Italian hair fetishist jailed for life for British murder

30th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

A British judge on Thursday ordered an Italian man with a hair fetish to spend the rest of his life behind bars for the "depraved, calculated" murder of a British woman.

Danilo Restivo also faces extradition to Italy to stand trial for the killing of a girl whose body was found in a church attic, in a case which has similarities to the British murder.

The 39-year-old was found guilty on Wednesday of bludgeoning his neighbour Heather Barnett to death with a hammer in the southern English coastal resort of Bournemouth in 2002.

He then cut off the 48-year-old's breasts and put a clump of an unidentified person's hair in her right hand and some of her own under her left hand.

Passing sentence at Winchester Crown Court in southern England, judge Ian Burnett told Restivo: "Why you picked Heather Barnett as your victim I do not know but it's clear that you did so to satisfy a sadistic, sexual appetite.

"The evidence in this case shows you are a cold, depraved, calculated killer."

The judge added: "There is, in my judgment, no minimum period which could be properly set -- you will never be released from prison."

Members of the jury wept as statements were read out on behalf of the victim's daughter and sister. Restivo showed no emotion as sentence was passed and the family statements were read out.

Prosecutors have said that the method of her murder was similar to that of a friend of Restivo, Elisa Claps, 16, whose body was only discovered in 2010 -- 17 years after she disappeared in their home town of Potenza in southern Italy.

During the British trial, lawyer Michael Bowes said there was "compelling evidence" that Claps was murdered by Restivo, who came to Britain in 2002 to move in with his wife whom he had met in a chatroom.

Italian investigators have said that someone also cut off Claps' hair.

An Italian investigating judge said on Wednesday that Restivo's trial for the Claps murder would begin in November. Restivo is subject to a European arrest warrant issued by Italy and is expected to be extradited.

The British trial heard that next to Claps' body there were locks of her own hair, while her trousers and underwear were lowered to the same level as those of Barnett, and her bra was cut in the same way.

© 2011 AFP

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