A five-year-old girl was used to run secret messages for Italy's most wanted mobster, a mafia turncoat has told Sicilian prosecutors.
Attilio Fogazza said his young daughter had been used by a mafia boss to run handwritten notes, known as "pizzini", to Matteo Messina Denaro, considered the "boss of bosses" of Sicily's Cosa Nostra.
Messina Denaro is Italy's most wanted mafia fugitive and has been on the run since 1993.
Fogazza, 44, ran a car dealership in south-western Sicily. He decided to collaborate with Palermo investigators after he was arrested on murder charges last December.
Fogazza said that Domenico 'Mimmo' Scimonelli, considered Messina Denaro's right-hand man before he was given a 17-year prison term in May, had approached his daughter.
"One day my daughter said 'Uncle Mimmo' had taken her for a gelato and put the messages inside her jacket and her backpack," Fogazza told prosecutors in Palermo according to Italian media reports.
Fogazza's family has lived in a secret location under police protection since he began collaborating with investigators. Fogazza and another suspect were accused of murdering Salvatore Lombardo in 2009 after he stole a van from Scimonelli.
In May, a judge in Palermo sentenced six men from Messina Denaro's inner circle, including Scimonelli, to a total of 80 years in prison for racketeering, conspiracy and aiding and abetting the Cosa Nostra.
Messina Denaro, 54, has not been seen in public for more than 20 years, but a new photo of the fugitive was issued in 2014 after an informant helped Italian authorities update his appearance.