The only person to be convicted of the murder of UK exchange student Meredith Kercher, has been released. Rudy Guede’s sentence was reduced and he has been granted early release.
Initially, three people were convicted of Kercher’s murder: Guede, Meredith’s American flatmate Amanda Knox and her then Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.
Meredith Kercher was sexually assaulted and murdered in her home in Perugia, in central Italy. The case was criticised for the manner in which it was handled.
Ms Kercher, from south London, had been in Perugia for three months on an exchange from Leeds University when she was killed. She was studying modern history, political theories and history of cinema.
Her family has continually campaigned for the truth. Six years ago, her sister Stephanie said they were unlikely to ever know what really happened.
Morally appropriate sentence?
Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca said that while Guede had served his time there was a moral issue about the length of the sentence.
“From a moral standpoint, of concrete and effective justice, clearly the term he served was very low with respect to the tragic nature of the event,” he said as quoted by Ansa.
Guede’s initial 30-year jail term was cut to 16 years. The Ivorian national spent the past year doing community service and was due to be freed in January. However, Viterbo magistrates granted him early release.
Guede’s lawyer, Fabrizio Ballarini, told Italian media, “My initial thoughts are with Meredith Kercher’s family who’ve been confronted by this painful affair”.
Kercher case: never clear what happened
In the days after Kercher’s murder, Guede left Perugia and travelled to Germany. His fingerprints were found at the scene of the murder.
After his extradition back to Italy he chose a fast-track trial. This was held in a closed session without journalists present, and was subsequently convicted of the murder. However, Guede has continually denied the murder.
He was given partial prison release in 2017. His lawyer said his client was “calm and socially well integrated”. In the last year, Guede volunteered for the charity Carita, as well as working as a librarian at the Viterbo criminological studies centre.
Knox and Sollecito
Ms Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were separately convicted of Ms Kercher’s murder in 2009.
The pair served four years behind bars before the convictions were overturned.
After a number of appeals and retrials Italy’s highest court acquitted them both definitively in March 2015.
In 2011, Knox was acquitted on the basis of DNA evidence. Prosecutors successfully appealed and her acquittal was struck down. In 2014, Knox was again found guilty in absentia after a retrial and sentenced to 28 years and six months in jail.
It finally came to an end when Italy’s highest court overturned their convictions.
As reported in the NYPost, Knox urged Guede to now tell the truth, with a tweet. “Guede holds a tremendous power to heal others harmed by his actions.
“He has the power to tell the truth, to take responsibility, to stop blaming me for the rape and murder of Meredith Kercher, which a wealth of evidence shows he committed alone.”
“Were he to actually acknowledge his responsibility, it would bring closure to the Kercher family, it would end the murky speculation around this case, it would restore my wrongly damaged reputation.”