London

Sebastiano Magnanini canal death 'not linked to organised crime'

Sebastiano Magnanini Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Sebastiano Magnanini was discovered submerged near Islington Tunnel on the Regent's Canal

Detectives investigating the death of a man whose body was found in a north London canal are not linking his death to organised crime.

Sebastiano Magnanini was discovered near a tunnel on the Regent's Canal at about 09:00 BST on 24 September.

His tattooed body had been tied to a shopping trolley.

The 46-year-old carpenter was jailed for 18 months in 1998 over the theft of a valuable painting from a church in Venice, according to reports.

Police said they were "not looking at organised crime as a motive".

Image caption The Met Police's Homicide and Major Crime Command is treating the death as suspicious

Det Ch Insp Rebecca Reeves said Mr Magnanini's life in Italy before he came to London "will inevitably form part of the investigation" but added: "At this early stage we are not looking at organised crime as a motive.

"We believe that he was deliberately put into the shopping trolley in order to conceal him in the canal."

Officers are trying to trace the victim's movements as they believe he was living and working in south London and was last seen alive two days before his body was found.

Mr Magnanini is thought to have travelled into central London after work before making his way towards King's Cross and the Caledonian Road.

Officers appealed for anyone who may have seen him to get in touch.

The newspaper La Repubblicca said he was jailed for 18 months in 1998 over the 1993 theft of a painting, The Education of the Virgin, by 18th-century Venetian artist Giovanni Tiepolo from a church in the Italian city.

Image caption Officers were called to reports of a body submerged in the Regent's Canal, in Islington

The painting was reportedly worth 2bn lire at the time.

A post-mortem examination carried out on the victim did not find the cause of his death and further toxicology tests are being conducted.

Mr Magnanini's relatives in Venice have been informed of his death, police said.

Ms Reeves said: "This has been devastating for Sebastiano's family. He was a much-loved son and saw his family regularly as he travelled between Italy and London for work."

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