Remains in church wall 'clue' to second murder
THE discovery of the mummified remains of a missing teenager found bricked up in the eaves of a 15th century Italian church on Wednesday is being watched closely by British detectives investigating the brutal murder of a mother of two from Bournemouth, in England.
Police had already made a link between the killing of Heather Barnett (48) and the disappearance of Elisa Claps, who had not been seen since saying she was going to meet a local man in the church of Santissima Trinita in Potenza, southern Italy, 17 years ago.
Detectives from Dorset took an interest in the case of the missing teenager after the killing of Mrs Barnett, a seamstress, whose mutilated body was found at her home in Charminster, Bournemouth, in November 2002. They discovered that the man Elisa had arranged to meet in the church had moved to England and was living opposite Mrs Barnett.
Danilo Restivo, now 37, was arrested on suspicion of her murder, but released without charge. He has denied involvement in Mrs Barnett's death or Elisa's disappearance. He was the last person known to have seen Elisa alive.
That afternoon he was treated for a cut to his left hand. He was later convicted of giving false evidence over his injury. He left Italy for Bournemouth after his release. (© The Times, London)