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Knox co-defendant found at hotel near border

31 January 2014, 14:03

Florence - Police have found Amanda Knox's ex-boyfriend near Italy's border with Slovenia and Austria after he and the American student were convicted for a second time in the death of British student Meredith Kercher.

Raffaele Sollecito's lawyer, Luca Maori, said his client voluntarily went to police on Friday and that he was in the area of Italy's north-eastern border because that's where his current girlfriend lives.

However, the cabinet chief of the Udine police station, Giovanni Belmonte, said police showed up at about 01:00 Friday at the hotel in Venzone, about 40km from the border, where Sollecito and the girlfriend were staying.

They took him to the Udine police station, took his passport and put a stamp in his Italian identity papers showing that he cannot leave the country, as mandated by the appeals court in Florence.

Since the court didn't order Sollecito be detained, he will be freed as soon as the paperwork is completed, Belmonte said. He said Sollecito was calm and came willingly to the station, with his girlfriend driving behind.

Asked if police thought he might have fled the country, Belmonte said: "We don't know his intentions," but said police were tipped off to his presence in the hotel and came immediately.

In Italy, adults checking into hotels must hand over ID, which the hotels are then required to communicate to local police.

The court in Florence on Thursday upheld the conviction against Knox and Sollecito, sentencing Knox to 28½ years in prison and Sollecito to 25 years for Kercher's 2007 murder.

It did not immediately order Sollecito's arrest and noted that Knox was "justifiably abroad" after an appeals court in 2011 acquitted the pair and ordered them freed.

- AP


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