Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Book by ex-Meredith murder suspect

Amanda Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito pictured in 2007 (AP/Stefano Medici)

A man convicted and later cleared of murdering a British student in Italy almost five years ago has described the nightmare of the aftermath of her death in a new book.

Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old from Leeds University, was found semi-naked and with her throat cut in a house she shared with American student Amanda Knox in November 2007.

Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in 2009 of killing Miss Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, but were freed last October after their convictions were overturned on a lack of evidence. Rudy Guede, a petty criminal and drug dealer from the Ivory Coast, was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering the student and is serving a 16-year-sentence.

In his book, Honour Bound, which is due out next week, Mr Sollecito maintains the couple's innocence but acknowledges that their sometimes bizarre behaviour after Miss Kercher's death gave police reason for suspicion.

He describes how the early days of his relationship with Miss Knox became a nightmare with the horror of Miss Kercher's death, the misunderstandings that swept them up in the case, and their tabloid portrayals as two suspects unrecognisable to themselves. Miss Knox became "Foxy Knoxy" and received the brunt of the attention as she shopped for underwear after the killing and turned cartwheels in front of investigators.

Police found their behaviour "odd" and he acknowledged they had no "real alibi the night of November 1 except each other". Mr Sollecito also criticises the police for their handling of the case, suggesting they reached for a far-fetched conspiracy instead of the simpler explanation that Guede had on his own committed a burglary gone wrong.

He also writes about his first night in prison, saying he wavered between "great waves of indignation and a nagging sense of guilt". He said that while he knew he was innocent, he was angry at himself for having a foggy memory of the night of the killing because he and Knox had smoked marijuana.

When they were finally acquitted, Sollecito writes that he felt "indescribable joy".

Miss Knox is also writing a book, due out next spring, in a deal reportedly worth £2.5 million.

Prosecutors have appealed against the acquittal of Mr Sollecito and Miss Knox, and Italy's highest court will hear their arguments in March.

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