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Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Saturday, 19 April 2008 16:41 UK

Meredith family at court hearing

Suspect Raffaele Sollecito
Raffaele Sollecito [centre] is one of three suspects in the case

The family of murdered British student Meredith Kercher has attended a court hearing about her case in Italy.

Meredith's mother, brother and sister made no comment to reporters as they arrived for the hearing in Perugia.

Three people are being held over the murder of Leeds University exchange student Miss Kercher, 21, of Coulsdon, south London, in Italy in November.

The closed court hearing was held to discuss evidence in the case before possible charges and a trial.

We do have every faith in the police, the forensic experts, the legal team that we have, and the Italian justice system
Lyle Kercher

Only one of the suspects attended the hearing.

Raffaele Sollecito, 24, an Italian student whose girlfriend at the time was one of Meredith's flatmates, was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs.

His former girlfriend, American Amanda Knox, 20 and the third suspect in the case Rudy Hermann Guede, 21, from Ivory Coast, did not come to the court and stayed in prison.

The three are being held on suspicion of sexually assaulting and murdering Miss Kercher.

Meredith Kercher
Meredith Kercher's relatives are in Perugia for a court hearing

Last week the results of a new post-mortem examination found Miss Kercher may not have been sexually assaulted before her murder.

Police had previously said there was evidence of a violent sexual encounter but the report said it was not possible to say whether she had been assaulted.

It added that a knife from a suspect's house could be the murder weapon.

Three pathologists confirmed the absence of any drugs in Miss Kercher's blood.

Justice

Meredith's brother on the investigation into her death

On Friday her brother Lyle Kercher said the family hoped to "ensure that those responsible are brought to justice".

Mr Kercher was joined in Perugia by Miss Kercher's mother Arline and sister Stephanie.

Mr Kercher said that generally, the family was pleased with the way the investigation had been going.

But referring to some video and images that had been leaked, Mr Kercher said that had been "in poor taste and unnecessary".

Police have said they have forensic evidence linking all three suspects to the murder. The knife was recovered by officers from Mr Sollecito's home.

All three deny involvement in the student's death and have not been charged.

They have lost their last appeals to be freed, and can be held for up to a year before trial.

Miss Kercher was found dead under a duvet with her throat cut in her bedroom in the city of Perugia on 2 November.




SEE ALSO
Doubt cast over Meredith 'rape'
16 Apr 08 |  Europe
Meredith suspect taken to Italy
06 Dec 07 |  Europe
Test results on murdered Briton
05 Nov 07 |  London


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