I was a Mafia princess in Blackpool and got locked up with Rose West

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A British woman who was born into a mafia clan said that when she landed herself in jail she was seen as more of a risk than fellow prisoners Myra Hindley and Rose West.

Marisa Merico is the daughter of one of Italy's most notorious godfathers of crime, Emilio DiGiovine, and found herself caught up with the Ndrangheta syndicate in Italy.

That is where Merico ran into a woman nicknamed 'Granny Heroin', who ran the crime syndicate, as ruthlessly as The Godfather.

Marisa's grandmother, Maria Serraino had been jailed for murder in 1997 and was at the head of a 200-strong criminal enterprise in Milan.

Their trafficking operations stretched all the way across to Britain, where a young, Blackpool-raised Merico was caught up in gun running and cash for cannabis deals from the age of 18.

She was also tasked with hiding money around her body in a bid to prove to her father Emilio Giovine that she was every bit as tough as anyone else.

Rival hitmen were dispatched to kill Emilio at her wedding when Marisa was pregnant with her first child, and by the age of 22 was helping run the organisation after Emilio's arrest.

She fled to England a year later after wanting to be out of the family business, before being arrested for money laundering in 1994 at age 24.

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While in Durham Prison, she found herself alongside the likes of serial killers Rose West and Myra Hindley, but Marisa found herself categorised as even more dangerous than the notorious murderers, The Sun reported.

Marisa said: "I was the double cat A prisoner held like a terrorist. The two IRA girls who bombed Brighton were in at the same time. Myra was single category A, I think because of her self harm; Rose was also A. I was in a higher category than her.

"Even some of the officers used to say, 'Why was that?'".

She recalled seeing the two of them together, saying: "I thought it was really strange that with Rose saying 'I'm innocent' all the time that she was hanging out with Myra.

"She was going to court at the same time as me. My security van got egged because they thought I was her."

Marisa says she was trapped in the mob lifestyle, adding that: "I had to step in and almost take over. I was trapped in that life because of my loyalty to my father. I look back and think 'how did I let that happen?'.

"I was born into it, I was pulled away by my mother but I was pulled back by my dad. I had daddy issues, he always wanted a boy and I thought I am going to show you that a girl can do this."

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  • Mafia
  • Myra Hindley
  • Rose West
  • Crime

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