Friday 22 September 2017

Post-mortem due today to determine identity of 'young Asian woman' who washed up in suitcase in Italy

Missing mother Li Yinglei with her husband David Belling Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Missing mother Li Yinglei with her husband David Belling Photo: Kyran O’Brien
The suitcase found in Rimini which contained the remains of an oriental woman Photo: Rimini Today screen grab
Italian police cover the suitcase containing the body. Photo: Screen grab from Rimini Today
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A post-mortem is due to take place today to see if the "young Asian woman" who washed up in a suitcase in Italy could be that of missing Dublin-based woman Li Yinglei.

Ms Li (36) disappeared from a luxury cruise in the Mediterranean and was last seen on February 11. She was with her husband Daniel Belling (45) and their children when she vanished.

Italian police are investigating if the remains found in the port of Rimini are those of Dublin-based woman Li Yinglei.

A passer-by raised the alarm on Saturday after they noticed a blue, locked suitcase in the water off the north-east coast of Italy on the Adriatic Sea.

According to local reports, the young "Asian woman" that was found is believed to be aged 35 to 40-years-old and has been dead for more than 10 days.

She is described as being 1.7 metres tall, which some investigators say is too tall to be missing Li Yinglei, who is described as being 1.5 metres..

Local reports say that the woman who was found in the suitcase does not show signs of violence and that the possible cause of death was strangulation.

Earlier reports suggested the woman was dismembered but Remini Today news says this is untrue.

Police say a post-mortem that is due to take place today will give answers to the mystery.

Ms Li and her husband Mr Belling, who live in Clare Hall, Dublin, had set off on the 11-day cruise with their two children aboard the MSC Magnifica. The ship set sail from the Italian port of Civitavecchia on February 9 and continued on to Genoa, Malta, Greece and Cyprus.

Ms Li's husband was arrested by police in Italy after he tried to catch a Ryanair flight to Ireland with his two young children.

Earlier, the cruise company found that Ms Li was unaccounted for when it did a head count at the end of the cruise and contacted the authorities.

Row

Mr Belling, who was born in Germany, denied killing her but said she had quit the trip after they had a row. He said he expected her to travel to either Ireland or her native China.

Today, Mr Belling's solicitor said he believed the body found in the suitcase was not that of the missing mother of two.

Luigi Conti said he has heard the body that has been recovered does not match the description of Ms Li.

"The body in the suitcase is 170cm in height, but Daniel Belling's wife is smaller than that," he said. "I am also told it is a different type of body than that of Mr Belling's wife."

It was not clear whether this meant the body found was of a different nationality or of a different description to the missing Chinese woman.

Mr Conti said he would be visiting Mr Belling in prison today. Last week, an Italian judge ruled that Mr Belling must remain in custody in Rome's Regina Coeli prison after attempts were made for him to be freed on bail.

Sources close to the investigation say the corpse found in the suitcase would initially appear to be a taller person than Ms Li, and was at a level of decomposition that would appear to be more recent than the time she went missing.

"DNA samples of Ms Li's children or mother may have to be taken and compared with the DNA from the body to see if they match," the source said.

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