‘Forget Amanda Knox – this is about Meredith’
Sister pleads with Italian court to remember Kercher family’s pain as it considers appeal over DNA evidence
The sister of the murdered British exchange student Meredith Kercher has written an impassioned letter to the Italian judges hearing the appeal of Amanda Knox, the young American woman convicted of killing her.
In the letter, sent to the court before the appeal resumed in Perugia today, Stephanie Kercher spoke of her family's "anguish" over the ongoing appeal and their fear that Knox could be set free because of doubts over the quality of the DNA evidence that helped convict her.
The Kerchers have long complained about the media circus that has tended to glamorise Knox (above), who is already the subject of a made-for-TV movie starring Hayden Panettiere. The letter seeks to remind people of the family's loss.
"The defence seem to be focusing on these DNA aspects but we want, for a moment, to remember who this case is about: my sister, a daughter brutally taken away four years ago and a day does not pass when we do not think about her...
"All those who are reading and writing about this case, please remember our beautiful Meredith... In the midst of all this interest Meredith has been forgotten."
Stephanie said her sister's death should not be "in vain" and added that the Kercher family continued to back the prosecution case against Knox and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.
Knox, now 24, was convicted of killing Meredith after slitting her throat with a kitchen knife when a sex game went wrong at the flat they shared in Perugia in late 2007. She was sentenced to 26 years in prison in December 2009. Sollecito was jailed for 25 years. Rudy Guede, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast, was also found guilty of being involved and given a 16-year sentence.
In the original trial it was claimed that DNA from Meredith was found on the blade of a 30cm knife discovered in Sollecito’s apartment, while that of Knox was found on the handle.
Knox and Sollecito's appeal now appears to rest on issues with the DNA evidence, which the defence says is untrustworthy because it was wrongly handled by police. Two experts have said it is not even certain that the DNA found on the knife belonged to Kercher.
Stephanie wrote: "It is extremely difficult to understand how the results which were obtained with great care and presented in the first trial as valid could now be regraded as irrelevant."
She also asked the court to bear in mind that the DNA evidence represented only part of the case against her sister's killers. "Remember too all the other evidence that has been submitted up till now in this trial – 10,000 pages of evidence."
It is not the first time the Kercher family have expressed exasperation with the media obsession with Knox and tried to focus attention on their loss rather than the woman convicted of the crime. Earlier this year, Meredith's father John Kercher described the appeal process as "the stuff of nightmares, compounded by the way that Knox has been turned into a celebrity and the murder into entertainment”.
The appeal court’s decision is expected at the end of September. ·
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