Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 15:45 UK

Meredith suspect makes trial bid

Meredith Kercher
Meredith Kercher was a British student in Italy

One of the three suspects held over the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy is seeking a separate trial, his lawyer has said.

Ivory Coast citizen Rudy Hermann Guede, 21, is to request a fast-track trial, should he be indicted.

These types of trials are shorter and often lead to shorter sentences.

Miss Kercher, 21, of Coulsdon, south London, was found dead in her bedroom in Perugia on 1 November. All three suspects deny any wrongdoing.

Mr Guede is due to appear at a pre-trial hearing along with fellow suspects Amanda Knox, 21, of Seattle, and her former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, 24, in the Italian town of Perugia.

Speaking at a news conference, Mr Guede's lawyer, Valter Biscotti, said: "We feel the need for a separate trial... to keep a distance between our position and that of the other suspects.

"Our client would be punished by sharing a trial with the others."

He also spoke of "poison" between the various defence teams, and the need for his team to find "peace through a separate trial".

Theft charges

Mr Guede has admitted being in Miss Kercher's house on the night she was killed, before leaving for Germany.

Prosecutors have requested that the three suspects are also tried on charges of sexual violence and stealing 300 euros (Ł240), two credit cards and two mobile phones from Miss Kercher.

The student from Coulsdon, south London, was found semi-naked with her throat slit at her home on the night of 1 November.

She lived with Miss Knox and others on Via Della Pergola in Perugia.

Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito have been in jail since November, while Mr Guede was arrested later in Germany and extradited to Italy in December.


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