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CRIME

Italian waiter was killed in ‘senseless attack’

An Italian man who was beaten to death in the UK last year had left Italy to start a job as a waiter just days before he was killed, in what proscecutors described as a "senseless attack of brutal, drunken violence".

Italian waiter was killed in 'senseless attack'
Joele Leotta was murdered six days after arriving in the UK. Photo: Facebook

Joele Leotta moved from Lombardy after finding work at an Italian restaurant in Maidstone, east of London. But six days after arriving last October he was beaten to death in his apartment, suffering 100 injuries, while his childhood friend Alex Galbiati was seriously injured.

Speaking in the Maidstone courtroom on Wednesday, where four Lithuanian men are on trial for the murder, Galbiati said he and Leotta had moved to the UK for "a work opportunity we could not find in Italy", Kent Online reported.

The pair were in their apartment above the Vesuvius restaurant, where they had started work just days earlier, when they were attacked on October 20th.

SEE ALSO: Four charged with UK murder of Italian teen

Prosecutors argue that the Lithuanian men, who were also living in the building, attacked Galbiati and Leotta as they wrongly believed that the Italians had complained about them, Kent Online said.

"Without bothering to find out the true state of affairs…They smashed down the door and attacked the two boys,” Prosecutor Philippa McAtasney was quoted as saying in court last week.

She said the Italians were "punched, kicked and hit with whatever came to hand", before Galbiati was able to phone the police.  It was a "senseless attack of brutal, drunken violence" in which he Leotta suffered 100 injuries, she added.

The case has caused shockwaves in Italy, as an increasing number of young people have sought to escape the country’s unemployment crisis by moving to the UK. According to statistics released by the UK government in December, the number of Italians registering to work there jumped by 52 percent over a year.

READ MORE: Surge in the number of Italians moving to the UK

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CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

READ ALSO

Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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