Page last updated at 00:52 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Man convicted of Kercher murder

Meredith Kercher
Meredith Kercher's partially-clothed body was found locked in her bedroom

A 21-year-old man has been jailed for 30 years in Italy for murdering British exchange student Meredith Kercher.

Rudy Hermann Guede was found guilty after a trial behind closed doors. Miss Kercher's brother John called the verdict "overwhelming".

Miss Kercher, 21, from south London, was found dead at a house she shared in Perugia on 2 November last year.

Judge Paolo Micheli also ruled that Raffaele Sollecito, 24, and Amanda Knox, 21, should face a murder trial.

Leeds University student Miss Kercher, from Coulsdon, had been in the Umbrian town as part of her European Studies degree.

Her partially-clothed body was found under a duvet in her bedroom, which had been locked from the inside. Her throat had been cut.

Prosecutors claimed she was killed as part of a bungled sex game involving Guede, her housemate Miss Knox, from Seattle, and the American's ex-boyfriend Mr Sollecito, from Bari, southern Italy.

Meredith Kercher's brother Lyle says he is satisfied by the conviction of a man for her murder

At a press conference, Miss Kercher's other brother Lyle said he was "satisfied" with the verdict.

"You can't be pleased and you can't be unsatisfied either," he said.

"I think satisfied is probably the best we can say."

He said he thought it was the "right decision".

Her sister Stephanie said it was a "difficult time of year for us now" and that there was a "lot of emotion at the moment" for the Kercher family.

Murder weapon

Guede, who had joint Italian and Ivory Coast nationality, had opted for a fast-track trial because he feared the former lovers would form a pact to frame him.

He had admitted to being in the house at the time of the murder but, like his co-defendants, denied any wrongdoing.

Rudy Guede
Ivorian Rudy Guede had denied any wrongdoing.

His lawyers claimed the murder weapon had been found at Mr Sollecito's house and had Miss Knox's DNA on the handle.

Mr Sollecito's lawyers have argued he could not have been at the murder scene because he was at home downloading a cartoon at the time.

The trial of Mr Sollecito and Miss Knox is due to begin on 4 December.

The pair have already spent nearly a year behind bars, and the judge is expected to decide shortly whether to grant them house arrest. Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini has advised that the pair remain in jail.

Miss Knox reportedly broke down on hearing the decision to convict Guede. Her lawyer Luciano Ghirga said she was "was quite disappointed" by the ruling.

Guede now plans to appeal against his sentence.

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