Italian police find body of British female student in Perugia

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The Independent Online

A British university student was found dead yesterday with her throat slashed in the bedroom of a house in the Umbrian town of Perugia, Italian news reports said.

The victim was identified as Meredith Kercher, 22, British Embassy spokesman Pierluigi Puglia said, according to the reports. He said he had no other information, including the woman's hometown.

It was also not immediately known what she was studying in Perugia, which is famed for its university for foreigners.

Police officers found Kercher's body when they went to the house to return a cell phone that had been found in a garden of an elderly woman's home in Perugia, the ANSA news agency and Rome daily La Repubblica's Web site reported. Authorities had determined that the phone belonged to Kercher.

Police in Perugia, 105 miles north of Rome, declined to discuss the investigation.

Italian state TV said the house was found with its door closed from the inside, and that police hypothesized that perhaps an assailant left by a window, which had bloodstains.

Perugia's medical examiner, who was working on the case, said he could not immediately give details.