Unflushed toilet ‘may have caused Knox to kill’

An Italian prosecutor has demanded that an appeal court find Amanda Knox guilty of the 2007 murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, a killing he argued may have been rooted in arguments about cleanliness and triggered by a toilet left unflushed by the only man now in jail for the murder.

Prosecutor Alessandro Crini called for 26-year sentences for Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, her co-defendant and former boy-friend, following more than 10 hours of closing arguments over two days. Knox and Sollecito deny any involvement in the killing.

Mr Crini departed from past scenarios by suggesting the crime was not so much sexually fuelled but an act of physical violence with a sexual expression. He alleged Knox and Sollecito acted in concert with another man in an explosion of violence sparked by tension between Knox and Ms Kercher.

Mr Crini argued that Rudy Guede — a native of Ivory Coast now serving a 16-year sentence for the murder — may have inflamed tensions between Knox and Ms Kercher after he defecated in a toilet inside the women’s apartment and didn’t flush.

Mr Crini said Guede, who was friendly with young men living in a neighbouring apartment, had done the same thing the previous week.

Ms Kercher’s murder in the idyllic hillside town of Perugia is getting its third trial after Italy’s highest court annulled an appellate ruling overturning the 2009 guilty verdicts against Knox and Sollecito. They were convicted in the first trial, and sentenced to 26 years and 25 years, respectively. Knox’s sentence included one year for slander.

Ms Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood in her locked bedroom on Nov 2, 2007. Her throat was slit and there were signs of sexual aggression.

She was stripped naked during the attack, and prosecutors allege that her bra was removed with a knife that tore off a clasp, one of the most-disputed pieces of evidence in the case.

Mr Guede was convicted in the murder on evidence that included physical evidence from a swab of the victim.

Mr Crini also urged that Knox’s separate sentence for slander for falsely blaming Ms Kercher’s murder on a Congolese-born bar owner, Diya “Patrick” Lumumba , be raised from three years to four years because, he argued, she lied to deflect suspicion from herself.

Knox returned to the US a free woman in 2011 after the appellate court ruling, having spent four years in jail, and has remained there for this trial. Sollecito, who also is free, had attended two hearings but was not in court yesterday.

The trial continues on Dec 16 with closing arguments by the Kercher family lawyer, Francesco Maresca, followed by Knox’s defence team the next day. A verdict could come in January.


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