal accident inquiry will be held in due course.

The former ice cream van owner was only caught after one of his victims reported the abuse in 2007.

Sentencing him, Judge Michael O'Grady QC said Cocozza had inflicted "pain, hurt and abuse of the worst kind" on his victims.

"You have pled guilty to an appalling course of conduct sustained over more than a decade," said the judge.

"You have stolen their childhoods and have blighted their lives - it is difficult to imagine their ordeal. Sadly no sentence I can impose can change that.

"All I can do is impose a sentence that reflects societies revulsion of these type of crimes."

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