'I'll never accept being called a murderer'

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Raffaele Sollecito was on Friday cleared of the killing of British student Meredith Kercher. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
12:23 CEST+02:00
Raffaele Sollecito, who was on Friday cleared of the killing of British student Meredith Kercher, has said he "will never accept being called a murderer".

During a press conference, the 31-year-old said he was labelled a murderer "without a shred of evidence".

He added that during the ordeal, which lasted more than seven years, his family had been "torn apart".

"It's not true that I wasn't expecting this sentence," he was quoted by La Repubblica as saying.

"This sentence had to end this way. Now I can get on with my life."

Sollecito also said that his relationship with Amanda Knox, also acquitted of the murder by Italy's top court, had been one of pure affection and that they had not been accomplices in Kercher's murder.

"My relationship with Amanda was a simple story of affection. From this moment on I will not accept being labelled a murderer."

Sollecito said he had spoken to Knox, 27, but did not have any plans to meet up again.

The Italian was twice convicted of having helped Knox in the knife slaying of Kercher in the university town of Perugia in 2007.

The case against the pair was thrown out on the basis that a series of blunders in the police investigation and earlier trials meant it could never be proven the former couple were at the scene of the crime.

Sollecito, who heard the news of his legal victory from his sister, who was present in court, said he felt like "somebody who had been kidnapped and then freed after seven years and five months."

"When I got the call from my sister, it was like being reborn, it was the start of a new life," he said.

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But for the Kercher family, the final verdict is a bitter pill to swallow.

Her mother, Arline, said on Friday she was “surprised and very shocked” by the verdict, and that the decision by the Court of Cassation in Rome was “odd” given the pair had been convicted twice following the killing in 2007.

Sollecito said: “I’m sorry that the family of Meredith is disappointed. But they have to believe that the truth is the final judgement.” 

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