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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Altar boy held for Italy murder
A Sri Lankan altar boy suspected of killing a 23-year-old woman at his church in northern Italy has handed himself in to police.

The victim, Elena Lonati, disappeared after going to the church on Friday.

Police later found her body, bound in plastic, behind a disused pulpit.

Italian media report that the altar boy, Wimal Chamila Ponnamperumage, 24, was persuaded by the Sri Lankan community leaders in Brescia to turn himself in.

Reports say Mr Ponnamperumage tried to commit suicide, after confessing to relatives that he had killed the woman by accident.

He reportedly told them that Ms Lonati, who was a student, had hit her head during a row sparked by her refusal to leave the church so he could lock up.

On Saturday, police carried out a limited search while services were in progress in the Santa Maria church, but it was not until that evening that the body was found.

Police say the woman was still alive when she was wrapped in the plastic bags.

A post-mortem examination is being carried out to determine if she was strangled.

Country profile: Italy
27 Jun 06 |  Country profiles

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