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MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish man was found guilty on Wednesday of murdering U.S. woman Denise Pikka Thiem as she was walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in north-west Spain in 2015.

Miguel Angel Munoz, 41, ambushed and killed Thiem, giving her no chance to warn others or defend herself, a summary of the decision made by the jury in the province of Leon showed.

Prosecutors have called for Munoz to be sentenced to up to 27 years in prison. He was also found guilty of stealing Thiem's belongings.

Thiem, from Phoenix, Arizona, was 40 years old when she disappeared. She was last seen near Astorga in Leon in early April 2015, and stopped communicating with friends and posting pictures on social networks on April 4.

The following September, police found her body and arrested Munoz.

The nine-member jury rejected Munoz's defence that he had been suffering from a serious psychiatric illness when he killed her.

(Reporting by Angus Berwick; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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