Image source, PA MediaImage caption, Meredith Kercher was an exchange student at the University of Perugia in 2007

Rudy Guede, convicted of the 2007 murder of UK exchange student Meredith Kercher, has finished his sentence early saying he wants to be forgotten.

Guede was the only person jailed over the notorious sexual assault and murder in Perugia.

Meredith Kercher's American flatmate Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend were also initially convicted.

Their case ran through the courts for years before they were eventually acquitted on appeal.

Guede's initial 30-year jail term was cut to 16 years and he has spent the past year doing community service. He was due to be freed in January but magistrates in Viterbo in central Italy granted him early release.

"My initial thoughts are with Meredith Kercher's family who've been confronted by this painful affair," his lawyer, Fabrizio Ballarini, told Italian media.

Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Rudy Guede's fingerprints were found at the scene of the murder

Guede, a 34-year-old from Ivory Coast, now lives in Viterbo and his lawyer confirmed to the BBC that they had received notification that the jail sentence had been completed.

  • Who was Meredith Kercher?
  • Amanda Knox: Figure at the centre of a saga

Guede left Perugia and travelled to Germany in the days after Ms Kercher's murder. After his extradition back to Italy he chose a fast-track trial, held in a closed session without journalists present, and was subsequently convicted of the murder after his bloodstained fingerprints were identified at the scene.

However, he continues to deny murdering Ms Kercher.

He was given partial prison release in 2017, and his lawyer told local media after the ruling that his client was "calm and socially well integrated".

Ms Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were separately convicted of Ms Kercher's murder in 2009.

Their arrests and the guilty verdicts generated international media attention. The pair served four years behind bars before those convictions were overturned.

After a number of appeals and retrials Italy's highest court acquitted them both definitively in March 2015.