(Reuters) - A murder investigation has been launched after a 22-year-old female British student was found dead in Italy.
The student, named as Meredith Kercher, was discovered partially-clothed in bed with her throat cut in the Umbrian hilltown of Perugia, 100 miles north of Rome.
Forensic officer at the sceneA police source told Sky News Online: ''This was a particularly nasty murder and the victim was found with a deep cut to her throat.''
Her body was discovered in a house she shared with three other female students close to the centre of Perugia, a town popular with foreign students.
Police said she had been to a party with friends the night before at the local university for foreigners which specialises in Italian language courses for overseas students.
Officers had been led to the house after finding her mobile phone in a nearby garden and a trace revealed her name and address.
When they could get no answer, they broke down the door and made the grim discovery in the girl's bedroom.
The victim was part of the Erasmus student exchange programme, and had been in Italy for three months after completing her degree course in Britain.
The white-washed house was surrounded by police as forensic scientists carried out a fingertip search of the building looking for clues.
A police source said the victim was found dead in her bedroom and officers were questioning her housemates as part of the investigation.
According to her profile page on the Facebook website, Miss Kercher was a former student at the University of Leeds.
Photos posted on the site yesterday show her at a Halloween party in Perugia, dressed as a vampire with fake blood coming from her mouth.
In a recent message to a friend, she said she was enjoying Perugia, where she studied modern history, political theories and the history of cinema.
"I'm having a good time thanks, it's starting to get really cold now, but the chocolate festival is on at the moment, so a good excuse to drink a lot of hot chocolate," she wrote.