Page last updated at 18:43 GMT, Saturday, 25 October 2008 19:43 UK

Kercher suspects 'washed blood'

Amanda Knox
Amanda Knox claims she was not in the house at the time of the murder

Two people accused of killing British student Meredith Kercher tried to clean up the victim's blood, a lawyer claims.

Valter Biscotti, for third suspect Rudy Hermann Guede, told an Italian court that traces of blood diluted with water were found at the scene.

He suggested Mr Guede's co-defendants Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had tried to wash away the evidence.

Miss Kercher, 21, from south London, died on 2 November 2007, having had her throat cut at her rented Perugia home.

The Leeds University student was spending a year abroad in the Umbrian town when she was killed. Her semi-naked body was found in her bedroom.

Prosecutors claim she died during a bungled sex game.

Mr Guede, 21, from the Ivory Coast, has admitted to being in the house on the night Miss Kercher was murdered but - like his fellow suspects - denies any wrongdoing.

We think the pair probably came back to the house to clean up afterwards because there was found to be blood diluted with water
Valter Biscotti

He claims he was in the bathroom when Miss Kercher was attacked and that he rushed into the bedroom to try to rescue her.

Lawyers for Miss Kercher's housemate Miss Knox, 21, from Seattle, and the American's then boyfriend Mr Sollecito, 24, from Italy, have both said they believed the murder was committed by a lone killer.

But Mr Biscotti said it was predictable they would try to pin the blame on Mr Guede.

"Just because Rudy was at the scene of the crime it doesn't make him guilty," Mr Biscotti told reporters during a break from the closed hearing on Saturday.

"He has not changed his story about what happened that night and we showed in court this morning that there was no proof linking him to the crime."

Mr Guede saw and heard Miss Knox at the scene of the crime, he said, and he also saw a man he believed to be Mr Sollecito although he did not recognise him.

"We think the pair probably came back to the house to clean up afterwards because there was found to be blood diluted with water," he said.

Mr Guede is currently being tried in a fast-track process, which he requested because he feared a pact between the former lovers to frame him.

Judge Paolo Micheli will decide early next week whether to convict or acquit him. He will decide at the same time whether Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito should stand trial.

Mr Sollecito's lawyers argued at the pre-trial hearing that he could not have been involved in the murder because he was downloading a cartoon at home at the time.

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