A 74-year-old man has appeared in court for extradition proceedings in relation to the murder of a 66-year-old woman in Italy.
Michael Whitbread was arrested in England on suspicion of murder on Wednesday night after Michele Faiers was found dead at her home near the Italian town of Casoli that morning.
Whitbread appeared in custody at a hearing arranged as part of the extradition process at Westminster Magistrates’ Court earlier today.
Whitbread, a retired driving instructor and shop owner, was asked if he consented to be extradited to Italy where he now lives.
From the dock, he replied ‘no’.
Michael Whitbread, right, was arrested in England on suspicion of murder on Wednesday night after Michele Faiers, left, was found dead at her home near the Italian town of Casoli that morning
Local residents of the village near Casoli described the couple as ‘very private’
Michele Faiers, 66, was found lying on her first-floor bedroom in a pool of blood by her friend inside her rural home in a village near Casoli, a town in eastern Italy on Wednesday morning. Pictured: The home with police tape surrounding it
Darren Watts, for the Italian legal authorities, told the court: ‘This is a murder of the requested person’s partner.’
He said Whitbread had driven from Italy to the UK.
‘He arrived in the UK on Wednesday and was arrested,’ he said.
The court was told Whitbread is a grandfather with close family connections in the UK and was visiting relatives. He had a travel ticket to return to Italy.
On Saturday, District judge John Zani said ‘this is an accusation’ and Whitbread has not been convicted of anything.
Michele Faiers (pictured with her partner Michael Whitbread) was found fatally stabbed in her idyllic Italian home on Wednesday
Colonel Alceo Greco, of Italy’s carabinieri police force, said Ms Faiers had probably died on Saturday or Sunday and her partner Michael Whitbread (pictured), 74, is a prime suspect
A 74-year-old man who has been arrested over the murder of a British grandmother in Italy was found by police in a UK home (pictured) owned by his daughter
He told Whitbread: ‘The Italian authorities wish you to return to face trial there because it is a very serious allegation.
‘In the event you are convicted, a very lengthy sentence of imprisonment would almost be inevitable.’
The judge added: ‘You live in Italy and say that you were visiting family.
‘I cannot ignore the fact that your visit here happened soon after the allegation of murder happened but a few days ago.’
Whitbread was ordered to next appear in custody at a preliminary hearing at the same court on November 9.
The judge said the court is ‘working towards a full hearing’ at the same venue on February 26, 2024.
Leicestershire Police previously said a suspect was arrested in Shepshed, Leicestershire, on Wednesday.
A force spokesman said: ‘The man, who was arrested in Shepshed on Wednesday night, has not been charged with a criminal offence. The hearing is listed as part of the extradition process.
‘Detectives from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit major crime team are continuing to liaise with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the extradition team in the CPS’s Serious Economic and Organised Crime and International Directorate and Italian authorities regarding the incident.’