11/04/2013 10:23 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Raffaelle Sollecito Paid Secret Visit To Meredith Kercher's Grave


Raffaele Sollecito has paid a secret visit to the grave of murdered student Meredith Kercher, it has emerged.

Computer studies graduate Sollecito, 29, is currently back on trial accused of the knife killing, along with his former girlfriend Amanda Knox, 26.

The news that he went to Meredith’s grave will come as a shock to her family who have asked several times that Knox stay away from the final resting place - despite her making several pleas to visit.

Details of Sollecito’s secret trip to the grave emerged during an Italian TV programme to mark the sixth year anniversary of the murder in Perugia and came just days before he is due to attend the retrial ordered by Italy’s Supreme Court earlier this year.

According to the programme Sollecito was taken to the cemetery at Coulsdon, Surrey, by an English friend of his while visiting London in March - at the same time as the retrial was announced.

He did not ask for permission from Meredith’s family and according to the programme he “said a silent prayer” for the British student but did not leave any flowers.

The Kercher family have never accepted Sollecito and Knox’s insistence they had nothing to do with Meredith’s murder - the 20-year-old was found semi-naked with her throat cut in her bedroom in the house she shared with Knox and two Italian women.

In September Knox stunned the Kercher family with a bizarre request, saying that she hoped one day she could visit the final resting place of her friend.

However, in a statement Meredith’s sister Stephanie Kercher, made it clear the family will not concede to her wish, as she said: “Her grave is now the safest place for her, she can rest in peace and be with us. I hope that is respected by everybody.

“It took five years for us to be ready as a family to bury Meredith, and even today it is still extremely painful. Now she has a place where we and her friends can go spend some time with her and take her some flowers.

“I hope that she can continue to rest in peace, despite the judicial process still ongoing but knowing Mez she will fight until the end. The 6th November 2007 was the hardest day of my life. I had to go to Italy to identify the body of my little sister, stretched out cold and lifeless.

“I would not wish that on anyone, it is something I will never forget. My mother and I were the last ones to hug Mez that day, to let her know that we were there and that we were there to bring her home.”

Knox and her then boyfriend Sollecito, 29, were arrested and charged five days after the murder in November 2007 and at their initial trial in 2009 they were convicted and sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively.

But two years later an appeal court sensationally overturned the original verdict and they were immediately freed with Knox flying back to her home in Seattle where she was given a hero’s welcome, while Sollecito returned to his home in Bisceglie near Bari.

However it has since emerged that he has moved to the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic but his father has insisted he will return later this week to appear at the trial in Florence where he is expected to make a formal statement to the court.

Last week a fresh forensic report ordered by the court was leaked and it revealed that although Knox’s DNA was on a knife believed to be the murder weapon crucially there was no trace of Meredith or Sollecito on it.

Sollecito’s father Francesco said: “I have communicated the results to my son and naturally he is delighted. We have always said he had nothing to do with the death of poor Meredith. He is living in the Dominican Republic at the moment but he will return this week for the trial.”

Mr Sollecito added he had “no details” of his son’s visit to the grave but said his son has always felt huge sympathy for the Kercher family for the loss of Meredith.

Drifter Rudy Guede, 26, was convicted of murdering and sexually assaulting Meredith in 2008 and sentenced to 30 years but this was later reduced to 16 years and he could be released on parole by 2018.

Meredith’s mother Arline today declined to comment on Sollecito’s visit saying: “I have nothing to say about it - I have no view.”



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