Meredith Kercher Murder
Meredith Kercher was murdered in Perugia on 1st November 2007.
Following a police investigation and trial, Rudy Hermann Guede was convicted of sexual assault and murder and received a sentence of 16 years, upheld on appeal. Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, an American student who shared a flat with Kercher, were convicted of sexual assault and murder and sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively. Their sentences are under appeal and all 3 insist on their innocence.
Meredith Kercher (b 1985, England) was taking European Studies at university in England. She was attending the University of Perugia as part of a student exchange programme for one year. In Perugia she was sharing a flat with Amanda Knox and two female Italian flatmates.
Rudy Hermann Guede (b 1987, Ivory Coast) had been living in Perugia since he had gone there aged 5 with his father. When he was 16 his father had left and he had been adopted by a local businessman. Guede had joint Italian/Ivory Coast nationality and was studying part time and working a bar.
Amanda Marie Knox (b 1987, USA) was studying language at university in the USA. She was attending the University for Foreigners in Perugia studying Italian, German and writing. At the time she was Raffaele Sollecito's girlfriend.
Raffaele Sollecito (b 1984, Giovinazzo) was in the final stages of completing a degree in computer engineering at the University of Perugia.
On 1st November Kercher had spent the evening with three friends. She returned home alone at about 9pm; the two Italian flatmates were away at the time for the night.
Sometime during the night a neighbour reported a scream and the sound of two sets of footsteps running away. Investigations revealed that Kercher died at about 11pm.
Kercher had been sexually assaulted, and been murdered, by having her throat cut, by multiple attackers. Some time afterwards one or more people had returned to the flat, rearranged the body and staged a fake break-in by smashing a window and disturbing the flat.
Investigation and Trial
The police arrested Knox, Sollecito and a Congolese bar owner, Lumumba, implicated by Knox. Lumumba was later completely exonerated of any wrongdoing and it was decided Knox had introduced his name only to shift the blame.
During the investigation many minor inconsistencies were demonstrated in the suspects' stories. The final report stated that Guede had made sexual advances towards Kercher and she had resisted. Knox and Sollecito had then helped Guede subdue her. (It was noted that both Knox and Sollecito had consumed some soft drugs before this and that they had also been reading violent pornography as well which may have influenced their behaviour.)
According to the report Knox and Sollecito had then stabbed Kercher in the neck but then covered the body with a duvet and it was they who had returned later to stage the break-in.
Guede was tried for sexual assault and murder. He elected for a fast-track trial and, after appeal, received a sentence of 16 years. Knox and Sollecito were then sent for trial. Knox was sentenced to 26 years and Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.
All 3 defendents went to appeal. In December 2010 Guede's sentence of 16 years was upheld.
- Kercher's family received compensation for the murders of 1 million each for the parents and 800,000 euro for each sibling.
- Lumumba sued Knox for defamation and was awarded 40,000 euro. He also sued the authorities for unjust imprisonment and the loss of his business and was awarded 8,000 euro in damages. In February 2010 he announced that he would be taking his claim for compensation from the Italian authorities to the European Court of Human Rights.
- Knox sued journalists who wrote a book on the case and used private details of Knox's diary not in the public domain; she was awarded 40,000 in damages.
- The police are suing Knox for defamation; she claimed they had hit her whilst in detention.
In America the case has received widespread coverage and a great deal of criticism for the Italian justice system. In 2011 a made-for-television film, Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy was released amid much controversy.
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