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Knox murder appeal resumes Monday with key witness

Knox, the U.S. student convicted of killing her British flatmate in Italy three years ago, sits in the courtroom before a trial session in P
Knox, the U.S. student convicted of killing her British flatmate in Italy three years ago, sits in the courtroom before a trial session in P

ROME (Reuters) - An appeal by U.S. student Amanda Knox against her conviction for the 2007 murder of her British housemate resumes in Italy on Monday when a key witness will be heard.

Knox, 23, and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been sentenced to 26 and 25 years in jail respectively for the murder of Meredith Kercher, who was found half-naked and with her throat slit in a flat she shared with Knox in the university city of Perugia.

The appeals trial in Perugia, which began in November last year, will hear the evidence of Rudy Guede, an Ivorian who is serving a 16 year sentence for his own role in the murder and has been called to testify for the prosecution.

Guede is expected to deny evidence already given by a convicted child killer, Mario Alessi, that Guede confided to him while they were in prison together than Knox and Sollecito had nothing to do with the killing.

Guede denied killing Kercher but, unlike Knox and Sollecito, admitted being at the crime scene the night of the murder and DNA evidence showed he had had sex with her.

The Kercher murder has attracted huge media attention in Italy, the United States and Britain.

Prosecutors say it was the result of an extreme sex game that turned violent, but the defendants have always protested their innocence and Knox's family, friends, and some U.S. media, have said her conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

(Reporting by Gavin Jones)

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