Rudy Guede, convicted over the murder of Meredith Kercher, released from prison

Rudy Guede Rudy Guede, convicted over the murder of Meredith Kercher, released from prison Former student moves out of prison in Umbria and into a ‘general residence’ Rudy Guede says he is now a…

Rudy Guede, convicted over the murder of Meredith Kercher, released from prison

Rudy Guede Rudy Guede, convicted over the murder of Meredith Kercher, released from prison Former student moves out of prison in Umbria and into a ‘general residence’ Rudy Guede says he is now a ‘simple man’ after finishing serving seven years of a 16-year sentence for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Photograph: Paolo Bona/Reuters

Rudy Guede, the convicted killer of British student Meredith Kercher, has been released from a prison in Umbria after serving seven years of a 16-year sentence.

Guede, 33, left the Piedmont town of Perugia on Monday for a residence nearby where he has been ordered to reside for five years, after a person familiar with the situation told the Guardian he had been released.

The supreme court had overturned his life sentence for the 2007 murder in 2011 and ordered him to serve 14 years.

Guede had always maintained he acted on the spur of the moment when he found Kercher, 21, unconscious in her bedroom in Perugia.

In 2008 a court in Perugia concluded Guede bludgeoned Kercher to death with a barbell, and sexually assaulted her. But the jury cleared his former flatmate, Amanda Knox, of murder and Kercher’s sister, Stephanie, said they were encouraged by the fact that Guede had been given a lighter sentence.

“Six years ago, the Italian court was an absolute shambles, made up of judges who had no understanding of the principles of a fair trial,” Stephanie Kercher said. “The victims, and now their families, have seen justice served. It’s not about one person and the conviction that was handed down after a trial; it’s about setting a precedent to help criminals behind bars and let them out.”

Stephanie Kercher said that she was reluctant to say “credit” to Guede for making it to this stage. “Everyone should be able to be free and don’t deserve to spend the rest of their lives in prison, but anyone who has to go through the injustice of that verdict deserves credit.”

Her husband, Chris Kercher, described the verdict as “a step forward and a chance to support and encourage families still suffering.”

Guede had been at his flat in Perugia around 3am on 1 November in 2007 when he claimed he heard a noise and went into the bedroom, where he saw a naked Kercher, who was bleeding from two stab wounds. She had also suffered a fractured skull, and other injuries.

Guede had already been convicted in his absence in November 2008 of the murder and sexual assault of Kercher. A month later, he was found guilty of slashing the throat of Knox in the Perugia jail. He was additionally sentenced to four years for sexual violence.

Guede was sentenced to 20 years in 2011 by a Florence court, which upheld his conviction for killing Kercher after he returned to Italy to be sentenced. But last year, an appeals court in Florence reduced his life sentence, throwing out the minimum 15-year minimum mandatory prison term he was originally sentenced to for murder.

Rudy Guede in jail in Perugia. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

That decision sparked outrage among Kercher’s family. “This is a blatant injustice,” her mother, Arline Kercher, had said, accusing Perugia’s court of perverting the course of justice.

On Monday night, the Florence court confirmed the reduction of Guede’s life sentence, which was upheld by the supreme court on 13 September.

Guede has been at a women’s prison in Perugia since his conviction in 2009. He reportedly moved back to London on 19 September.

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