Meredith Kercher 'killer' seeks new trial in Italy murder saga

Rome (AFP) - Rudy Guede, the Ivorian jailed for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, on Tuesday began a bid to have his conviction quashed in the wake of Amanda Knox's acquittal over the 2007 killing.

Lawyers for Guede, who was convicted after a fast-track trial in 2008, presented an appeal court in Florence with a deposition arguing that last year's acquittal of Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito made their client's conviction unsafe.

The court must now rule whether the request for an extraordinary review of Guede's appeal trial, at which his initial sentence of 30 years was reduced to 16, is admissible.

If it does, that will open the door to a fresh trial and yet another twist in the lengthy legal saga that began with 21-year-old Kercher's half-naked body being discovered in a pool of blood in a back room of the house she shared with Knox in Perugia, central Italy.

The student's throat had been slashed and she had been stabbed 47 times.

A year after the judge in Guede's case said he could not have acted alone, Knox and Sollecito were also convicted of the murder.

But that verdict was overturned on appeal in 2011 and Knox and Sollecito were released after four years in prison.

Another court then ordered a retrial which reinstated the original convictions only for Italy's highest court to throw out all charges against the pair in March 2015.

Six months later the court released a written judgement which said the ruling reflected "major flaws" in the police's handling of the investigation, the absence of a "body of evidence" allowing for a safe conviction and the absence of any admissible DNA evidence linking the two to the grisly murder.

Legal experts said at the time that the Knox-Sollecito acquittal was tantamount to saying Guede acted alone, in contradiction of the judge's summing up in his first trial.

The Ivory Coast-born drifter has always maintained his innocence. He has testified to having had consensual sex with Kercher on the night of her murder but claims he went to the bathroom and came back to find her body.

Sollecito said Tuesday that he did not understand Guede's move.

"Amanda and I are innocent and we were not at the scene of the crime," he told the ANSA news agency.

"What he has to say does not interest me. It does not make sense to me. There were traces of him at the scene of the crime, he told lies and the alibi he initially gave ended up casting him in a bad light.

"After he found Meredith dying he went to a disco and then fled to Germany. These are the facts."