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Saturday 29 April 2017

Court rejects grounds for new trial in Meredith Kercher murder

Meredith Kercher was killed at a house in Perugia, Italy
Meredith Kercher was killed at a house in Perugia, Italy

An appeals court in Florence has rejected a bid for a new trial and possible acquittal of the only person convicted of the 2007 murder of British university student Meredith Kercher.

Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian, is serving a 16-year sentence for the murder of Ms Kercher, found stabbed in her bedroom in a house she shared in Perugia with American student Amanda Knox.

Ms Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, after a series of convictions and acquittal, were ultimately exonerated of the murder by Italy's top criminal tribunal, the Court of Cassation.

Guede was in court for the court's decision, after an hour's deliberation.

When the Cassation court upheld Guede's conviction in 2010, it ruled he did not act alone but did not name any accomplices.

His lawyers argued that conclusion conflicts with the acquittals of Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito.

Italy's justice system involves two levels of appeals. Convictions are not considered final until all appeals are exhausted, a process that can take years.

Revising final verdicts is extremely rare in Italy.

The Florence court did not elaborate on why it rejected Guede's bid.

His lawyer, Tommaso Pietrocarlo, said the defence will consider appealing to the Cassation court on the same issue that failed to persuade the lower level tribunal.

Guede has always denied killing Ms Kercher.

Guede was initially sentenced to 30 years in prison, reduced on a previous appeal to 16 years.

Last year, for good behaviour behind bars, Guede was allowed an overnight stay at a house run by volunteers assisting inmates.

In a case closely followed in the United States, Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito steadfastly proclaimed their innocence.

Their judicial saga included time in prison following convictions, and release after an acquittal, before being definitively acquitted of the murder in 2015.

AP

Press Association

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