THE Heather Barnett murder trial has heard evidence via a live video link from a court room in Italy.

The jury was told that two witnesses, husband and wife Angela Campochiaro and Nicola Marino, had been caught up in a hair-cutting incident in a cinema around 17 years ago involving defendant Danilo Restivo.

Ms Campochiaro, who had long dark hair at the time, told the court she and her husband were at the cinema when she felt something on her hair.

“At first I thought he had his knee against my hair and that it was caught. I turned around two or three times,” she said.

Her husband – fiance at the time – also asked Restivo what he was doing but he did not reply, the jury was told.

She said Restivo had his jacket over his lap and one hand underneath the jacket.

He then got up and left but she later saw him seated behind three younger girls elsewhere in the cinema, the court heard.

It was not until the next day that Ms Campochiaro realised a 10cm lock of her hair had been snipped.

Mr Marino then told the court he saw Restivo perform a sexual act on himself while he was seated behind Ms Campochiaro.

Cross examining, David Jeremy QC, defending, said: “You assumed he was doing that but you didn’t see it.”

Mr Marino replied: “I didn’t conclude it. I saw it.”

The prosecution also recalled DS Robert Lee, who gave evidence last week over a surveillance operation on Restivo at Throop Mill and Pig Shoot Lane in May 2004.

DS Lee said nine officers had watched him in bushes and on footpaths in the two areas on May 11 and ten on the following day.

All movements were detailed in the surveillance log and there was no record of Restivo either bending down to pick up a knife from the ground or holding a knife in his hand, DS Lee said.

Later on May 12, uniformed officers were ordered to conduct a stop and search of Restivo under the cover story they were investigating thefts from cars in the area.

During a search of his white Metro they found a large fillet knife, scissors, bin bags, tissues and other items.

Last week, cross examining PC Ian Fryett, Mr Jeremy suggested to him that Restivo had found the knife and had offered to show him where.

PC Fryett said he did not recall him saying that.

The next two weeks of evidence in the trial of Restivo, 39, centre on the disappearance of schoolgirl Elisa Claps in 1993 in Potenza.

Italian national Restivo has always admitted meeting Elisa on the day she disappeared, but claims she was alive and well when he left her at the local church.

Elisa’s remains were found in the loft of the church only last year.

The prosecution and defence teams are being assisted by an interpreter to communicate with officials from the court in Potenza.

Restivo, of Chatsworth Road, Charminster, denies the murder of Ms Barnett on November 12, 2002.

The trial continues.