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Kercher's family welcome verdict

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

The family of murdered British exchange student Meredith Kercher have said they are "satisfied" that a man has been jailed for 30 years for her murder.

Rudy Guede, 21, was convicted after a closed trial, but Miss Kercher's sister said there was still a long road ahead.

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

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

At a press conference on Tuesday, Miss Kercher's family said they had "full trust" in the Italian legal system but that they were still at the beginning of the process of obtaining justice for Meredith.

Her sister Stephanie described the judge's decision as "really important" but added that "there's still a long way to go".

Miss Kercher's brother Lyle said he was "satisfied" with the verdict and that it was the "right decision".

Amanda Knox's parents 'Our daughter is 100 percent innocent' - video courtesy ABC

But he added: "You can't be pleased and you can't be unsatisfied either.

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

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.

Miss Knox's parents claimed on ABC's Good Morning America that their daughter had nothing to do with Miss Kercher's death.

Her father Curt Knox said: "We 100% believe that she is going to be found innocent during the trial phase and we truly look forward to bringing her home."

Her mother Edda Mellas said she was under the impression there was no physical evidence linking her daughter to the crime and said she was concerned about the impact the case would have on Miss Knox's future.

"I worry about her and the toll this is all going to have on her and her life," she said.

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.

Rudy Guede
Ivorian Rudy Guede had denied any wrongdoing.

He had admitted to being in the house at the time of the murder but, like his co-defendants, 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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SEE ALSO
Kercher: Case that shocked Italy
28 Oct 08 |  Europe
Profiles: Kercher murder suspects
28 Oct 08 |  Europe
Profile: Meredith Kercher
04 Dec 09 |  Europe


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