Image copyright AP Image caption Rudy Guede has been freed on licence
Rudy Guede has been released from prison – nearly a decade after he was convicted of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
He is expected to return to his native Ivory Coast and will not be expected to make a “significant contribution” to his rehabilitation, says a judge in Perugia.
A Perugia court found him guilty of murder but his lawyers appealed against the verdict.
The British High Commission said it was “pleased” for Kercher’s family that Mr Guede had been released.
The father of Ms Kercher, who was just 21 when she was found with more than 40 wounds at her home in Perugia, Italy, welcomed the news.
“It’s a new day for Meredith, for Meredith’s family and for Rudy Guede,” Arline Kercher told Italian state-run TV.
Ms Kercher was found dead in November 2007 in the house she shared with a friend, who has been named as Amanda Knox.
She was found naked, half-naked and with her throat slashed in a pool of blood.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Rudy Guede was 17 at the time
Ms Knox was sentenced to 26 years, and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito received 25 years in jail.
In 2009, Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were acquitted after their lawyers argued they were innocent, as the trial centred on a failed post-mortem examination.
Then in 2011, a retrial concluded they had killed Ms Kercher during a drug-fuelled sex game gone wrong.
In 2016, Italy’s highest court overturned the acquittals, saying the appeals trial judge “mishandled” evidence.
It said the initial account by Ms Knox’s former boyfriend Sollecito about the burglary – which caused prosecutors to claim there was bloodstained latex gloves at the crime scene – was “the concrete evidence to find guilty the two defendants”.
However, in January this year, Italy’s supreme court cleared the pair once again, because the acquittals had not been reversed before “the procedures set out in the law”.
First legal bid
Mr Guede and Ms Knox were among five defendants convicted over the killing, all of whom have since left Italy for other countries.
A media frenzy surrounded the initial prosecution of the two, with British media often strident in their support of the pair, even questioning their innocence.
But in 2009, Ms Knox was sentenced to four years in prison for assisting an armed robber in carrying out the crime.
Ms Knox’s subsequent appeals were heard before a higher appeals court in Perugia.
In 2010, Mr Guede was given 30 years for the murder of Ms Kercher – a sentence overturned by Italy’s supreme court in 2017.
He had previously served four years in prison but had to do three years under house arrest after his appeals were quashed.
His first bid for freedom – approved by Italian judge Salvatore Mafra in December 2018 – prompted an angry reaction from Mr Kercher’s family.
“I’ve never criticised Rudy Guede but what he has done is terrible,” Ms Kercher’s uncle, Peter Warner, said at the time.
“He’s a finished piece of piss. Morality has been sold for a few months ago. I’ve never been surprised by these Italian justice processes.”