Earlier this year, the remains of a teenage girl were found near Hotel House, a crumbling building largely occupied by recent immigrants, which many Italians regard as a den of drugs and violence. Did prejudice hamper the search for justice? By Tobias Jones

It was raining heavily on 28 March 2018, as Alessandro Albini’s officers were raking over rough ground on the outskirts of an abandoned building. The police were looking for stashes of drugs or money, because they knew the shack was being used by dealers.

At first glance, this might have seemed an unlikely location for a drugs bust. Porto Recanati is a small seaside town on Italy’s Adriatic coast. It has perpendicular streets with low, pastel-coloured palazzi between palms and maritime pines. It’s all very neat: there are often mini-diggers on the sand, raking the beach flat as if it were a Japanese garden.

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