A renowned Mafia hitman has been named the 'pharaoh of Cosa Nostra' after he was found buried with his most valuable possessions, in the manner of Egyptian burial customs.

Police discovered Agostino Badalamenti lying in his tomb alongside a penknife, pack of cigarettes, a revolver and a knife. They dug up the grave after an informer told them that the mobster was buried with items that carried great personal significance following his death in 2005.

Badalamenti avoided getting a life sentence after he was arrested for the murder of Michele Lipari in 1979 by pretending he was mad in court and repeatedly shouting "I want my mummy, I want my mummy". Instead of going to prison, he served an 18-year sentence at a mental institution.

After his release, Badalamenti was welcomed back into the mob by notorious Mafia capo Bernardo Provenzano, who is believed to have been the head of the entire Sicilian Mafia until his arrest in 2006. In 2003, Badalamenti was arrested again for being a member of the Mafia and died two years later, at the age of 66.

Salvatore Bonomolo, a fugitive mafioso who fled to Venezuela, offered to give evidence about Badalamenti's career in court and revealed that he had helped bury the hitman at Santa Maria di Gesù cemetery in the Sicilian capital of Palermo. He said that he had filled his tomb with his most valuable items, including the weapons he had used to kill his victims.

Police said they dug up the grave to retrieve the revolver, which they hope will shed light on their investigation into unsolved murders in Sicily.