Gang that killed Lecco native were not British, say police

(ANSA) - Milan, October 23 - Seven men arrested in the killing of an Italian working in a restaurant in Britain were not British, police said Wednesday.

The motive for the killing of Joele Leotta, 19, remains unclear as initial reports said he was accused of stealing jobs when he was attacked.

"They are of foreign nationality, not British," police said of the suspects.

"We are not treating the incident as racially motivated".

Leotta died after he was kicked and punched by a gang of men aged 21 to 45 inside his apartment in the town of Maidstone in the county of Kent.

Initially, nine men were taken into custody but two were later released.

"You cannot even talk about a racial motive, as an investigation to determine (what) happened is still in progress," police spokesman Richard Allan told ANSA.

Leotta, who may also have been stabbed in the attack, had travelled from his home in the northern town of Nibionno, near the city of Lecco, to Britain 10 days earlier to learn English and find work.

A friend of the victim sustained injuries to the neck, head and back that do not threaten his life.

Authorities say Alex Galbiati was being treated in hospital.

Leotta's family, informed of the killing on Monday, has travelled to Kent.

They are being assisted by the Consul General of Italy in London, Massimiliano Mazzanti, who told ANSA that he is following the case closely.

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