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Student 'killed after sex row'.

ROME: Police arrested three suspects yesterday over the murder of a British exchange student in central Italy, including her American flatmate, and said her assailants "apparently had a sexual motive."

Authorities detained 20-year-old American Amanda Marie Knox, her 24-year-old boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and a Congolese barman, 38, identified as Lumumba "Patrick" Diya, Perugia police commissioner Arturo De Felice said.

Briton Meredith Kercher, from south London, was found dead with her throat slit in her bedroom in an apartment in Perugia.

Her assailants tried to "overcome (her) sexually" and killed her when she resisted, De Felice said, citing initial findings.

Officials have said initial autopsy results showed Kercher was not raped.

"It was a horrible death, an awful occurrence in which people that were in this young woman's home tried to bring her into relations that she didn't want to have, and she was killed," Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said.

De Felice said Knox had met Diya at the bar where he works, but it was unclear whether he knew Kercher.

Kercher, an exchange student from Leeds University, had arrived in Italy in August and had three flatmates, the American and two Italians.

Police were looking into her last telephone conversations.

In a statement released by Scotland Yard, Kercher's family said: "Meredith touched the lives of everyone she met with her infectious, upbeat personality, smile and sense of humour.

"We would like to appeal to anyone who may feel they have any information, no matter how trivial it may seem, to contact their local police and to help us bring to justice the person who has destroyed so many lives," they said.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:May 1, 2008
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