Raffaele Sollecito: Kercher murder case left me in debt

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Media captionRaffaele Sollecito: '500,000 euros won't fully compensate us'

Raffaele Sollecito has said he has been left in financial difficulty by the legal costs incurred while proving his innocence.

Mr Sollecito was arrested in 2007, along with his then-girlfriend Amanda Knox, for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy.

He was twice convicted, before Italy's highest court found him not guilty.

He has launched a compensation bid against the Italian government. The hearing is on Friday.

'Clear my debts'

Mr Sollecito told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme the murder was "a tragedy that has destroyed my life".

He said he hoped the court would "understand that I at least need to clear up my debts".

The amount an individual can receive in compensation from the Italian government is capped at 516,000 euros (£440,000).

Mr Sollecito said this amount would "just pay the debts we have".

He said he had sold two properties - including his late mother's apartment - to fund the legal costs incurred over the past decade.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in 2007

Mr Sollecito added that he did not believe there should be a limit on compensation "for me and anyone else who went through such an ordeal".

"They have to take care of people who go through so much. Not let it happen again."

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Ms Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon, south London, was stabbed to death in a Perugia flat she shared with Ms Knox.

In March 2015, following three previous court decisions, Mr Sollecito and Ms Knox had their convictions for her murder quashed by Italy's top appeals court.

Mr Sollecito told Derbyshire that while Ms Kercher was the "first victim" of the 2007 murder, there were "many victims in this case".

"Amanda [Knox]'s parents, my parents, all our families... there are many others made by the prosecution's mistakes."

He said he was "still facing a lot of trouble, as people don't understand why I've been acquitted.

"I have to face this kind of society. I have to face anybody that doesn't support me.

"I can talk with hundreds of people and they understand I'm innocent, but the problem is one stupid portrait in the media in a few minutes reaches five million people and I cannot control it. In an instant it can change."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Meredith Kercher was on a student exchange in Italy

Mr Sollecito said he speaks to Ms Knox "very occasionally", but that they "never talk about the case".

He lives in Italy, where he runs his own business, and is hopeful he can eventually move on from the ordeal.

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

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