Rudy Guede granted early release after Italian supreme court ruling

Guards escort man out of Italian high security building in Verona, 6 1/2 years after Kercher’s 2007 murder

Rudy Guede, convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering the British student Meredith Kercher in Italy six years ago, has been released from prison, hours after he had won his fight for early release.

Guede’s release after almost six years behind bars had been scheduled to occur on 25 October, but he was put on formal probation for two years instead due to a paperwork mix-up.

In a last-minute decision the Florence high court on Friday ruled Guede had completed all of his parole conditions after serving half of his eight-year sentence for murdering the 21-year-old.

The British embassy had written to Italy’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, protesting against the early release.

One of those who had lodged an appeal against the court’s decision to release the man they called “Son of Satan” was Knox’s boyfriend, American Raffaele Sollecito.

At a hearing in Florence last month, Sollecito told the court his relationship with Knox, who was in the courtroom, was now a “pure business”.

In his ruling, Florence judge Alessandro Nencini ruled the man he put on formal probation – convicted with Knox and Kercher’s former housemate, Italian Rudy Guede, in 2010 for the murder – had completed all the requirements for early release.

Once the man was granted parole there was nothing else the court could do but rule in his favour.

Amanda Knox and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito during her murder trial in Perugia, Italy. Photograph: Allison Joyce/Getty Images

The prison where he was put under formal probation, a high-security prison in Verona, were not immediately open to the media, but a statement from the Italian embassy in Rome said: “We are aware of the sentence of the Florence superior court granting Rudy Guede early release, and we will work with his lawyer to avoid any violations of his rights in the future.”

Guede, now 31, was originally convicted in 2009 with Knox of killing Kercher in the Perugia apartment they shared. He spent four years in a detention centre in Verona before being transferred to prison after his conviction was upheld.

At the time of the 2007 murder, Guede moved into the apartment after his roommate, Knox, and Kercher’s then-housemate, Amanda Knox, went out for the night.

Guede had said he was not involved in the murder but had admitted he had been at the flat for hours and left when he saw that Guede was under suspicion. Guede later retracted his previous statements.

Guede was arrested and charged in November 2008 after detectives found traces of DNA belonging to him and Kercher on her body.

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