UK & World News
Sollecito Uses Murdered Kercher For Uni Essay
Convicted killer Raffaele Sollecito has graduated from university by writing a thesis describing how he is innocent of the murder of Meredith Kercher.
Sollecito, 30, who was convicted along with former girlfriend Amanda Knox, 26, wrote in his computer studies masters paper that online networks showing his name and commenting on the brutal knife murder were more often linked to the word "innocent" than "guilty".
Both were initially found guilty before the verdict was overturned, only for an appeal court to rule earlier this year that they were guilty.
Knox sentenced to 28 years in prison and Sollecito 25 years, although both are free as the Italian judicial system allows for another appeal, with no decision expected until next spring at the earliest.
On his Facebook page, Sollecito posted several pictures of himself smiling and celebrating with his family and girlfriend Greta, as he received his degree from professors at Verona University. One picture shows an iced cake with a congratulations message.
The message in Italian reads: ''Engineer Raffaele Sollecito crosses one of the most important thresholds of his life.''
His thesis, which was written in English and Italian, was called Social Network Analysis and Semantic Proximity and he passed with top marks.
He said: ''It was a sort of experiment on myself ... I'm delighted that I have graduated and now look forward to the future. I've got some more exams to do then I am working on a secret project for a company but I need funds to finance it.''
Sollecito has had to surrender his passport since he was found guilty in January, while Knox has remained at home in Seattle and vowed never to return to Italy, she - like him - protesting her innocence.
During the next few months, their legal teams will prepare their appeal case which means further agony for the Kercher family, who have been through three court cases since the murder in the Italian hilltop town of Perugia in 2007.
A source close to the family said: ''The pain for them goes on. They will never experience the joy of Meredith graduating, but Sollecito and Knox are carrying on with their lives.''
Meredith, 20, was found dead in her bedroom in the house she shared with Knox, just two months after moving to Italy as part of her own degree course.
Judges initially ruled in the first trial in 2009 she had been killed as part of a drug-fuelled sex game that had gone wrong.
Then, two years later, Knox and Sollecito were cleared, only for the appeal court to reinstate the verdicts - this time saying Meredith was killed due to a domestic argument that had spun out of control.
Earlier this month, Sollecito gave a press conference in Rome in which he appeared to distance himself from his co-accused and said he was ''not a guarantor'' for Knox.
He added that he could not be sure if she was with him the whole night when the murder took place.