Italian court upholds Ivorian's sentence in sex murder

16th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Italy's highest appeals court on Thursday confirmed a sentence of 16 years for an Ivorian man convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering a British student in 2007.

Rudy Guede was was tried separately from American Amanda Knox and Italian Raffaele Sollecito, who have also been convicted of the murder and are both currently appealing in a trial in the town of Perugia.

"Meredith Kercher's family is satisfied by this decision," Francesco Maresca, a lawyer for the family, said after the ruling.

He said there should now be "an identical solution" for Knox and Sollecito.

The 21-year-old victim, Meredith Kercher, was in Perugia as an exchange student from Leeds University and shared a cottage with Seattle native Knox.

Kercher was found semi-naked in a pool of blood on November 2, 2007.

Prosecutors said she was assaulted and killed by Guede, Sollecito and Knox as part of a drug-fuelled sex orgy. Knox is currently serving a 26-year sentence for the crime and Sollecito was handed a 25-year sentence.

Sollecito and Knox say they are innocent. Guede has claimed he was in the house at the time of the murder but had no part in it.

Guede was convicted during a fast-track trial in 2008 but then had his sentence reduced from 30 years to 16 years in December 2009 on appeal.

The appeal court said then it had reduced the sentence because of Guede's young age of just 20 at the time of the killing, his "difficult life" and the fact that he was the only one who had apologised to Kercher's family.

© 2010 AFP

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