16/01/2009

Meredith Kercher Murder Trial Begins

The trial of two people accused of murdering British Meredith Kercher is opening today in Italy.

Italian Raffaele Sollecito, 24, and American Amanda Knox, 21, appeared in front of an eight-member jury in a courthouse in the university town of Perugia.

A third suspect, Ivory Coast national Rudy Hermann Guede, was sentenced to 30 years in prison last year after being convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering 21-year-old Meredith in 2007.

Both Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito deny the same charges.

Prosecutors claim the Leeds University student was killed during a bungled sex game involving Guede, her housemate Miss Knox from Seattle, and her ex-boyfriend Mr Sollecito, from Bari in southern Italy.
News Image
Miss Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was studying in the town of Perugia as part of the Europe-wide Erasmus exchange programme when she was found dead in her bedroom on November 2, 2007.

She was discovered semi-naked with her throat cut.

A judge has decided that the trial will be held in public, meaning journalists will be allowed inside the Perugia court to cover proceedings.

A lawyer for Miss Kercher's family had sought to have the proceedings closed to the public and media to prevent the publication of sensitive evidence.

However the judge reserved the right to hold some sessions behind closed doors and will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to do this.

The trial is expected to last several months.

(JM/BMcC)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

29 October 2008
Man Sentenced To Life For Meredith Murder
A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Rudy Guede, originally from the Ivory Coast, was convicted of rape and murder after a closed trial in Perugia, Italy. He was jailed for 30 years.
04 October 2011
Knox Freed Over Dodgy DNA Evidence
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been cleared of the murder of Meredith Kercher. Miss Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were freed from prison last night after spending four years behind bars following their conviction for British Meredith's murder.
16 September 2008
Trio In Court Over Meredith Kercher Murder
A hearing is taking place in the Italian town of Perugia to decide if the three suspects accused of the murder of Leeds University student Meredith Kercher should face trail. American Amanda Knox, 21, her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24, and Rudy Hermann Guede, 21, originally from the Ivory Coast, all deny sexual assault and murder.
08 December 2003
Soham murder trial adjourned after juror falls ill
The Soham murder trial, which was due to begin hearing closing arguments today, has been adjourned after a juror fell ill. A decision on how and when the trial will proceed will be made pending a doctor's report.
31 January 2014
Kercher Accused Found Guilty For Second Time In Italy
An Italian court has reinstated guilty verdicts against Amanda Knox and Rafaele Sollecito for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Knox, who lives in Seattle, was sentenced to 28 years and six months and Sollecito, was given 25 years.