THE mother of a missing Italian teenager broke down in tears as she spoke of her wish to meet the children of Bournemouth murder victim Heather Barnett.

Filomena Claps sobbed: "The person who took my little girl away from me 11 years ago also took Heather from her children. I wish I could see them.

"When I heard of her death, my first thoughts were for the children because they found her.

"I can imagine what they are going through.

"I think I can understand how they feel having lost a loved one, just like me. I feel a bond with them."

Dorset Police officers have been in Italy this week for three days of meetings with the family of the missing girl Elisa Claps, the anti-Mafia police and with a magistrate.

Detectives are convinced the man who attacked and killed Heather Barnett at her home in Chaminster in November, 2002, was also responsible for the disappearance of 16-year-old Elisa nine years earlier.

In an interview with the Daily Echo at her home in Potenza, Mrs Claps, 67, pleaded for help in finding out what happened to her daughter.

And she is pinning much of her hope on the Dorset Police team and the media.

"I trust the British system and the British investigators to uncover the truth because there are people in Italy who have covered things up for a long time.

"I keep going because I have to, but I want to go to my grave knowing what happened to my Elisa. I just want to see the person who took her away brought to justice.

"I want to be able to close the book and have somewhere to go and take flowers for her."

With her daughter-in-law, Irene acting as interpreter, Mrs Claps added: "When I have learned the truth, then God can call me at any time."

On Wednesday, an examining magistrate in the city of Salerno gave permission for further specific inquiries to be conducted by the anti Mafia police, the DIA, on behalf of Dorset Police.

In a special investigation in Saturday's Daily Echo, Andy Martin reports from Potenza on why the town has been gripped by the murder of Heather Barnett and why the omerta - the Mafia code of silence - seems to be hampering the investigations into Elisa Claps' disappearance.