FRANCSECO SCHETTINO, captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship which sank three years ago, has been jailed for 16 years for multiple manslaughter.
Judges ruled that Schettino was responsible for the deaths of 32 people after the cruise liner crashed into rocks off Giglio island in Italy in January 2012.
The 54-year-old captain is expected to appeal the sentence, meaning it could be years before he goes to jail, although prosecutors have requested that he is sent to prison immediately.
The verdict was given at a theatre in Grosette which was adapted to serve as a courtroom to allow space for survivors and relatives of the victims, and included 10 years in jail for multiple manslaughter, five years for causing a shipwreck and another one year for abandoning people on board the ship.
Although prosecutors had requested a 26 year sentence for the captain, who they claimed lured passengers into a false sense of security by not immediately evacuating the ship, the defence maintained that he had saved lives by delaying the evacuation.
Schettino declared in court that the blame lay with his employer Costa Cruises and tearfully told the judges that he had lost a part of his life on the day of the tragic accident.