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Hair-fetish Italian convicted in teen slaying

/ Source: The Associated Press

An Italian court on Friday convicted a man with a fetish for cutting off women's hair for the 1993 slaying of a teenager, months after he received a life sentence in Britain for a similarly gruesome murder.

The court in Salerno near Naples sentenced Danilo Restivo, who was tried in absentia, to 30 years in prison for the death of 16-year-old Elisa Claps, whose decomposed body was found last year on the roof of a church where she was last seen 18 years ago.

In June, the 39-year-old Restivo was sentenced in England to life without parole for killing and mutilating his neighbor Heather Barnett in the city of Bournemouth in 2002.

The ritualistic murder — in which Barnett's breasts were cut off and strands of hair placed in her hands — echoed the Claps murder. Restivo, who is jailed in the U.K., maintained his innocence.

Elisa Clap's mother, Filomena, issued an appeal after the verdict to Restivo to "tell the truth" about her daughter's death.

Restivo's lawyer, Marnio Marinelli, told reporters that they did not expect a guilty verdict, and refused further comment, the news agency ANSA reported.

The court will issue its reasoning within 90 days, at which time the defense can appeal.

Claps vanished from her hometown of Potenza, a regional capital about 225 miles (360 kilometers) south of Rome on Sept. 12, 1993 at the age of 16.

She was last seen in the Most Holy Trinity church in downtown Potenza with Restivo, an acquaintance who later acknowledged that he had spent about 10 minutes in the church with her before leaving.

Her decomposed remains were discovered in a corner of a hard-to-reach rooftop garret on the Most Holy Trinity church in March 2010 by maintenance workers who had climbed to the roof to fix a leak.

Restivo was convicted in Britain in June of murdering Heather Barnett, 48, in 2002, and leaving her body for her two children, then 11 and 14, to find in the bathroom.

According to testimony, Restivo bludgeoned Barnett with a hammer before cutting her throat. He then cut off her breasts and left a clump of someone else's hair in her right hand and some of her own underneath her left hand in a ritualistic murder.