Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 11:49 UK

Meredith accused kept behind bars

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

Italy's highest appeal court has ruled two suspects in UK student Meredith Kercher's murder must stay in jail in case they flee the country.

On Monday, judges said the personality of American Amanda Knox, 20, was "negative" and that of Italian Raffaele Sollecito, 24, was "peculiar".

Hermann Guede, 21, from Ivory Coast, was also ordered to stay behind bars.

All deny sexually assaulting and murdering Miss Kercher, 21, of south London, in Italy in November.

No comment

Making public a ruling made on 1 April, the judges cited Miss Knox's poor attitude to court proceedings and the fact that she had repeatedly contradicted herself when giving testimony.

They also made reference to Mr Sollecito's habitual use of drugs.

There was a serious risk that the pair, who were boyfriend and girlfriend, might flee the country, the judges added.

Members of Miss Kercher's family attended the court.

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

Her mother Arline, brother Lyle and sister Stephanie made no comment to reporters as they arrived at court in Perugia.

Only one of the suspects was in attendance.

Mr Sollecito, 24, a student, was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs.

'Murder weapon'

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.

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

The next stage in the case, in May, is likely to see the three defendants together for questioning either in court or in an interview room.

They can be held for up to a year before trial.

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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