Dorset

Police 'watched' murder accused Danilo Restivo

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering a mother of two has heard he was the subject of a police surveillance operation.

Danilo Restivo denies murdering 48-year-old Heather Barnett in Bournemouth, Dorset, in 2002.

Winchester Crown Court heard Mr Restivo was searched by police in a secluded area in 2004 and a knife was found.

Ms Barnett's body was found with a clump of someone else's hair in her hand by her children.

'Quite agitated'

The jury was told Mr Restivo had been covertly watched by police at points during April and May in 2004.

On 12 May, a police officer approached Mr Restivo, who was with his white car, in a car park in Throop Hill.

Image caption Ms Barnett's body was found with a clump of someone else's hair in her hand

He was sweating profusely, the court heard, although it was not particularly warm.

Pc Ian Fryatt told Mr Restivo there had been some thefts from vehicles and he was there to check his activities in the car park.

The court heard Mr Restivo was "quite agitated" but officers believed he understood what was going on.

They found a number of jackets, a roll of bin bags and a bum bag containing personal items inside the boot of his car, the court heard.

When asked if there was anything dangerous or sharp in the car, Mr Restivo told them there was a knife in a bag in the back.

'Hair fetish'

The jury was told a black holdall was found behind the driver's seat, which contained a large filleting knife and a packet of tissues.

In the jackets there was a pair of gloves and a balaclava, and scissors were also found in a car door pocket, the court heard.

Pc Fryatt asked Mr Restivo why he was there and he patted his stomach replying, "for walking".

Image caption The knife was found in a black holdall with a packet of tissues

The court heard the officer took that to mean for exercise.

Mr Restivo, who lived opposite Ms Barnett, is alleged to have entered her flat and bludgeoned her with a hammer before cutting her throat.

The prosecution says Mr Restivo has a hair fetish and left a clump of someone else's hair in Ms Barnett's right hand and some of her hair under her left hand.

Prosecutors say the manner in which Ms Barnett was murdered can be considered Mr Restivo's "hallmark", and have linked the killing to the murder of a teenager, 16-year-old Elisa Claps, in Potenza, Italy, in 1993.

The case continues

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