Italy's highest criminal court on Thursday upheld the conviction and 16-year prison sentence of a young man from the Ivory Coast for the 2007 murder of a British student.

Meredith Kercher's body, stabbed in the neck and lying in a pool of blood, was found in the room of a flat she shared with American student Amanda Knox of Seattle, who was convicted in a separate trial of the murder and sentenced to 26 years.

Knox's appeals trial recently began in Perugia, a town in Umbria famed for its university with a large population of foreign students.

Co-defendant in that appeals trial is her former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, who was sentenced in 25 years in prison for the murder in the lower level criminal court.

Rudy Hermann Guede of Ivory Coast, Knox and Sollecito have each denied killing Kercher.

A lawyer for the Kercher family, who attended the Cassation's session, expressed "satisfaction for closing the case" against Guede.

At Knox's last appearance last week, at her appeals trial, the American broke down in tears while making an emotional speech to the court. She called herself the innocent victim of an "enormous" mistake and denied being the "dangerous, diabolical, jealous, uncaring, violent" person described by the prosecution. She declared that Sollecito was also wrongly convicted.

At the appeals trial, defense lawyers for Knox and Sollecito are seeking a full review on the forensic evidence, including disputed DNA evidence that was found on a knife allegedly used in the murder and on the clasp of Kercher's bra.