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Friday 23 February 2018

Man jailed in Italy for Meredith Kercher murder appeals over conviction

British student Meredith Kercher was murdered in Italy in 2007
British student Meredith Kercher was murdered in Italy in 2007

The only person convicted over the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy is appealing against his conviction.

The move comes nearly two years after Italy's highest court acquitted Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.

Lawyers for Rudy Hermann Guede are petitioning an appeals court in Florence to overturn the only conviction in the case, arguing that the acquittals of the high-profile defendants are in conflict with the guilty verdict against the Ivorian.

Guede, 29, is serving a 16-year sentence for the 2007 murder, after his initial 30-year sentence was reduced on appeal. When the high court upheld his sentencing, it ruled he did not act alone, although it did not name any accomplices.

Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca will be in court to argue that Guede's guilty verdict must stand. Revising verdicts is extremely rare in Italian justice, and the court is not expected to make an immediate decision.

"The Italian justice system must give us at least one guilty party," Mr Maresca told the Associated Press on Monday. "We want that maintained, absolutely."

Mr Maresca argued alongside prosecutors in both Guede's speedy trial and the multiple joint trials of Knox, now 29, and Sollecito, 32, joining arguments that Guede could not have acted alone. He cited, among other things, the lack of defensive wounds which suggest that more than one person was present to hold 21-year-old Ms Kercher down during the sexual assault and murder at knifepoint in Perugia.

Mr Maresca and the family have expressed dismay that Guede was convicted without any other accomplices being held accountable, or other suspects ever being identified.

Whatever the appeals court in Florence decides, it will not affect Knox, who has been in Seattle in the US since she was released on a first-level appeal in 2011 after four years in prison, or Sollecito.

Knox's Italian lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, insisted the physical evidence against Guede, including genetic evidence on the victim's body and a palm print in blood in her room, is incontrovertible.

"There is no conflict between that conviction and our acquittal. Our acquittal is clearly saying that the evidence against Rudy Guede is very strong. In that decision, they don't mention that it was possible he was there with someone else in the room. There is no evidence of anyone else," Mr Dalla Vedova said.


Press Association

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