Convict denies saying Knox innocent of Kercher murder in Italy
Jun 27, 2011, 13:21 GMT
Perugia, Italy - A man convicted of murdering the British student Meredith Kercher in Italy denied Monday telling several prison cellmates that his co-accused, American student Amanda Knox, was innocent.
Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede, who was living in Perugia at the time of the 2007 murder of Kercher, was testifying in an appeals trial for Knox and her former boyfriend, Italian Rafaelle Sollecito.
Guede was called as a witness by Knox and Sollecito's lawyers to corroborate statements made at a previous hearing by five fellow convicts, in particular Mario Alessi.
Alessi, who is serving a life-sentence for abducting and murdering a 18-month-old boy, said that Guede had told him that Knox and Sollecito were not present when Kercher was killed in the home she shared with the US student in Perugia.
But on Monday, Guede confirmed his previous accusations against Knox and Sollecito.
'Everything I had to say, I said it to the magistrates and to my lawyers,' Guede told the Perugia court, denying he had given Alessi and other convicts a different account of events regarding Kercher's murder.
Guede who had opted for a separate, fast-track trial was in 2008 sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexually assaulting and murdering Kercher whose body was found half naked with her throat slit. His sentence was subsequently reduced to 16 years on appeal.
Knox, 23, and Sollecito, 27, were convicted of the murder in 2009.
Both deny any wrongdoing. Their appeal centres on what their lawyers say is disputed DNA evidence linking them to the scene of the murder - the Perugia house Kercher shared with Knox.
The evidence includes a knife found in Sollecito's apartment with Knox's DNA on the handle and a metal clasp from Kercher's bra with traces of Sollecito's DNA.
The trial in Perugia, a picturesque and normally tranquil central Italian university town, has attracted huge international media attention particularly from the US and Britain.
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