Raffaele Sollecito 'confident but scared', says father

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Media captionMr Sollecito: "My son has never seen a dead body ... let alone killed anyone"

As Raffaele Sollecito's appeal against his conviction for the murder of UK student Meredith Kercher draws to a close, his father Francesco tells BBC News he has been living day-to-day for four years.

Dr Sollecito makes an 11 hour round trip by car every week to visit his 27-year-old son in prison in the central Italian city of Terni.

The journey from Bari in Puglia gives him plenty of time to think about his son's future, much of which rests on the verdict expected on Monday.

Having spoken to Dr Sollecito several times before on the telephone, I was not prepared for the steely silence that greeted me when I introduced myself in a cafe near the court room in Perugia.

Accompanied by his second wife, Raffaele's stepmother, he agreed to talk later, and once court proceedings ended for the day, remained true to his word.


When asked how his son is feeling, he said: "He's scared. He feels confident, but at the same time scared... Although things seem to have been going well in this appeal, he's very frightened".

Dr Sollecito is a urologist by profession, and has also acted as a medical expert in some trials - so he knows how things work and has good contacts.

All of that has helped him in his quest to prove his son's innocence.

He even went to the lengths of finding the exact model of trainer that matched the shoe print found in the apartment in which Meredith Kercher was murdered to prove it was not his son's shoe.

Image caption Dr Sollecito says he will keep fighting for his son, Raffaele, until he dies

Police later admitted he was right and they had made a mistake.

This week in court, the prosecution showed photos of Meredith's body to show the nature of the wounds. Neither Amanda Knox nor Raffaele Sollecito looked at the photos.

His father said it was because his son had never seen anything like it before.

"They upset me and I'm a medical expert, so can you imagine my son," he said.

"My son has never seen a dead body let alone killed anyone."

In court, Dr Sollecito broke down in tears at the end of a speech delivered by Raffaele's defence lawyer.

He explained: "It's very emotional. My son is a splendid boy, sensitive, grateful, responsible and so it's only a pleasure for a father to have a son like that.

"It's been four years of no life, nothing more and nothing less. We've learned to live day by day. I've tried to carry on working towards my son's defence and also working to earn money to support him."

When asked what his son would do if acquitted, he said: "We'll go home, there are no other plans. We just take one day at a time.

"Today's Friday, tomorrow's Saturday, then Sunday. Then there will be a day of the verdict. And if they finally give him back to me, I will take him home."

If his conviction was upheld, he continued, he would keep fighting for his son until he died.

Raffaele Sollecito and his former girlfriend Amanda Knox were convicted on 4 December 2009 of murder and sexual assault.

Meredith, 21, from Coulsdon, south London, was killed at her apartment in Perugia on 1 November 2007.

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