Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Britain's Bizarre 'Hair-in-Hand' Murder Case

Arrest and Additional Suspicions

Danilo Restivo
Danilo Restivo

On Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in an early morning police raid on his home where he lived with his wife and two stepsons, Danilo Restivo, now 38, was arrested and charged with the murder of Heather Barnett. His house was sealed so that Dorset Police could examine it for possible forensic evidence. As he had in the past, Restivo denied any involvement in Heather Barnett's murder, and police remained tight-lipped regarding the particular evidence that led to his arrest, saying that it would all come out at trial. However, it was generally believed that the arrest was made because police had come to believe a significant link exists between Heather Barnett's death and the discovery of Elisa Claps' body in Italy.

"At 6:40 a.m. today, we arrested a 38-year-old man from Bournemouth in connection with Heather's murder," Detective Superintendent Mark Cooper said at a press conference following the arrest. "He is currently at Poole police station where he is being questioned by detectives on suspicion of murder."

Cristina Golinucci
Cristina Golinucci

Meanwhile, Dorset Police reportedly searched Restivo's computer and found on its hard drive a picture of Erika Ansermin, 27, who had disappeared from Courmayeur, Italy on Easter Sunday 2003. Restivo reportedly was also being investigated for the September 1992 disappearance of Cristina Golinucci, a 21-year-old accounting clerk. According to the Milan daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera, Golinucci's case is strikingly similar to that of Elisa Claps in that Golinucci was last seen in front of a convent in Cesena at a time when Restivo may have been in Italy. However, at the present time there is little evidence to connect him to Golinucci's disappearance.

Restivo's defense attorney, Mario Marinelli, insisted that the claims being made against his client were "pure fantasy" and that "everybody is rushing to label my client as a serial killer — but he has absolutely nothing to do with all this. He is quite calm."

Of course Danilo Restivo will have his day in court, and it remains to be proved that he is guilty of the crime for which he has been charged or any of the crimes for which investigations are continuing.


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