30/11/2007

Meredith Suspects Appear In Court

Two suspects in the murder of British student Meredith Kercher are in court in Italy to launch an appeal against their continued detention.

Amanda Knox, 20, and Raffaele Sollecito, 23, have been held since November 6, five days after Miss Kercher was found dead in the apartment she shared with Miss Knox in Perugia.

Lawyers for the pair are expected to argue that they should be released on bail.

Diya 'Patrick' Lumumba, 38, who was arrested at the same time as Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito, was released from jail last week, but remains a suspect in the case.

A fourth man, Rudy Hermann Guede, 20, was arrested in Germany on November 20 and is currently awaiting extradition to Italy.

All four have denied any involvement in Miss Kercher's death.

Miss Kercher, from Couldson in Surrey, was a student from Leeds University, who was on a year's exchange programme in Italy when she was murdered.

She was found dead in the apartment, with her throat cut. Police also said that there was evidence of a violent sexual encounter.

Giuliano Mignini, the lead investigator in the case, has called for Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito to be released, arguing that there is sufficient evidence to keep them in jail and that there is a risk that they could go on the run if they are set free.

The evidence against Mr Sollecito is a bloody footprint found in Miss Kercher's bedroom, which could have been his and a kitchen knife found in his home which contained clear evidence of both Miss Knox's and Miss Kercher's DNA.

Miss Knox has been linked to the crime scene by a bloodstain on a tap, as well as the DNA found on the knife at Mr Sollectio's house.

Mr Sollectio's lawyer, Marco Brusco, said that the believed his client would be released. However, if a full release is refused, he has requested that Mr Sollecito be placed under house arrest in Puglia, around 250 miles from Perugia.

(KMcA)




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