By Calvin Palmer
American student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been found guilty of the murder of 21-year-old British student Meredith Kercher.
Knox, 22, was sentenced to 26 years in prison. Sollecito, 25, received a sentence of 25 years.
Kercher, of Couldsen, Surrey, was an exchange student from Leeds University and shared a flat with Knox in the Italian city of Perugia.
When she refused to take part in a drug-fueled sex game in November 2007, she ended up having her throat cut.
Police found her semi-naked body covered by a duvet. Her bedroom door was locked but the window had been broken.
Kercher’s body showed signs of bruising, and tests revealed evidence of sexual activity shortly before her death – but a post-mortem examination could not confirm she had been raped.
At first police believed Kercher had been killed as the result of a botched burglary but further investigation revealed the room had been made to look like a burglary had taken place.
Police arrested Knox and Sollecito whom prosecutors accused of killing Kercher because she had refused to take part in an extreme sex session.
A pathologist’s report said Kercher’s death was slow and painful because despite the fact that her throat was cut, the blow did not sever her carotid artery.
Prosecutors claimed that Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the likely murder weapon – a kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s house – and that traces of Kercher’s DNA were on the blade.
Knox and Sollecito were remanded in custody shortly after the killing, when they gave conflicting statements over their whereabouts on the night of the murder.
Sollecito said he was at his flat in Perugia using his computer, and he did not remember whether Knox spent the whole night with him or just part of it.
Rudy Hermann Guede, 22, who has joint Italian and Ivory Coast nationality, was convicted last year of her murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He is appealing against his conviction.
Knox and Sollecito are also thought likely to appeal against their convictions.