More time for Italian couple murder quiz

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The Independent Online

Detectives investigating the murder of an elderly Italian couple who were found dead in the bedroom of their home have been granted extra time to question two men.

Officers said yesterday that three men were arrested overnight on suspicion of the murders of Guiseppe Massaro, 80, and his 77-year-old wife Caterina.

At a press conference today, Superintendent Keith Wilson said magistrates in Birmingham had granted the force extra time to question two of the suspects.

He would not confirm which of the three men - two of those arrested are from Wolverhampton aged 32 and 21, while the third is a 30-year-old from Birmingham - the warrant referred to.

He also revealed that officers believed a knife and a hammer recovered at the scene in Woden Road, Wolverhampton, had been used in the "sustained and ferocious attack".

The couple were discovered dead by their granddaughter Lindsey Booth, 23, in the bedroom of their home on Friday evening.

Mr Wilson said results of a post-mortem examination are yet to be released but Mr Massaro had "defensive wounds" to parts of his body.

He told the press conference that officers were called to the house around 8pm and found the bodies of the couple, dressed in day clothes, in their bedroom.

There was also evidence of a burglary, he said.

He said: "On arrival, officers found that the house had been ransacked and, in relation to the actual premises, we could see that a lot of property had been moved around the house."

He also said the couple's car, a black Peugeot 307 registration PK56 VRW, was stolen. It was later recovered from nearby Wednesfield.

Two televisions were also taken in the incident, he said.

The couple's grandchildren, Miss Booth, Richard Booth, and Rosa Carella, were also at the press conference.

They said their "beautiful, caring and loving" grandparents moved to England in the 1960s to create a better life for their two daughters.

They had seven grandchildren and were due to become great-grandparents in the summer with the expected arrival of two twin girls, they said.

Miss Booth said: "Our family and friends, both here in England and Italy, can't even begin to describe the devastation and trauma that has hit us, knowing they were hurt by the hands of somebody else.

"We can't even begin to grasp the evil that took place in their house and how frightened they would have been.

"An entire generation has just been taken away from us and we can't comprehend how something could even go this far to lead to their deaths."

Her brother, Richard, 22, said Mrs Massaro was an "honest and genuine woman" who made the best lasagnes, pasta and pizzas.

He added: "My grandfather was an honourable and down to earth man.

"When he went to the local pub he would be the first one in there with his wallet out offering to buy people a round and even if they did not want them he would still buy them a drink.

"The home that has brought so much warmth and comfort to us has suddenly been destroyed.

"They had hearts of gold and they were harmless to anyone."

The family pleaded for anyone with any information to get in touch with officers and Mr Wilson said the force would particularly like to hear from anyone who might have been in the area around the time of the murders or who might have been offered the couple's car for sale.