A SMALL strand of cut hair was found in each of Elisa Claps’ hands, the Heather Barnett murder trial heard yesterday.

The two pieces of hair were 2cm long and were found during the postmortem examination of the 16-year-old schoolgirl’s body which was discovered in March last year.

Winchester Crown Court yesterday continued to hear evidence which centres on the disappearance and murder of Elisa Claps on September 12, 1993, in Potenza in Italy.

The prosecution claim the deaths of mum-of-two Heather Barnett on November 12, 2002, and Elisa are so “strikingly similar” that the same man was responsible.

Danilo Restivo, 39, of Chatsworth Road, Charminster, denies killing Heather Barnett.

The jury heard yesterday from Professor Cristina Cattaneo who examined Elisa’s mummified remains which were found in the loft of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity.

Prof Cattaneo said she found two single strands of hair in the 16-year-old’s right and left hands, just 2cm long.

In the left hand it was in the area of the wrist. In the right hand the strand was at the tip of the first finger, the court was told.

Prof Cattaneo also told the court that locks of hair found near Elisa’s body had likely been cut with scissors.

Prof Cattaneo said there was a 6cm “slash wound” between the thumb and index finger on Elisa’s right hand.

A second lesion found at the base of the third finger on the right hand could have been caused during the forensic work.

A third lesion was also found on her left hand near the thumb.

Prof Cattaneo said the wounds were typical defence wounds.

“They would have been caused by sharp force injury and are found on parts of the body the victim uses to defend him or herself.“ The jury were shown pictures of lesions found on Elisa’s throat which Prof Cattaneo said were consistent with stab wounds.

The court also heard from Dr Eva Sacchi who examined Elisa’s trousers, bra, pants, T-shirt, pullover and shoes.

She said two overlapping cuts were found at the back of Elisa’s bra and were likely to have been made with a single-edged blade.

A second cut was found at the top of the cup.

Dr Sacchi said Elisa’s trousers were undone and unbuttoned. The two flaps at the front of the trousers were left unturned.

Using photographs, Dr Sacchi showed the jury where two long cuts were found down the side and front of the trousers.

Elisa’s pants had also been cut with scissors and her pullover had been raised to the shoulder blade area, she added.

Dr Sacchi held up a top similar to the one worn by Elisa and showed the jury the stab marks on the back and the cut on the front.

The front of Elisa’s bra had been cut between the cups with scissors, she added.

Dr Sacchi said two stones were found in the sole of Elisa’s shoe and these were similar to stones in the loft.

Dr Sacchi said: “I believe that Elisa Claps arrived there alive and stood in the loft for a little while.

“I strongly believe the stones went into the sole of the shoe during the last moments of Elisa Claps’ life.”

There will be no evidence heard today.

The trial continues.