Bloodstained footprint 'does not link Italian to Kercher murder'

A bloody footprint found where British student Meredith Kercher was killed in Italy did not belong to an Italian accused of murdering her, a forensic expert claimed today.

The footprint was found on a bathroom rug in the house in Perugia where Miss Kercher was killed in November 2007.

The prosecution says it was made by Raffaele Sollecito who is on trial with US student Amanda Knox, his girlfriend at the time.

Both are accused of murdering Ms Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon, Surrey, during what had begun as a sex game at the apartment she shared in Perguia in November 2007. They deny the charges.

Expert Francesco Vinci compared detailed pictures of the footprint on the rug with images of Sollecito's feet, arguing that the sizes and shapes "absolutely don't match".

"Differences, one by one, can be seen," said Mr Vinci, a witness for Sollecito's defence.

He the footprint was "compatible" with a third man, Rudy Hermann Guede, who was convicted in a separate trial last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Guede, of the Ivory Coast, has appealed his conviction.

The expert said he took part in one of the crime scene investigations carried out by forensics at the house of the murder when the evidence was being collected.

Knox and Sollecito, who were both in court today, face life sentences if convicted.

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