UK

Meredith Kercher family: We're still on journey to truth

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Media captionMeredith Kercher's brother, Lyle: "If someone is convicted of a crime they should serve that punishment"

The family of murdered British student Meredith Kercher have said they "are still on a journey to the truth" and may never know what happened to her.

It comes after guilty verdicts were reinstated against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the 2007 murder.

An Italian court sentenced Knox to 28 years and six months, and Sollecito to 25 years, on Thursday, with their lawyers saying they would appeal.

Knox remains in the US and Meredith's family called for her to be extradited.

Reports suggest her Italian ex-boyfriend Sollecito is being held by police after he was found in Udine, near the Slovenian and Austrian borders.

Miss Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon in south London, was stabbed to death in the flat she shared with Knox in the college city of Perugia.

'Remember Meredith'

Meredith's sister Stephanie told a press conference in Florence on Friday: "I think we are still on a journey for the truth and it may be the fact that we don't ever really know what happened that night, which is obviously something we'll have to come to terms with."

She added: "We hope that we are nearer the end so that we can just start to remember Meredith for who she was and draw a line under it, as it were."

Her brother Lyle said he believed extradition would be appropriate "if someone has been found guilty and convicted of a murder, and if an extradition law exists between those two countries".

Knox, 26, has said she will only be extradited to Italy from the US "kicking and screaming".

In a statement after the case concluded, she said she was "frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict".

Sollecito's lawyer, Luca Maori, said his client had heard the verdict on TV and looked "annihilated".

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Image caption Meredith's siblings Stephanie and Lyle Kercher called for Amanda Knox to be extradited to Italy
Image copyright PA
Image caption Meredith Kercher was found dead in her room in the college city of Perugia
Image copyright AP
Image caption Amanda Knox, her face covered, left her parents' home in Seattle after the verdict
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Raffaele Sollecito was in court earlier on Thursday but left before the verdicts

Sollecito had earlier been at the Florence court, which imposed a travel ban on the 29-year-old and ordered that his passport be revoked.

The court noted that there was a "real and actual the danger that Sollecito could escape Italian justice" - but he is free to move in Italy until the verdict is confirmed.

Knox and Sollecito were also ordered to pay damages to Miss Kercher's family as part of the ruling.

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Media captionAmanda Knox, speaking on ABC's Good Morning America: "I will never willingly go back"

The Kercher family's lawyer, Francesco Maresca, called the verdict "justice for Meredith and the family".

Knox and Sollecito, 29, were jailed for the murder in 2009 but the verdicts were overturned in 2011 and the pair were freed.

However, the acquittals were themselves overturned last year by the Court of Cassation, which returned the case to the Florence court.

The Court of Cassation will now hear the defendants' appeals.

Creative writing degree

In Italy, verdicts are not considered final until they are confirmed, usually by the Court of Cassation.

Legal experts say it is unlikely Italy will request Knox's extradition until then.

Knox is currently studying for a degree in creative writing at the University of Washington, and lives in her hometown of Seattle.

Rudy Guede, from the Ivory Coast, was convicted of Miss Kercher's murder in 2008, and sentenced to 16 years in prison. The verdict specified that he did not commit the crime alone.

Prosecutors sought to prove Miss Kercher had died in a sex game involving Knox and Sollecito that went wrong.

They have since alleged that the murder resulted from a heated argument over cleanliness in the Perugia apartment.

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