Sebastiano Magnanini
Sebastiano Magnanini was last seen in the area two days before his corpse in Regent's CanalMet Police

The decomposing body found tied to a supermarket trolley in North London's Regents Canal has been identified as Italian art thief Sebastiano Magnanini. The corpse of Magnanini, who was jailed for his part in the theft of an iconic piece of artwork from a church in Venice the 1990s, was spotted by a passer-by on the morning of 24 September close to the entrance of Islington Tunnel.

A post-mortem examination on the body came back inconclusive, but Metropolitan Police are treating his death as suspicious and are appealing for help and witnesses in their investigation. The 46-year-old is believed to have moved to South London around two months ago after travelling around Asia.

As reported by Italian media, Magnanini was jailed for 18 months for his part in the theft of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's piece Education of the Virgin from the church of Santa Maria della Fava, Venice, in December 1993. The 1732 painting was reported to have been worth around two billion Italian lire - £760,000 ($1.1m) in today's money.

Police are continuing to appeal for anyone who has been in Muriel Street and the Regent's Canal area to get in touch as any information they hold could assist with understanding the sequence of events that led to Sebastiano's death.

Detective chief inspector Rebecca Reeves saud: "This has been devastating for Sebastiano's family. On the afternoon of Tuesday 22 September, Sebastiano travelled into Central London on public transport.

"I would like to hear from anyone who may have seen him in the Euston area at around 4.50pm. We also believe that he was in the Kings Cross and Caledonian Road area at around 6.50pm. If you think you may have seen Sebastiano at any point or you know what happened to him please get in contact."