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Meredith murder: 1 guilty and 2 to stand trial

RUDY GUEDE was last night found guilty of killing British student Meredith Kercher, while former lovers American Amanda Knox and Italian Raffaele Sollecito will stand trial for the murder.

Guede, originally from the Ivory Coast, was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a judge in Perugia in Italy.

All three were accused of killing the 21-year-old Leeds University exchange student in a violent sex game in the city last November and have spent nearly a year behind bars awaiting yesterday’s decisions.

The semi-naked body of Ms Kercher was found in her room in the cottage she shared with Knox and others on her year abroad.

She had died of stab wounds after her throat was slit. Knox, 21, from Seattle — nicknamed Foxy Knoxy — and her former lover Sollecito, 24, are accused of killing Ms Kercher in a bungled sex game with Guede. Lawyer Francesco Maresca, who represents Ms Kercher’s family, said: “We are very satisfied, even though this was a young man who faces a very heavy sentence.”

The trial is set to begin on December 4.

The key piece of evidence used by prosecutors to link Sollecito to the crime is a trace of his DNA on the clasp of Ms Kercher’s bra. His lawyers argued this was due to accidental contamination during the investigation.

They have also said that if Sollecito had removed the victim’s bra there would be more traces of his DNA on it and would not only be on the clasp.

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi contested this yesterday by bringing her own bra into court to demonstrate how Ms Kercher’s could have been removed, according to reports in the Italian press.

Knox’s parents Edda Mellas and Curt Knox were in Perugia while their daughter’s fate was decided behind closed doors.

Ms Kercher’s family were also in the Umbrian hilltop town to hear the judge’s decision.

Guede, 21, requested a separate fast-track trial from Knox and Sollecito because he feared they had a pact to frame him for the murder.

In Italy, a fast-track trial is held behind closed doors and involves a few key witnesses taking the stand. The defendant can receive a lesser sentence as a result.

Guede was the only suspect who admitted being in the house at the time of the murder but, like the other two, denied any wrongdoing.


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