This combo image made of file pictures shows US student Amanda Knox (L) and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia (AFP)
FLORENCE: A court in Florence yesterday sentenced American student Amanda Knox to 28 years and six months in prison for the murder of her British housemate in 2007.
The court, after 12 hours of deliberations, also found Knox’s former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito guilty for killing Meredith Kercher in the university town of Perugia and sentenced him to 25 years.
Knox was following the proceedings from her hometown of Seattle in the United States, where she has lived since a previous acquittal in 2011.
“It was a real blow,” said her lawyer, Luciano Ghirga.
Experts say it is extremely unlikely Knox could be extradited even if the sentence is upheld by the supreme court, although her freedom of movement outside the United States could be curtailed.
Sollecito was also not in court for the verdict, although he attended a hearing earlier yesterday.
Presiding judge Alessandro Nencini ordered that Sollecito’s passport be withdrawn to stop him leaving the country.
“This conviction was based on nothing. It’s absurd. Raffaele Sollecito is innocent,” Sollecito’s lawyer, Luca Maori, told reporters after the verdict.
Maori said he would appeal to the supreme court.
Leeds University exchange student Kercher was found dead in the house she shared with Knox on November 2, 2007 in mediaeval Perugia in central Italy.
Knox, Sollecito and a third person, drug dealer Rudy Guede, were initially convicted for the crime, which prosecutors said was the result of a sex game turned violent due to tensions between Kercher and Knox.
Guede is now the only one of the three still in prison after exhausting his appeals but investigators say that multiple stab wounds on the body from two different knives indicate he could not have acted alone.