News National Vic hubby believes wife was taken: inquest

Vic hubby believes wife was taken: inquest

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The husband of a Melbourne grandmother whose body was found in a barrel believes she was abducted.

Paolo Amenta was granted immunity from prosecution when he testified at his elderly wife Lucia Amenta’s inquest on Wednesday.

His barrister Jason Buckland told the Victorian Coroners Court that police suspect Mr Amenta and his youngest son John Amenta are implicated in Mrs Amenta’s disappearance or death.

Detective Senior Constable Nathan Toey told the inquest there were inconsistencies in evidence the pair gave police.

Police also say the barrel containing Mrs Amenta’s remains is identical in size and colour to one found in her husband’s Fawkner backyard, but they bear different date stamps.

Mr Amenta told the inquest his backyard barrels were used to make wine and he didn’t know who killed his wife.

He said they had not fought, there was no disturbance in their house and knew of no one who wanted her harmed.

“I think she was taken,” he said through an Italian interpreter, adding at least two people were involved.

“She would’ve defended herself against one person. I don’t think one person alone could do it.”

Mr Amenta said he returned home from buying bread in January 2008 to find his wife of 47 years missing.

The 71-year-old’s body was found in a barrel fished out of a lake at a Campbellfield reserve in October 2009.

Mr Amenta said his wife’s mobile phone – which the inquest heard she never left home without – was in the kitchen.

The freshly cooked lunch they were due to take to their son John was still warm on the table.

Mr Amenta said when he returned home and she wasn’t there, he assumed she had gone to see an unknown friend.

He also gave varying versions of what his wife wore the day she disappeared.

Mr Amenta said police did not allow him to see his wife’s body once it was found.

“That’s what’s missing for me,” he said.

“Why didn’t they let me see the body? I was her husband.”

No one has been charged over Mrs Amenta’s death and police this month posted a $100,000 reward.

The inquest continues on Thursday.