UK & World News

  • 31 January 2014, 17:15

Kercher Killer Sollecito Held Near Border

Raffaele Sollecito, the man re-convicted of Meredith Kercher's murder, has been held by Italian police near the border with Austria.

Sollecito was apprehended by officers at a hotel in Venzone, in the province of Udine.

He had apparently crossed over the border by car into Austria late on Thursday night as a court in Florence deliberated on his case.

But Sollecito returned to Italy of his own accord when he heard the court found him guilty, Sky's Nick Pisa said.

Giovanni Belmonte, of the Udine police, said officers held Sollecito in Venzone at 1am - less than 30 miles from the border with Austria and Slovenia.

Pisa, reporting from Italy, said Sollecito, 29, had been staying at the Carnia hotel with his current girlfriend Greta. 

The hotel owner told Pisa that a night porter had recognised Sollecito and alerted police.

Sollecito apparently told officers he had gone to Austria for a "short break" and his father, Francesco, told Pisa he had no intention of "running away".

"He's fine," Francesco said. "He will fight." Sollecito had now left the police station and was due back in Bari with his father later today.

Police took Sollecito's passport and put a stamp in his Italian identity papers showing that he cannot leave the country, Mr Belmonte said.

Sollecito received a 25-year term after being found guilty in the latest court case. He had been in the courtroom earlier on Thursday but left before the verdicts were delivered.

He and Amanda Knox were charged in 2007 after Miss Kercher's semi-naked body was found with her throat cut in the bedroom of the house she shared with Knox in the central Italian city of Perugia.

The 21-year-old Leeds University student from Coulsdon, Surrey, had been sexually assaulted.

Two years after the pair were found guilty at their original trial in 2009 - and handed jail terms totalling more than 50 years - the verdicts were overturned and both walked free from court.

After nearly 12 hours of deliberations on Thursday, the court upheld the 2009 convictions.

Rudy Guede, a drug dealer, is serving a 16-year sentence over the death - though the courts have said he did not act alone.

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