THERE is nothing that Caitlin Marsh doesn’t know about how her mother died. And that is exactly the way she wanted it.

As much as it was an ordeal for her, she sat in the public gallery of court number two every day of Danilo Restivo’s seven-week trial for the murder of Heather Barnett.

So there is now nothing new that can come back to hurt her from that terrible day – Tuesday, November 12, 2002. But she is realistic enough to accept that the hurt itself will never go away.

Caitlin is talking to me just a few days before the end of the case, one that some people feared would never come to court. Including her at times.

“I have not missed it once,” said the 19-year-old, who will be 20 next week.

“There was never any possibility that I wouldn’t go. Terry and I have waited for eight-and-a-half years for this moment. To put a name to the crime and find out why this happened to my mum and my family.”

There can be few people who do not know by now what Danilo Restivo did to Heather Barnett on that Tuesday.

The details do not need repeating here.

Everyone also knows how Heather’s body was found lying on the bathroom floor by Caitlin, then aged just 11 and her brother Terry, 14, when they came from school at four o’clock.

The only part that Caitlin did not sit through was the evidence of the pathologist who examined Heather.

“I knew what had happened but I really didn’t need to hear that bit,” she explained.

“I have had nearly nine years to get used to it, so the story is no longer shocking from that point of view. I have had to relive it for various people over the years.

“What I found difficult was listening to Terry’s police video interview on the second day. I found that really hard.

“We have not really ever talked about what happened – he finds it difficult. We were both there, we both had our own experiences and there’s no need to go over it all.

“He’s doing OK. He doesn’t want to know too much about it, whereas I want to know everything.

“He is coping really well, he knows everything he needs to know and I respect him for that. I always said I would go to court for both of us.”

The longer the investigation went on through the past few years, the more Caitlin worried.

“Yes, there were certainly times I thought there would never be any justice. Even when we got to the first anniversary I thought that. Imagine what it was like as more and more years passed.”

Caitlin’s emotions swing from sadness, to anger to bewilderment.

Anger at what Restivo has done. Sadness for her mum. And bewilderment. Why Heather?

“He had only been in England a short time. I was very confused about what made him choose my mum for this violent crime.

“What made him choose the lady across the road?

“Was it just that she was vulnerable because she was not married and there was no-one at home who could look over her and protect her? I guess he could work out when she was by herself.

“There was a point in the trial when I thought that what he had done was just very cruel.

"I thought: ‘You have killed a mother, a single mother and then you have not just stabbed her but you have thought about it. Then you have left her body in the bathroom for her children to find.

“You have dragged her into the bathroom and shut the door and it was a process of elimination that this would be the last room we would get to. This was very cruel to calculate her children would find her.’ “Why did he close the door – I just don’t get that? Perhaps it was something to do with closing the door on his crime.

“I am glad I couldn’t see him in court because he was underneath the public gallery. I have been told he isn’t showing any emotion or seem bothered at all by what he has done. I think I would find it hard to look at him being like that.”

Over the years, she says she and Terry never really knew who had killed their mother.

It was not until 2008 that they became aware Restivo was the main suspect.

But only on day one of the court case did that hit home.

“You never believe it’s going to be someone you know, a neighbour who you think you can trust.

“He lived directly opposite. I knew him and I had spoken to him.

“He couldn’t speak English very well and so you couldn’t really have a conversation but we knew him.

“Originally I thought it was a random attack because I didn’t really understand the full extent of what had happened to mum.

“I thought someone had broken into the house and just stabbed her.

“Even when he was he was charged last year there was some sense of relief but it was still hard to accept it was someone we knew.”

Caitlin was nervous about seeing Restivo in the witness box.

But she dealt with it as she has dealt with everything else that has been thrown at her.

Linked by tragedy

Caitlin met Elisa Claps’s mother Filomena in the public gallery on the first day of the trial. They hugged. It was something Mrs Claps had wanted to do for a long time, since learning of Heather in 2004.

When we interviewed Mrs Claps in Italy that year she told us of her wish.

Filomena had lost her daughter. Caitlin had lost her mother.

“I feel for them that they deserve justice too and hopefully they will soon get it,” says Caitlin.

“She came up to me and told me I reminded her of Elisa. That took me aback. Obviously I never met Elisa. I was two when she died. I am 19 now and she was 16 when she disappeared so there’s not that much difference in age between the two of us. We have that link in a sense. Mrs Claps obviously never saw her daughter grow up.

“She was quite emotional but she said she was so glad to meet me. It was a bit of shock to hear her compare me to Elisa.

“It was the same when I met Gildo and his wife. And I was so pleased he gave evidence, that was such an important part of the case. It brought some emotion to it when so much of the evidence has been so factual.”