After a trial lasting just under a year, American student Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been convicted of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Knox was led away from court in tears after the verdict.
Twenty-five-year-old Sollecito, from Bari, in southern Italy, was impassive as he was told he faced 25 years in prison for Miss Kercher's murder. His ex-girlfriend Knox was sentenced to 26 years, but both are expected to appeal.
The case drew huge attention from the world's media, as well as from local people in the city of Perugia. Leeds University student Meredith Kercher, from Surrey, was staying there as part of an exchange programme when she was killed in 2007.
Miss Kercher was found with her throat slit in the bedroom of her Perugia home. Late on Friday, Judge Giancarlo Massei told a packed, but hushed, courtroom that the jury believed Knox and Sollecito were responsible.
In Knox's home city of Seattle, Washington, her aunt and uncle Janet and Mick Huff watched with shock as she was found guilty. The 22-year-old's family, friends and other supporters have waged a vociferous public campaign protesting her innocence.
Knox was portrayed by prosecutors as cold, manipulative and promiscuous, but her family insisted she was the victim of a wholly unjustified character assassination. For her part, she denied killing Miss Kercher, insisting the Briton had been her friend.
Knox's father Curt was her most vocal supporter. After the verdict, he insisted again that she was innocent and had not been in the room when Miss Kercher died. He also blamed media attacks on his daughter for turning the jury against her.
Miss Kercher's family, including her sister Stephanie and brother Lyle, were in court. The following day they told a press conference they were pleased with the verdicts, but they were no cause for celebration.
Miss Kercher's mother Arline said she believed the jury's decision to find the pair guilty was the right one. "It's difficult to say, but at the end of the day you have to go on the evidence because there's nothing else," she told reporters.
Knox's father, sister Deanna and stepmother Cassandra visited her in prison the day after she was convicted. They have vow to carry on the fight to clear her name.
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