'Hair-In-Hand' Murder Trial Gets Under Way

by
staphni
The trial of a man accused of murdering a 48-year-old woman in 2002 has opened at Winchester Crown Court.

Heather Barnett's body was found in her flat in November 2002

The trial of a man accused of murdering a 48-year-old woman in 2002 has opened at Winchester Crown Court. Heather Barnett was found dead by her two children, Terry, then 14 and Caitlin, then 11, in the bathroom of their ground floor flat in Bournemouth, Dorset.

There was no sign of forced entry to the flat - the prosecution says this suggests she knew her killer.

Mrs Barnett had been hit over the head with a blunt object, possibly a hammer, and her throat had been cut from ear to ear.

Her body was left badly mutilated. Her breasts had been cut off and placed either side of her head and curiously some hair cut from her own head was found below her left hand and a clump of hair belonging to another person in her right hand.An Italian man, 39-year-old Danilo Restivo, lived directly opposite and knew Mrs Barnett. He is accused of her murder.

The court was told how Restivo had a fetish for cutting women's hair and a number of allegations had been made against him in Bournemouth and Italy.

This characteristic led Dorset Police to make a link with the murder of an Italian girl Elisa Claps in 1993.

Her body was only discovered last year in a loft at the top of a church in the town of Potenza where she was last seen.

Italian forensic police at the Saint Trinity church in Potenza, Italy 2010

Michael Bowes QC, representing the prosecution, told the court the post-mortem revealed similarities between the two murders and that a lock of Miss Claps' hair was also found next to her body.

Police in Italy are investigating the murder of Miss Claps. The jury of five women and seven men at Winchester Crown Court was told they were not being asked to return a verdict in relation to that allegation.

Restivo has consistently denied murdering Mrs Barnett.

The trial continues.

Sky News