Date: 24 Sep 2015
Sebastiano Magnanini was found dead in the Regents Canal.
Sebastiano Magnanini was a carpenter and an Italian national who was said to have links to the Mafia due to him being convicted in 1998 and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for stealing a painting worth £1,000,000, the Education of the Virgin by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, from the church of Santa Maria della Fava, Venice, in December 1993. He had recently moved from Italy to London and had also recently travelled to Colombia, Cambodia and Thailand. He had previously lived in the Veneto region of Italy.
He was identified by his fingerprints and tattoos as there was no other form of identification on him.
He had been tied up to a supermarket trolley and covered with a sheet and thrown into the canal.
CCTV evidence showed two people pushing him to the canal who were later identified. It was heard that one of the people, who knew Sebastiano Magnanini, a 41-year-old man, had gone to Sebastiano Magnanini's flat and found him there dead from a suspected drugs overdose and had then recruited the other person, a 61-year-old man, to help dispose of his body. The two people were later convicted of preventing lawful burial. The 41-year-old man and a third 22-year-old man were then also convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation after it was found that they had used Sebastiano Magnanini's bank card after his death.
Sebastiano Magnanini was found in the canal at 9.07am on 24 September 2015 by a member of the public near the entrance to the Islington Tunnel. He had been in the foetal position with his hands and feet tied up and his shoe laces then tied to the trolley and the sheet over the top.
He was last seen in CCTV on 22 September 2015 on public transport going into central London where it was thought that he had gone to buy some drugs. He last used his mobile phone just after 7pm on 22 September 2015.
His body was partially decomposed, and his post-mortem could not determine a cause of death, but his body was found to have contained high levels of morphine. He also had injuries to his face, including a broken nose, that were consistent with either a fall or having been in a fight.
At the trial for the men accused of preventing lawful burial and fraud by false representation, it was heard that the 41-year-old man said that he had gone back to Sebastiano Magnanini's flat to take some drugs on 22 September 2015 and later left, but that when he returned the following morning he found Sebastiano Magnanini dead from what he suspected was a drugs overdose. He said that he then recruited the 61-year-old man to help dispose of Sebastiano Magnanini's body, and then later recruited the 22-year-old man to help him withdraw a total of £2,000 from Sebastiano Magnanini's bank, using Sebastiano Magnanini's bank card at cash machines. The 22-year-old man was caught on CCTV withdrawing the money.
During their initial investigation, it was reported that the police had suspected that Sebastiano Magnanini had been killed in a suspected underworld ambush.
At the time of his death it was heard that he had been looking to start a course in journalism and had plans to fly to India in November 2015.