Dorset

'Hair-in-hand' murder trial: Killings bore 'similarities'

Elisa Claps
Image caption Elisa Claps' brother believed she had gone to mass when she went missing in 1993

The murder of a woman in Bournemouth bore striking similarities to the killing of a teenage girl in Italy nine years earlier, a trial has heard.

The mutilated body of Heather Barnett, 48, was found by her two children at their Bournemouth flat in 2002.

Elisa Claps, 16, disappeared in Potenza in 1993. Her body was found last year.

Danilo Restivo, 39, of Bournemouth, who the court heard had an appointment to meet with Miss Claps on the day she vanished, denies murdering Ms Barnett.

Bra cut

Mr Restivo, of Chatsworth Road, who lived opposite Ms Barnett at the time of her death in November 2002, is accused by prosecutors of entering her ground-floor flat in Capstone Road and bludgeoning her with a hammer before cutting her throat.

Image caption Danilo Restivo denies murdering Heather Barnett

Her body was found by her children, Terry, then 14, and Caitlin, then 11, in the family bathroom.

Professor Francesco Introna, the Italian pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on Miss Claps's body after it was found in the loft of a church in Potenza, has given evidence at Mr Restivo's trial at Winchester Crown Court.

He told jurors that Miss Claps's body trousers and underwear had been partially pulled down, her clothes were torn and her bra had been cut.

He told the court that marks found on Miss Claps's bones showed she had been stabbed several times and had probably put up a struggle.

He used a ruler in court to demonstrate how the wounds had been made - mostly by a knife - although he said some could have been made by scissors.

Prof Introna said that some of Miss Claps's hair had been cut from her head after her death.

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

The court has already heard that Ms Barnett's hair had also been cut after her killing and placed under her left hand. Another person's cut hair was found placed in her right hand.

Previously, the trial has heard Mr Restivo appeared "agitated" and had a cut to his hand on the day of Miss Claps's disappearance.

Giovanni Motta, the former fiance of Mr Restivo's sister, Anna, told jurors the Mr Restivo had claimed he had injured his hand falling over on an escalator.

Mr Restivo maintains that when he left Miss Claps at the Holy Trinity Church in Potenza she was alive and well.

The jury has also previously been told Mr Restivo cut the hair of teenage girls on buses in the Bournemouth area around the time of Ms Barnett's death.

The trial continues.

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