Ex-mafia kingpin in failed suicide attempt

Former mafia chief Bernardo Provenzano tried to kill himself in a prison cell where he was found with a plastic bag over his head, ANSA news agency on Thursday quoted prison officials as saying.

A guard at the prison of the northern city of Parma found Provenzano, who is 79 and ill, on his cell bed on Wednesday night.

File photo - Sicilian Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano arrives at a police station in Palermo in 2006. Credit: REUTERS

His life was not threatened.

Provenzano and 50 other prisoners are being held at the prison's maximum-security wing.

The former mafia kingpin in Corleone - the Sicilian hilltop town made famous by “The Godfather” trilogy - is serving several life sentences and is said to be under constant observation.

His lawyers were wondering how he managed to get hold of a plastic bag under these circumstances.

Provenzano has undergone cancer treatment and is suffering from Parkinson's disease.

On Friday a Parma court is to hold a hearing in a trial in which Provenzano is questioned in a homicide case.

He was arrested in April 2006 after 43 years on the run. - Sapa-AFP