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AMANDA KNOX

Knox murder acquittal ‘incoherent’ – Italian court

A ruling acquitting US student Amanda Knox over the brutal murder of her British housemate in 2007 had numerous contradictory and incoherent elements, Italy's highest appeals court said Tuesday, explaining its decision to order a retrial.

Knox murder acquittal 'incoherent' - Italian court
Amanda Knox pictured on her return to the US from Italy in 2011. Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images/AFP

Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito – originally sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison for killing Meredith Kercher – were acquitted on appeal in 2011 after four years behind bars.

In an astonishing legal about-turn, the supreme court quashed the acquittal in March, and in the 74-page document summing up its decision, it cited "numerous examples of shortcomings, contradictions and incoherencies" in the ruling.

Among other things, it found fault with the time-scale of the murder that the appeals court had relied upon, saying that the "harrowing scream" heard by several witnesses pushed back the time of the crime.

Both Knox and Sollecito face a retrial in a Florence court, although no date has yet been set.

"We do not fear any further in-depth analysis because it will just make clearer the fact that Sollecito is extraneous to all the accusations," his lawyer Giulia Bongiorno told journalists.

Kercher, 21, was found half-naked with her throat slashed in a pool of blood in her bedroom in the house in the university town of Perugia that she shared with Knox in November 2007.

A third person, Ivory Coast-born drifter Rudy Guede, who like the other two accused has always denied the murder, is the only person still in prison for the crime.

Prosecutors alleged that Kercher was killed in a drug-fuelled sex attack, claiming Knox delivered the final blows while Sollecito and Guede held the victim down.

Investigators insist that 47 knife wounds on Kercher and the apparent use of two different knives in the attack meant that more than one killer had been involved.

Lawyers for Knox and Kercher's family refused to comment to AFP on the appeal court documents.

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AMANDA KNOX

‘I am afraid’: Amanda Knox breaks down at Italy forum

Amanda Knox told an Italian legal forum Saturday she feared "harassment" and "new accusations" four years after she was acquitted of the gruesome killing of her British housemate.

'I am afraid': Amanda Knox breaks down at Italy forum
Acquitted murder suspect Amanda Knox broke down at the "Trial by Media" session at the Criminal Justice Festival in the northern city of Modena. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
Knox, from Seattle, spent four years behind bars after the half-naked body of fellow exchange student Meredith Kercher was found on November 2, 2007 in a bedroom of the apartment they shared in the central Italian city of Perugia.
   
Now, the 31-year-old is controversially back in Italy for a discussion panel entitled “Trial by Media” at the Criminal Justice Festival in the northern city of Modena.
   
“To tell the truth I am afraid, afraid of being harassed, insulted, afraid of being trapped and new accusations being directed at me,” Knox said.
 
“I have come back because it was something I had to do — there was a time when I felt at home in this beautiful country and I hope one day to recapture this feeling,” Knox, speaking in Italian, told the forum, her voice often close to breaking.
 
Amanda Knox said that her return to Italy was 'something I had to do'. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
 
'Many think I am wicked'
 
“I know that, despite my acquittal, I remain a controversial figure in the face of public opinion, especially here in Italy. I know many people think I am wicked,” said the American.
   
“Some have even suggested that by being here I am once again traumatising the Kercher family and profaning Meredith's memory,” she went on. “They are wrong,” she insisted.
   
“The fact I continue to be held responsible for the Kerchers' pain shows how powerful false narratives can be and how they can undermine justice, especially when reinforced and amplified by the media,” said Knox.
   
The conference has been organised by a group of Modena lawyers and the Italy Innocence Project, which focuses “on the issues related to wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice”.
   
“The Italy Innocence Project didn't yet exist when I was wrongly convicted in Perugia,” Knox tweeted in May.
 
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From the outset, her case sparked lurid headlines in Britain and Knox's hometown of Seattle, Washington.
 
Prosecutors described the murder as a drug-fuelled sex game gone awry involving Knox, her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and an Ivorian drifter, Rudy Guede.
   
Sollecito was acquitted alongside Knox, but Guede was convicted in a separate “fast track” trial and is serving a 16-year jail term in Italy.
   
Defence lawyers argued their clients could not get a fair trial because of the media frenzy over the murder, with lurid headlines seizing on the young US student's nickname “Foxy Knoxy”.
   
Knox left Italy after she was acquitted on appeal in 2011.
   
In an essay published online on Wednesday, she recalled fleeing the country “in a high-speed chase, paparazzi literally ramming the back of my stepdad's rental car”.
   
Knox's sentence was raised to 28 years in prison when her conviction was upheld in 2014, though both she and Sollecito were finally acquitted by Italy's top court the following year and she returned home to work as a journalist and commentator.
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