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'Murderer’ seeks money online to face trial

world Updated: Jun 23, 2013 00:08 IST

Raffaele Sollecito, the Italian man facing a retrial for the murder of the British exchange student Meredith Kercher, has launched a crowd-funding project to cover his legal fees, saying he no longer has the money to fight his “ordeal”.

Along with Amanda Knox, his American ex-girlfriend, Sollecito was convicted then acquitted in 2011 of the murder of the 21-year-old in the Umbrian university town of Perugia four years earlier.

However, Italy’s highest appeals court overturned their acquittal in March and ordered a fresh appeal to take place in Florence this year. Sollecito, who denies any wrongdoing, says he is deeply concerned he will not be able to pay for the forthcoming legal battle, which he fears may span up to seven years.

“The problem for me now is pretty tough,” the 29-year-old writes on a GoFundMe webpage created on Wednesday. “I am deeply concerned, not just for the issue I am facing, which most of you already know about, but also because I do not have financial resources any more to fight this injustice.

“I badly need to be able to hire experts when needed, pay my attorneys fees, documents fees, and so on when the new appeal begins. I do not wish to bother you, but I am asking for your collaboration to face this ordeal. I do not want to be forced to give up my fight for freedom just for financial reasons.”

Sollecito said he would use funds received through the website for costs connected with the trial. Any surplus money would be donated to a research foundation, which he did not name.

In reasoning released this week, judges at the Italian supreme court made clear their belief that the fresh trial should return to the possibility that Kercher, a Leeds University student beginning a year of overseas study, was killed by more than one person.