Raffaele Sollecito, Ex-Boyfriend Of Amanda Knox, Caught On Italian Border After Guilty Verdict

Raffaele Sollecito, the Italian found guilty alongside Amanda Knox of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, has been stopped by police on the Slovenian border with Italy, local media have reported.

The 29-year-old, who is set to serve a 25-year jail sentence for the killing in 2007, was ordered by the judge to surrender his passport and identity card, after the conviction on Thursday evening.

Banned from leaving the country, Sollecito was stopped on Friday, close to the Slovenian and Austrian borders.

Raffaele Sollecito outside a Florence court

La Republicca reported Sollecito had in fact already crossed the border to Austria, but then returned to Italy.

ANSA, the Italian news agency said he was found by officers with his current girlfriend at a hotel in the village of Venzone, about 24 miles from the border with Slovenia, at around 1am.

Florence flying squad officers and Udine police took part in the arrest, and Sollecito has been taken to the main police station in Udine, ANSA said. He was freed later with a stamp in his passport forbidding him from leaving the country.

La Repubblica quoted police who said Sollecito told them he "took a trip to Austria. Then I came back to Italy. I stopped there to rest."

"I never thought of escape. Neither before nor now," said Sollecito, through his lawyer Luca Maori, who said that Sollecito had "spontaneously" surrendered his passport.

The pair had been driving a Mini Cooper, a company car of his girlfriend's father, La Repubblica said.

But the Italian returned home before the end of the retrial, and attended court on Thursday.

The Court of Appeal of Florence yesterday sentenced Knox to 28 years and six months and Raffaele Sollecito to 25 years for the killing of Leeds University student Kercher, overturning their acquittal.

Knox, who is in her native Seattle, has said she will have to be "dragged kicking and screaming" before she will return to Italy.

Speaking at a press conference in Florence today, 21-year-old Ms Kercher's brother Lyle and sister Stephanie said they could not draw a line under her death while the process was going on.

They called for Knox to be extradited from the US and declined to comment on reports that Sollecito had been stopped by police.

"I think we are still on a journey for the truth and it may be the fact that we don't ever really know what happened that night, which is obviously something we'll have to come to terms with," Stephanie Kercher said.

Questioned about reports that Sollecito had been held by police in Udine, Lyle Kercher replied: "I've not heard that. I couldn't comment... that could be pure speculation for the sake of news for all I know."

When asked if Knox should be extradited, he said: "If somebody is found guilty and convicted of a murder and if an extradition law exists between those two countries, then I don't see why they wouldn't."

Rudy Guede, a drug dealer, is serving a 16-year sentence over the death - though the courts have said he did not act alone.