In Brief

Amanda Knox claims inmate tried to seduce her behind bars

American tells how fellow prisoner 'Leny' tried to kiss her while in jail in Italy

Amanda Knox has revealed that a fellow inmate tried to seduce her while she was behind bars in Italy, two years after she was acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher.

In an essay for Vice channel Broadly, Knox says a prisoner she names "Leny" first wanted to hold her hand and then one day tried to kiss her.

"I gritted my teeth and half-smiled, wavering between embarrassment and anger," she writes.

"It was bad enough that the prison institution took ownership of my body - that I was caged and strip-searched on a regular basis and had already been sexually harassed by male guards.

"As a prisoner, Leny should have understood that, but unlike me, Leny was serving a short stint, and didn't feel as acutely as I did the loss of privacy, dignity, and autonomy."

The idea of women in prison "brings out the horny teenage boy in many of us - perhaps it's the implied lesbianism - but there's also something deeper", writes Knox.

She adds that many female prisoners seek relationships out of desperation for contact in a place where they are "controlled by oppressive, primarily masculine forces".

Saying she spent her time teetering between "defensiveness and loneliness", Knox writes that she kept to herself while in jail, preferring to turn to her friends and family in the outside world for support.

Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito served nearly four years for the murder of Kercher in Perugia, Italy, before being acquitted and released from prison in 2011. They were later retried and found guilty, although by this time Knox had returned to the US. They were eventually acquitted by Italy's Supreme Court in 2015.

The only person still serving time in prison for Kercher's murder is Rudy Guede, whose prints were found at the crime scene.

Raffaele Sollecito: Kercher murder case 'ruined my life'

26 January 

Raffaele Sollecito says his fight to prove he did not murder British student Meredith Kercher "ruined his life" and left him in debt.

Sollecito and his then-girlfriend Amanda Knox were arrested in 2007 for the killing of Kercher, who was found dead on the floor of her bedroom in Perugia, Italy. She had been stabbed and sexually assaulted.

In a case that attracted worldwide headlines, Sollecito and Knox were convicted twice, but Italy's highest court eventually found them not guilty in 2015. 

Sollecito told the BBC this morning that while Kercher was "the first victim", the murder case was "a tragedy that has destroyed my life".

He is seeking compensation from the Italian government to help cover the debts he accumulated while fighting his case.

The maximum amount available – €516,000 (£440,000) – would "just pay the debts we have", he said, adding that he hoped the court would "understand that I at least need to clear up my debts".

Sollecito said he did not think there should be a cap on such compensation: "They have to take care of people who go through so much. Not let it happen again."

He said there were "many victims in this case", including "Amanda's parents, my parents, all our families... there are many others made by the prosecution's mistakes."

Sollecito, who currently lives in Italy, where he runs his own business, said he was forced to sell assets, including his dead mother's apartment, to fund the legal struggle.

He added that he still speaks to Knox "occasionally", but they never discuss the case. 

Amanda Knox: What did we learn from Netflix documentary?

17 October

A new true crime documentary explores the well-known Meredith Kercher murder case – but can it tell us anything new?

Titled Amanda Knox and released on Netflix, the documentary examines the case in which the US student and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted and imprisoned in Italy for the 2007 murder of Kercher, a 21-year-old student from Surrey. They were acquitted and released from prison in 2011, before the verdicts were reinstated in 2014 and then overturned in Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, last year.

Filmmakers Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn follow the eight-year legal and media saga, with interviews with Knox, Sollecito and lead Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini.

Particularly worrying to many critics was prosecutor Giuliano Mignini's obsession with ascribing a sexual motive to the murder.

Mignini expressed his admiration for Sherlock Holmes, who would frequently manage to unravel a whole mystery based on one scrap of evidence, and at times appeared to be using the same tactic to spin a yarn about a sex game gone wrong.

The documentary makes a compelling case that Knox and Sollecito were victims of two forces: religious conservatism and pride, says Helen Lewis of the New Statesman

"Mignini [the prosecutor in the case] maintains that as the 20-year-old Knox had several sexual partners, it is no stretch to imagine her masterminding the orgiastic killing of Kercher, together with two men she had recently met," says Lewis. "It also becomes clear that the local police force is overwhelmed by the media attention and determined not to be embarrassed in front of the world." 

The documentary also "shines a bright spotlight" on everyone from the British tabloid writers to American cable news show hosts, says the Washington Post.

A scene in which Knox discovers for the first time that the case has attracted international media attention reinforces the idea that the "frenzied media coverage helped lead to an arrest and conviction before there was a close look at the facts", says the newspaper.

The primary person used to illustrate this is British journalist Nick Pisa, described by Shortlist as "loathsome".

Yet it's a slightly exasperating film that never gets round to much more than stating the obvious, says Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. "The Italian police and judiciary were guilty of grotesque incompetence, panic, misogyny and misplaced national pride" overlooking the obvious culprit and believing "the photogenic foreigner Knox was an evil witch".

Bradshaw argues the film could have "looked harder at the authorities' murky and compromised mindset", saying that while elements of the media were crass and insensitive, they "bear only negligible guilt, compared to the bizarre and contemptible behaviour of the legal authorities".

It's true that there comes a point when even indulging in the trials and tribulations of Amanda Knox begins to feel exploitive in and of itself, says Madeleine Davies on Jezebel. Anyone who's paid attention to the details of the case can presume Knox's innocence, given that there is no DNA evidence linking her to the murder.

So Davies says she wondered what was the point, "besides macabre entertainment value", in rehashing Knox's story.

But to their immense credit, she adds, the filmmakers do manage to expose "something new and necessary to witness". They shows us "the way information was conveyed to the public" and, more damningly, "the way the public ran with their own assumptions to create a scandalous portrait of both the crime and Knox's character".

They approach all their subjects with empathy, adds Davies.

Maybe now that Knox's story "has been told - and told well - one last time", we can let her get on with her life, she concludes.

Amanda Knox documentary: When does it hit Netflix?

9 September

The enthralling case, which has long confused and polarised the world, has already been the subject of several films. Will this new effort shine further light on the saga and when does it start?

What's it about?

The film sees Knox, who was twice convicted and twice acquitted by Italian courts, interviewed about her experiences. There are also conversations with her ex-boyfriend and fellow co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito, and Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini.

Kercher's death and the subsequent investigations and court cases made headlines around the world, with US student Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, initially found guilty of stabbing the 21-year-old Briton to death in Perugia in 2007. They were acquitted and released from prison in 2011, before the verdicts were reinstated in 2014. Following a lengthy appeal, the eight-year legal saga came to an end when Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, overturned both guilty verdicts last year.

The only person convicted of the crime is Ivory Coast national Rudy Guede, who is serving a 16-year sentence for the murder, although judges ruled he did not act alone.

What else is new?

The forthcoming documentary, entitled Amanda Knox, will offer "unprecedented access to key people involved, and never-before-seen archival material", promises Netflix. Directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn, the film will examine the case from the perspectives of both the prosecution and the defendant, with Knox herself asking: "As a hunger for salacious and exciting news stories grows, what role do we all play in the perpetuation and the creation of 'front page'-ready narratives?"

What else do we know about it?

Two trailers have been released, showing opposing sides to the story. The first, titled Believe Her, features an emotional Knox protesting her innocence, while the second, Suspect Her, raises questions over her involvement in the murder.

"Suddenly, I found myself tossed into this dark place," the voice-over of Knox says in Believe Her. "I was so scared... I was a kid," she adds, in tears.

In the Suspect Her trailer, Knox's response after Kercher was killed is questioned. "The friends were telling us how Amanda was behaving, performing cartwheels and kissing each other," a journalist tells the camera. "I mean, who behaves like that? Of course she did it, she's mad."

When is it out?

Amanda Knox will be available for streaming on Netflix on 30 September.


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