Met Police officer accused of stealing cash from dead cyclist’s wallet

Claudio Gaetani smoking a cigar
Claudio Gaetani was a filmmaker and actor - Claudio Gaetani/Facebook

An officer has been accused of stealing money from a dead man’s wallet, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed.

The body of the 45-year-old cyclist was left for six hours on a north London street in view of children while officers waited for an undertaker, it has been claimed.

Claudio Gaetani, who had dwarfism, died on Sep 8 2022 after suffering a heart attack during the rush hour commute while cycling to meet friends.

The filmmaker and actor from Italy had arrived the previous day to attend a theatre festival at the Southbank Centre and had more than €200 (£170) in his wallet.

Officers attending the scene took Mr Gaetani’s passport and wallet but allowed his friends with whom he was staying to keep the bicycle and his backpack.

But when one of Mr Gaetani’s friends later collected his belongings from Edmonton police station, she claimed money was missing from his wallet. The Metropolitan Police subsequently launched an investigation.

Anti-corruption detectives this month passed their file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service after CCTV of an officer counting money was allegedly recovered.

‘It is really disrespectful’

“The money is not the issue. [Claudio] comes from quite a wealthy family. I’m still doing [this complaint] not because of the money but because people who are in uniform should have a kind of trust. I think it is really disrespectful. I was really, really upset,” Mr Gaetani’s friend told The Mirror.

Her husband, who went to university with Mr Gaetani, said his best friend was “the type of person when you meet you can fall in love with, absolutely cheerful and positive, even with his physical condition of dwarfism he was never saying no to any adventure. We spent a lot of time travelling”.

The allegation comes after the Metropolitan Police has suffered a series of reputationally damaging scandals, including officers sharing photos of murder victims.

The Met confirmed an individual had been placed on restricted duties since June last year, involving no contact with the public or evidence gathering.

Speaking to The Mirror, Mr Gaetani’s friends questioned why it had taken 17 months since the initial complaint for a file to be sent to the CPS. Documents allegedly show the police watchdog initially took three months to decide that the Met should handle the complaint.

A Met spokesperson said: “The Met received a complaint in Oct 2022 following the death of a 45-year-old man in north London in Sept 2022.

“This was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) the same month, and in Jan 2023, the IOPC directed it should be investigated locally by the Met.

“As a result of this, in June 2023 an officer was put on restricted duties, which they remain on.

“We are aware of the significant impact this will be continuing to have on the man’s family and have been in contact with them while the enquiries progress. A file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision in March. We await their decision.”

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