Page last updated at 11:53 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 12:53 UK

Man arrested over hair in hand Heather Barnett murder


The arrested man will be questionned at Poole station (footage from Dorset police)

A 38-year-old Italian man has been arrested over the murder of a Dorset woman found mutilated in her home with someone else's cut hair in her hand.

Heather Barnett, 48, was found dead in her home in Charminster, Bournemouth, in November 2002, by her children when they returned from school.

Danilo Restivo, who lives opposite Ms Barnett's home, was arrested shortly before 0700 BST.

His house has been sealed off and is being forensically examined by police.

Mr Restivo was taken to Poole police station were he is being questioned.

Missing teenager link

Nobody has ever been charged over Ms Barnett's murder, despite a number of high-profile appeals.

Dorset Police have on several occasions travelled to Italy to investigate possible links between the murder and the disappearance of 16-year-old Elisa Claps in 1993.

Heather Barnett
Heather Barnett was found with strands of cut hair placed in her hand

Ms Claps's mummified remains were found in a church roof in Potenza, where she lived, in March this year. It was at the church where she was last seen alive 17 years ago.

It is understood she had been stabbed in the chest more than once and then suffocated, BBC South Home Affairs Correspondent Damon Embling said.

Italian police continue to investigate what happened to her.

Mr Restivo has previously been questioned by Dorset Police over Ms Barnett's murder.

He has denied knowing anything about either case.

Hair cut

Dorset detectives have also been looking at a possible hair fetish link between the cases of Ms Claps and Ms Barnett.

Following a number of appeals, women have come forward saying they have had their hair cut in suspicious circumstances, including while travelling on buses, both in Bournemouth and Potenza.

Danilo Restivo
Mr Restivo has denied knowing anything about either case

Detectives have been trying to identify the owner of the hair in Ms Barnett's hands and they think it could be key to solving the murder.

Earlier this month, Ms Barnett's brother Ben travelled to the town of Potenza to meet the family of Ms Claps.

Ms Barnett's daughter Caitlin Marsh recently spoke to the BBC for the first time about the day she found her mother dead on the bathroom floor at their home in Capstone Road. She was 11 and her brother 14 years old.

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