Man held over woman's 2002 murder

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The Independent Online

A man was arrested today on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of a woman whose mutilated body was found at her home eight years ago.

Heather Barnett, 48, was discovered dead at her house in Charminster, Bournemouth, in November 2002, with hair in her hand from an unknown source.

A 38-year-old man, from Bournemouth, was arrested on suspicion of murder at 6.40am today, Dorset police said.

The house where he was arrested in Chatsworth Road, Charminster, will be forensically examined later today.

The mother of two was found in the bathroom of her home by her two children. Cut hair that did not belong to her was found in her hand.

The force had been looking at a potential link between her death and the discovery of the body of 16-year-old Eliza Claps in Potenza, southern Italy in March this year.

Ms Claps disappeared in 1993, and her mummified remains were found in the roof of the Most Holy Trinity Church in Potenza, where she has been living.

A Dorset police spokeswoman said today: "At approximately 6.40am this morning a 38-year-old man from Bournemouth was arrested by officers investigating the murder of Heather Barnett.

"Heather Barnett was murdered at her home in Charminster, Bournemouth, on November 12 2002.

"A man was arrested on suspicion of murder at an address in Chatsworth Road, Charminster. The property will be forensically examinined by specialist officers later today."

Women in the Bournemouth area had reported having their hair cut in strange circumstances, some when travelling on buses.

In the Potenza area, there were similar reports around the time that Miss Claps went missing.

Danilo Restivo, who now lives in Charminster, in Bournemouth, has previously been questioned by Dorset detectives in connection with the murder of Mrs Barnett, a seamstress.

He has consistently denied knowing anything about the disppearance of either woman.

The force refused to confirm today that Mr Restivo is the man they are holding.