The appeals court stated the murder and sexual violence charges against her and Sollecito were 'not corroborated by any objective element of evidence'If they had investigated that obvious lead, it would have quickly led them to Guede.

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After stumbling on Kercher, assaulting and robbing her, he may have smashed the window from the inside to create an expedient means of exit.

His DNA was found in Kercher’s pocket-book and credit cards. In truth, what’s astonishing is that Knox ever stood trial.

But by that time Knox had become such a focus of the media’s attention, and the putative sex games by an angel-faced killer such a cornerstone of the story, that the Italian prosecutors were not about to abandon their group murder theory, even though Patrick Lumumba was now out of the frame.

Rudy Guede's palm print was on the bloodstained pillow under Kercher's hips. He also wore Nike trainers that were consistent with the bloody footprint on the floor One stumbling block was the total absence of evidence that Guede was with either Knox or Sollecito, or that he had ever met Sollecito.

Initially, Sollecito fully supported her alibi, but during three days of questioning, he changed his story, saying Knox had left his flat at 9pm to go to a bar, Le Chic, where she worked, and that she did not return until after midnight.

Under intensive interrogation, in which Knox was threatened with jail — and without being given access to a lawyer — she also altered her story, suddenly implicating Patrick Lumumba, the Congo-born owner of the Le Chic bar, as the killer.

Romanelli and Mezzetti, both legal trainees in their late twenties, were also away and had solid alibis.

After initial police investigations, only one suspect remained, Amanda Knox, a beautiful 20-year-old American student from Seattle, who was at the house when the police arrived, kissing her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito Her alibi was provided by Sollecito, whom she had met the previous week at a classical musical recital.

His story was that Kercher herself had invited him to the cottage and they had consensual sexual contact.