Knox ‘saddened and frightened by unjust’ guilty verdict

Amanda Knox has said she was frightened and saddened after being found guilty of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher and that “justice was perverted”.

She made the comments after she and Raffaele Sollecito had their previous acquittal overruled by judges in Florence.

It is the third time American Knox, 26, and Italian national Sollecito, 29, have faced trial over the death in Perugia in 2007.

Neither defendant was in the courtroom as the verdict was announced, though Sollecito had attended the lengthy hearings.

Members of Kercher’s family were there for the verdict.

In a statement issued by Knox, she said she was “frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict”.

She said the grief of the Kercher family “will follow them forever” and said they “deserve respect and support”.

The statement went on: “I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict, having been found innocent before. I expected better from the Italian justice system.

“The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather nothing has changed. There has always been a marked lack of evidence.

“My family and I have suffered greatly from the wrongful persecution.”

Knox said this has “gotten out of hand”.

“Most troubling is that it was entirely preventable,” she said.

She described the investigation as “prejudiced and narrow-minded”. She said there was an “unwillingness to admit mistakes”, and added that there was a “reliance on unreliable testimony and evidence”.

Knox said there was a “character assassination” as well as “inconsistent and unfounded accusatory theory”, along with “counter-productive and coercive interrogation techniques that produced false confessions and inaccurate statements”.

She added: “Clearly a wrongful conviction is horrific for the wrongfully accused, and it is also terribly bad for the victim, their surviving family and society.”

The co-accused were originally found guilty of murder in 2009, and were handed jail terms totalling more than 50 years.

They were cleared nearly two years later, but the appeal court ordered a fresh trial in March last year.

Yesterday, after lengthy deliberations, the court heard that both were guilty. It is unknown whether the duo will appeal, or whether Knox could be extradited from the US to Italy.

Rudy Guede, a drug dealer, is serving a 16-year sentence over the death — though the courts have said he did not act alone.

Kercher, a 21-year-old Leeds University student from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found with her throat slashed in the bedroom of the house she shared with Knox in Perugia, central Italy, in Nov 2007.

Prosecutors claimed Kercher was the victim of a drug-fuelled sex game gone awry.

Knox and her former boyfriend Sollecito have consistently protested their innocence and claim they were not even in the apartment on the night Kercher died.

Knox was convicted of the murder in Dec 2009 along with Sollecito following a high-profile trial, with Knox sentenced to 26 years in prison and Sollecito 25.

The pair were later cleared in 2011 after an appeal court found the prosecution lacking and criticised large swathes of the case against them.

Italy’s highest criminal court, the Court of Cassation, ruled last March that an appeal court in Florence must re-hear the case against Knox and Sollecito.

Knox, who now lives in Seattle, said she would not attend due to being unable to afford to travel to Italy and remained in the US for the duration of the retrial.

Lawyers for Sollecito, who was given a 25-year term, said they would take their appeal to Italy’s top court.

“There isn’t a shred of proof,” said lawyer Luca Maori.


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