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Murder scene: Meredith Kercher's Italian flat

British student Meredith Kercher was found dead in Perugia, Italy , on 2 November 2007, the victim of a vicious attack.

The 21-year-old from Coulsdon, Surrey, had been sexually assaulted and her throat had been cut in a struggle. Three people, including her American flatmate Amanda Knox, were charged with her murder.

Plan of house shared by Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox and two other women

Satellite image and map of Perugia

Accused

Rudy Guede (left), Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito
Accused: Rudy Guede (left), Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

Rudy Guede, 22, from the Ivory Coast, admitted being at the flat but denied any wrongdoing. He was found guilty and jailed for 30 years for her murder in a fast-track trial behind closed doors last year.

Amanda Knox, 22, from Seattle, and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, also denied charges of murder and sexual violence towards Miss Kercher.

Knox was found guilty and jailed for 26 years. Sollecito was also found guilty and jailed for 25 years.

Prosecution and defence lawyers disputed large parts of the case, from the whereabouts of the defendants to DNA evidence.

This was the prosecution case against Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito

1 November 2007

Meredith Kercher
Meredith Kercher left for Italy in August 2007

1630 Meredith Kercher visited another house in Perugia for a meal and to watch a DVD, according to witness statements from her friends.

2100 Miss Kercher left with a friend, who said the English woman made and received phone calls before returning home to the flat shared with Knox and two other students, Filomena Romanelli and Laura Mezzetti, who were both out.

2320 Knox, Sollecito and Guede arrived at the flat. The couple went into Miss Kercher's room while Guede went to the toilet.

An argument and a scuffle broke out between Miss Kercher and Knox, helped by Sollecito after the English student refused to take part in a drug-fuelled sex game. Guede entered the room and joined in.

Knox hit Miss Kercher's head against a wall, then tried to strangle her, as Sollecito threatened her and Guede sexually assaulted her.

Guede and Sollecito held Miss Kercher down while Knox fatally stabbed her in the neck.

The three then fled the flat before Knox and Sollecito returned to try to clear up and stage a fake robbery by breaking a window of a bedroom belonging to another flatmate.

They threw Miss Kercher's mobile phones into a nearby garden, where they were later discovered.

A duvet was placed over Miss Kercher's body.

2 November

Simulation of Kercher murder house

The mobile phones were found in a nearby garden the following morning by a woman who called the police. The police traced the phones and visited the flat.

They found Knox, Sollecito and other friends gathering at the flat and broke down Miss Kercher's locked door where they discovered her body.

This was the defence case for Knox and Sollecito

Knox said she was told by her employer not to go to work and she spent the night at Sollecito's house, smoking cannabis and watching a film.

Sollecito said he stayed at home working on his computer and did not remember whether Miss Knox spent the whole night with him or just part of it. Police told the jury that tests showed no-one used Sollecito's computer during the time Kercher died.

Knox said she returned home after being at Sollecito's to find the door open and no answer when she called out.

She went to her room, changed, went to the bathroom and saw spots of blood. She had a shower then found more blood on the floor of the flat. Another flatmate, Filomena Romanelli, returned to the house to discover her window broken, before they noticed Miss Kercher's door was locked.

During his appeal, Rudy Guede told the court he had gone with Miss Kercher to the flat on 1 November, but had become ill and had gone to use the toilet.

He said he heard Miss Kercher and Knox arguing, then a scream. He rushed to the room and saw an unidentified man, who tried to attack him.

Guede said he found Miss Kercher lying in a pool of blood after her throat had been cut. He took her in his arms and tried to mop up the blood with towels, but panicked and left the house.

His fingerprint was found in bloodstains on Miss Kercher's pillow, and other DNA traces were recovered on toilet paper and on the victim's body.

Bloody footprint

As well as the whereabouts of the defendants at the time of the murder, other evidence was also disputed.

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi shows a knife to the courtroom
Jurors were shown a knife prosecutors claim might have killed Miss Kercher

The prosecution said a knife with a 16.5cm (6.5 inch) blade was found at Sollecito's house and shown to have Miss Kercher's DNA on the blade and Knox's DNA on the handle.

The defence said the wounds and cuts on Miss Kercher's body suggested a smaller knife.

A bloody footprint at the crime scene was attributed to Sollecito, but a defence witness said the print was the wrong size.

The defence said DNA traces on Miss Kercher's bra linked to the defendants were either too small to be attributed with certainty or might have been inadvertently contaminated because the bra lay on the bedroom floor for weeks before it was found.



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