Knox-ex boyfriend says not together for whole night of Kercher murder

ROME Tue Jul 1, 2014 12:11pm EDT

Raffaele Sollecito (L), convicted of killing British student Meredith Kercher in Italy on November 2007, talks with his father Francesco as they leave after attending a retrial session in Florence January 30, 2014. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito

Raffaele Sollecito (L), convicted of killing British student Meredith Kercher in Italy on November 2007, talks with his father Francesco as they leave after attending a retrial session in Florence January 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Giampiero Sposito

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ROME (Reuters) - The former boyfriend of Amanda Knox, on trial with her for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, distanced himself from his co-defendant on Tuesday, saying the two had not been together for the whole evening when the crime took place.

Raffaele Sollecito, convicted alongside Knox of the murder in 2009 and cleared on appeal four years later, was reconvicted in January this year after a retrial and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He is currently appealing against the verdict.

Speaking at a news conference in Rome on Tuesday, he said he was convinced of the innocence of Knox, who has returned to the United States and shows no signs of wanting to return to Italy, but that he could not speak on her behalf.

"My name is Raffaele Sollecito, not Amanda Marie Knox, I have to respond as Raffaele Sollecito," he said.

His lawyer Giulia Bongiorno said Sollecito had been concerned to read in the court's written reasoning for the January verdict that evidence from Knox's mobile telephone showed the couple had not been together for the whole evening of Nov. 1, when Kercher was murdered.

She said that this did not damage the credibility of her client, who could only answer for what he knew.

"Raffaele, as you'll all remember, has always maintained that he spent the night with Amanda, the night. That does not include the earlier part of the evening," she said.

"So, what he took note of was the fact that court was saying that she was not with him in the early evening and that is the new thing here, the early part of the evening," she said.

Sollecito has previously sought to establish a distance between his case and that of Knox although whether his latest declaration undermines Knox's defense is still unclear.

The two have previously said they were together on the night that Kercher was killed, eating dinner, watching a film and smoking marijuana.

Kercher, a 21-year-old from South London, was found semi-naked with her throat cut in the flat she shared with Knox in Perugia, central Italy, where they studied at the university.

(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Alison Williams)

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