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 case: Rudy Guede eligible for parole

11 February

THE man convicted of killing British student Meredith Kercher in 2007 is eligible for day-release after serving six years in prison.

Rudy Guede, 27, may be granted parole from prison to study for a degree in history, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Guede was sentenced to 16 years in prison after being convicted of murder in 2008, but has become eligible for parole due to good behaviour, the Daily Mirror reports.

The Mirror says that Guede has already been let out of prison, but Guede's lawyer, Walter Biscotti, has denied that claim.

Guede maintains that he is innocent of the crime. In a letter to Biscotti, he said: "The court still insists that I was guilty of sexual assault but I did not commit that crime and even the autopsy proves that. This is a painful episode for me and for Meredith's family. I am seen as the ideal guilty person but I had nothing to do with this."

The full story behind Kercher's death has never been conclusively established. In a separate trial, two others were also convicted of the crime: American student Amanda Knox and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

Knox and Sollecito served four years in prison before being acquitted of the murder in 2011. But the acquittal was overturned last month after the Italian supreme court set aside the judgement of the appellate court.

Sollecito has been placed on a watch-list preventing him from leaving Italy, but no moves have yet been made to extradite Knox back to Italy since the new ruling.

Amanda Knox: Kate Beckinsale film teaser revealed – video

4 February

A TEASER for Michael Winterbottom's psychological thriller inspired by the Meredith Kercher case has been revealed just days after Amanda Knox's guilty verdict was reinstated.

It is the first glimpse of the film inspired by the book Angel Face: Sex, Murder and the Inside Story of Amanda Knox by the American journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau.

The Face of an Angel, which is in post-production, stars Daniel Bruhl, Kate Beckinsale and Cara Delevingne. Winterbottom, the director behind 24 Hour Party People, has avoided using the real names of those involved in the case, but the similarities are plain to see in the teaser, unveiled by Variety.

The clip comes just days after Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty of murdering Kercher in November 2007, and Knox's prison sentence was increased to 28 years and six months.

"The currency of Winterbottom's drama is, of course, diminished by the latest appeal and the case's impending presence before the supreme court," says Empire magazine.

But it adds "we don't need to worry about any of that" because Winterbottom has said his interest is less in courtroom shenanigans and more in the human beings behind the story.

"We bought the rights to the book that tells the story of the trial, but our film is not really about that, so we are always a bit wary of even saying that," Winterbottom said last year.

As a "fictional adaptation", the film focuses on a filmmaker (Bruhl) and journalist (Beckinsale) who are following the murder trial and also explores society's fascination with violence.

Delevingne, initially believed to have been playing the Knox character, plays a British student who begins a relationship with Bruhl.

The film has no official release date, but is on the sales floor at the European Film Market in Berlin this month and is expected to be snapped up quickly.

Amanda Knox: 'I'll never return to Italy voluntarily'

31 January

A DEFIANT Amanda Knox has said she will never return to Italy "voluntarily" to serve a 28 years and six months prison sentence for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

The 26-year-old told ABC News' Good Morning America programme: "I'm going to fight this until the very end. And it's not right, and it's not fair and I'm going to do everything that I can."

Meanwhile, lawyers for Knox's ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have insisted their client has no intention of fleeing Italy, Reuters reports. It had been reported that the 29-year-old was "picked up" by police this morning near the border with Slovenia. The location lead to some speculation that the Italian was trying to evade the 25-year sentence handed down by a Florence court yesterday for his part in Kercher's murder.

Sollecito's lawyer, John Q. Kelly, said: "He had planned on being away from the courthouse, away from his home and media hotspots after the verdict. His passport had been flagged already. It wasn't like he could go to some border and use his passport... He would have been stopped no matter what."

Other reports suggest that Sollecito drove to a police station in the Italian city of Udine and turned himself over to officers.

Asked about her former boyfriend on Good Morning America, Knox said: "He is vulnerable, and I don't know what I would do if they imprisoned him. It's maddening."

Amanda Knox guilty of Kercher murder: will she be extradited?

31 January

AFTER two years of living in America as a free woman, Amanda Knox's murder conviction was last night reinstated in Italy – raising the spectre of a long extradition fight.

A jury took almost 11 hours to find Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito guilty of murdering Meredith Kercher in November 2007, increasing Knox's prison sentence to 28 years and six months.

The question now is whether or not the United States will extradite her to Italy under the terms of a 1983 treaty between the two countries.

Knox has said she will only return "kicking and screaming". But Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, tells NBC that the US would have "little choice" but to send her to Italy to serve her sentence if her conviction stands after further appeals.

"The United States seeks extradition of more people than any country in the world. We're trying to get NSA leaker Edward Snowden back and we're not going to extradite someone convicted of murder?" he said.

Some observers claim Knox might be covered by America's protection against double jeopardy – being retried and convicted of a crime after being acquitted. But Dershowitz doubts that would apply in the Knox case because she was initially found guilty and her acquittal took place at an intermediate appeals level. Ultimately, it is down to the US State Department to decide whether to turn her over to Italian authorities.

If the conviction is upheld by the Italy's high court, it could create a "complicated diplomatic dispute between Italy and the US", says the Daily Telegraph.

Knox could effectively be trapped in the US for the rest of her life if President Barack Obama's government decides to protect her from extradition. She would be under threat of arrest and deportation to Italy if she travelled to any other country that holds an extradition treaty with Rome. That list currently includes Western Europe, Australia, most of South America and Canada.

Meanwhile, the reinstated conviction has not convinced everybody of Knox and Sollecito's guilt. "I'm not sure we can know for sure whether Knox and Sollecito are guilty or not," says Nick Richardson in The Guardian. The conviction has been reinstated but the rest of the world "had already made up their mind", he says.

"We became innocentisti or colpevolisti – the Italian media's terms for those who think they're innocent, and those who don't – before we had any right to be either."

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito guilty once again

30 January

AMANDA KNOX says she is "frightened and saddened" after a court in Florence re-installed guilty verdicts against her and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

The verdict was read out by a judge last night shortly before 9pm after the jury in the four-month trial returned from an adjournment that lasted almost 11 hours. Knox was sentenced to 28-and-a-half years in jail - longer than her original sentence - while Sollecito was given a 25-year sentence.

The court's decision will now be sent to Italy's highest court which will either uphold or reject the decision. If today's verdict is upheld - and most commentators believe it will be - efforts to extradite 26-year-old Knox back to Italy are likely to begin, Sky News reports.

While Knox's lawyer said his client would "appeal" today's "unjust" verdict, the option of a full appeal process is not open to Knox and Sollecito. Their lawyers will have just a brief opportunity to try to persuade the Supreme Court not to uphold the appeals court's verdict.

It is unclear if the four years Knox and Sollecito have already served in an Italian prison will be subtracted from their new sentences.

Sollecito and members of his family attended the court earlier today, but the 30-year-old was not present when the verdict was announced. Knox has refused to return to Italy and was reportedly awaiting the court's decision from her home in Seattle.

Meredith Kercher's older siblings, Kyle and Stephanie, were in court and shook hands with their lawyers after the judge announced the verdict. Lyle Kercher said he would never forgive those repsonsible for his sister's death. He added: "I think anybody would just have to read in detail what happened to her [Meredith Kercher] to question if they could ever forgive someone who did that to their sister or daughter."

Speaking outside the court Sollecito's lawyer said the verdict was not a surprise, but was extremely disappointing nonetheless. "The court has chosen to listen to, and give credit to, rumours," she said. "In a way this is not a surpise because they [Knox and Sollecito] have alway been considered murderers."

Knox's lawyer said he had spoken only briefly to his client before the phone line had "gone dead". "It's a very difficult time for anyone like myself who believes Amanda is innocent," he said. "We have to respect this verdict, but we're very sad at the moment. There is still a narrow road we can walk and we will try everything. This is not the final word."

Knox has made it clear she is unlikely to return to Italy, but has said her life is on hold until her ultimate appeal has been heard.

Patrick Lumumba, 38, the barman whom Knox falsely accused of killing Kercher told reporters he was "not surprised" that the guilty verdicts had been re-instated. "The first thing that I want to say is that I want to express my solidarity to the Kercher family ," he said. "I'm not surprsied that Knox has been found guilty because I've always been convinced that Amanda had a big part in this crime and therefore she slandered me. This shows that justice in this country existis. "

As well as being sentenced to 25 years jail, the court has applied a travel ban to Sollecito who is considered a flight risk. He has been ordered to surrender his passport and other travel documents.

In a statement issued shortly after the verdict was announced, Knox said she realised the court's decision would give "no consolation to the Kercher family - the grief will follow them forever". She added: "Having been found innocent before I expected better from the Italian justice system. The evidence and accusatory theory laid out in the appeals court did not justify a guilty verdict."

More than six years have passed since the body of Kercher, a 21-year-old from Coulsden, Surrey, was found in the bedroom of the house she shared with Knox in the picturesque hillside town of Perugia. The popular, hardworking Leeds University student was on an Erasmus year abroad when, on the night of 1 November 2007, she was stabbed and left to choke on her own blood on her bedroom floor.

While one man, Rudy Guede, from Ivory Coast, has been definitively convicted of her murder after a fast-track trial and is serving a 16-year sentence in an Italian jail, prosecutors have always alleged that Knox and Sollecito played a part in the killing alongside him.

The two were convicted and given hefty jail sentences in 2009, before having those verdicts overturned on appeal in Perugia in 2011. Knox flew home to the US, while Sollecito pursued his studies, only for Italy's top appeals court to annul the first appeal verdict in March last year and order a new appeal to take place in Florence.

In its written reasoning, released later last year, the court of cassation picked holes in the Perugia appeal court's handling of the case, accusing it of "numerous deficiencies, contradictions and manifest lack of logic".

With Knox, now a student at the University of Washington, absent from the proceedings, the new appeal got underway in the Tuscan capital in September. While ordering a new DNA test and hearing some new witness testimony, it largely focused on the same key questions as before.

Amanda Knox: jury retires to consider its verdict

30 January

THE jury that will decide if Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are guilty of the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher has begun its deliberations.

Moments before they filed out of the courtroom in Florence, the jurors were told by one of Knox's defence lawyers not to overlook "mistakes" made by forensic investigators, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In his final summing-up, Carlo dalla Vedova lambasted errors made by forensic investigators and said: "Italian sentences don't depend on probability, but on certainty." He was referring to DNA found on a knife in the kitchen of Sollecito's house in Perugia. The genetic material was initially attributed by prosecutors to Kercher, but its origins could not be verified, Vedova said.

While Knox has not returned to Italy to hear the court's verdict, Vedova said he and his team had been in touch with her on a "daily" basis.

In an interview with Italian television yesterday, Knox said she would be waiting at home in Seattle with her family for the verdict with "my heart in my mouth." She added: "The proof is in the facts. There is no proof I was there when it happened."

Knox's co-accused, her 30-year-old former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, was in court this morning to hear the closing arguments. Arriving at the court wearing sunglasses, a blue sweater and a claret shirt, he sat "impassively" as the four month trial entered its final phase.

His father, Francesco Sollecito, said they were "obliged to have faith in our justice system" and so would "see it through" to the end, the Daily Mirror reports.

Two of Meredith's family, sister Stephanie and brother Lyle, are expected to be in court for the verdict. Stephanie had earlier told a local Italian newspaper that, while the verdict was an important date, the family was not expecting it to be "a source... of truth".

Amanda Knox 'running away' from verdict, says bar owner

30 January

THE bar owner falsely accused by Amanda Knox of murdering Meredith Kercher has said she should be in court today to hear the retrial verdict.

Patrick Lumumba, who ran a bar in Perugia, spent two weeks in prison before he was cleared and later successfully sued the American student for defamation.

"If Amanda Knox is innocent as she says, then she should come to the court to hear the sentencing," Lumumba told Ansa, an Italian news agency this week. "If she really had nothing to do with it, then she should be in the courtroom to hear the ruling of the judges. But she's running away from it."

Knox, 26, has not attended any of the hearings in the retrial in Florence, which began in the autumn, reports the Daily Telegraph.

However, her former boyfriend and co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, 29, has decided to travel to Florence to be there today.

"We'll be in the courtroom," his father, Francesco Sollecito, told Ansa. "We will be there because once more we have faith in the justice system."

Lumumba said his life had been ruined since Knox's false accusation, when he was dragged from his home in front of his children and wife in a dawn raid by police, taken to prison and only released when a university professor provided him with a concrete alibi.

He said he has since had to close the pub he once ran in the Umbrian university town where Kercher was murdered in November 2007 and now finds it hard to find work as a musician. "I'm no longer accepted in that world," he said.

Lumumba added that he is yet to be paid the €22,000 in compensation he is owed by Knox for defamation. He was also awarded €8,000 in damages by the Italian state for wrongful imprisonment but he has rejected this to pursue a claim through the European Court of Human Rights.

Amanda Knox awaits verdict as murder retrial decision looms

29 January

AMANDA KNOX is anxiously counting down the hours as she waits for an Italian court to decide, for the fourth time in six years, whether she is guilty of the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

Knox has remained in America because she fears she might be "wrongly convicted", ABC News says. But her apprehension has been heightened by calls from the prosecution to increase her prison sentence if she is convicted.

Two judges and eight jurors will deliberate tomorrow in Florence after final rebuttals by Knox's legal team. A verdict and a sentence is expected to be handed down sometime in the "late evening", ABC News says.

Kercher's sister and brother have said they will be in court to hear the verdict.

Meanwhile, Raffaele Sollecito – Knox's former boyfriend and co-accused – will await the court's verdict at his family home in Puglia, southern Italy. His father, Francesco Sollecito, has said his son is not "psychologically able" to await the decision in court that day.

"He will almost certainly stay at home and has no intention of course of running away," Francesco said.

The man prosecuting the case, Alessandro Crini, wants both Knox and Sollecito jailed for 26 years each. Crini also wants Knox's sentence for a related slander conviction – which stems from her attempt to blame bar owner Patrick Lumumba for the murder- increased from one year to four years.

Crini, in his closing arguments, dismissed the motive suggested by the original trial that the murder was the result of a sex-game gone wrong. Instead, he argued that it was more likely to have been caused by a series of arguments over cleanliness in the bathroom that Knox and Kercher shared.

Sollecito 'proposed to Amanda Knox to avoid prison sentence'

23 January

AMANDA KNOX'S former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito allegedly proposed to her last year in a bid to obtain US citizenship and avoid a potential prison sentence in Italy.

Sollecito's ex-girlfriend Kelsey Kay, from Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, claims he proposed to Knox in March 2013, six years after the murder of Meredith Kercher. It was the same month that Sollecito and Knox's case was sent back to court by Italy's Supreme Court, two years after they were acquitted.

The pair are currently awaiting potential new convictions in the retrial of their case. While Knox has no plans to return to Italy and will remain in the US if re-convicted, Sollecito could face a lengthy prison term because he is an Italian citizen.

Kay, who first approached Sollecito online after reading his book Honour Bound, told RadarOnline: "Raffaele told me that when he had been in Seattle in March, his lawyers and Amanda's lawyers had a meeting where he had proposed the idea of the two of them marrying. It would've been natural to the public that the two of them got married."

Knox apparently rejected the proposal, explaining that she had been in a relationship with classical guitarist James Terrano for the past few years.

"I think [Sollecito's] feelings were hurt and the way he expressed it to me was in a very immature way," says Kay. "He came across very entitled, like he had saved her while he was in jail in Italy by not turning on her and that maybe she was obligated to do the same thing for him."

After reading a series of text messages on Sollecito's phone, Kay says Knox explained herself in "a very elegant way" and he in a "more desperate and needy way".

Sollecito also allegedly asked Kay to sign a contract that would have bound her to him in a marriage-for-citizenship arrangement. Sollecito denies that he proposed to Kay, Knox or any other woman to get foreign citizenship.

Kay's interview comes as prosecutors this week asked the Florence appeals court to be ready to apply "cautionary measures" against Sollecito, such as confiscating his passport.

Amanda Knox: 'expectation' of guilty verdict lifts in Italy

THERE is a mounting expectation in Italy that guilty verdicts will be re-installed against Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito over the killing of British student Meredith Kercher later this month, The Independent reports.

Prosecutors have asked the Florence appeals court to be ready to apply "cautionary measures" against Sollecito. Such measures could see him "have his passport confiscated, be subject to house arrest or even returned to prison, where he has already spent four years after being convicted in 2009 of the murder", the paper says.

Amanda Knox ready to become 'fugitive' if found guilty again

The climax of the trial is scheduled for 30 January. The cautionary measures would only be applied in the case of a guilty verdict to stop Sollecito fleeing Italy ahead of a Surpreme Court hearing on the case.

Sollecito, who denies any part in the 2007 killing of British student Meredith Kercher, has been "hedging his bets" in relation to the court's verdict, according to reports. He has been establishing a "home away from home in the Dominican Republican, a favourite locale for Italians with legal problems".

Several criminal law experts have told The Independent that they believe it is likely the original murder verdicts will be re-instated. The paper says this is at odds with defence assertions and those of some independent observers, who say prosecutors have "failed to show beyond reasonable doubt that the pair were involved in the killing".

Sollecito, 29, appeared in court yesterday with his father, to hear the prosecution’s summing up. Knox has remained in the US, refusing to travel to Italy for the re-trial.

Her lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova, said: "Amanda is confident that the court will proclaim her innocence."

Amanda Knox ready to become 'fugitive' if found guilty again

10th January

AMANDA KNOX has said that she is prepared to become a "fugitive" if an Italian court upholds her original conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher later this month.

The 26-year-old has said she will fight any extradition requests from Italy if the appeals court finds her guilty for the murder and sexual assault of the Leeds University student in Perugia in 2007. Kercher, 21, was found stabbed to death in the house she shared with Knox in the university town in Umbria.

One of the last hearings in the retrial took place yesterday, with the verdict expected on 30 January. If she is found guilty Knox's lawyers are expected to resist any calls for extradition on the basis of double jeopardy, a principle that states a defendant cannot be tried twice for the same crime.

Asked by La Repubblica, an Italian daily newspaper, what she would do if the court overturned her acquittal, Knox said from her hometown of Seattle: "In that case I will be... how does one say... a fugitive." She added that she remained optimistic that the court would find her and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 29, not guilty.

Knox and Sollecito were acquitted in 2011 but the case was sent back to court last March by Italy's Supreme Court, which criticised the appeals court's questioning of DNA evidence relating to the crime scene.

Knox claims she was "psychologically tortured" into making a false confession and was convicted on circumstantial evidence, with her sometimes eccentric behaviour interpreted as a sign of guilt.

She famously did cartwheels at a police station as she was waiting to be questioned a few days after the killing. "Even if I'd turned up naked and doing a dance, that would not have meant that I was an assassin," she told La Repubblica this week. "The prosecution's case was based on conjecture and supposition, not on evidence."

Amanda Knox email says she fears 'wrongful conviction'

17 December

AMANDA KNOX has sent an lengthy email declaring her innocence to the Italian court that is trying her for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

Knox, 26, who has declined to travel to Florence for the hearing, says in her email that she has stayed in America because she fearful of being "wrongly convicted" of Kercher's 2007 murder.

The lengthy message, which runs to five pages in printed form and was read to the court in Italian, says: "I did not kill Meredith, I did not take part in her murder."

Knox adds: "I didn't kill. I didn't rape. I didn't rob. I didn't plot. I didn't instigate. I didn't kill Meredith."

Explaining her absence Knox says: "I am not in court because I am afraid. I am afraid that the vehemence of the prosecution will make an impression on you, that their smoke will get in your eyes and blind you."

Knox adds that she is following the case "closely", because "my life is at stake".

The email appeared to get a cool reception from Judge Alessandro Nencini, the BBC reports. He said it was not normal procedure in Italy, adding: "Who wants to speak at a trial, comes to the trial."

Nencini added that the message highlighted Knox's absence, and indicated it did not have the same legal standing as a declaration made in person, Sky News reports. He said he had to take the word of Knox's lawyers that it was written by the American, saying: "I never saw her, I don't know her."

A verdict in the trial is expected in mid-January.

Amanda Knox's Kercher fund appeal 'unbearable' court told

17 December

AMANDA KNOX has been slammed for seeking donations to a fund set up to honour Meredith Kercher, the British student she is accused of murdering in Italy in 2007, USA Today reports.

Delivering his closing arguments to an appeals court in Florence, the Kercher family's lawyer Francesco Maresca, said they found it "unbearable" that Knox's website asks visitors to make donations to The Meredith Kercher Fund as well as Knox's own legal defence fund.

"She [Knox] has become a well-known person," Maresca told the court. "You know she signed contracts for millions of dollars for her book. She has someone who takes care of her public relations. She has a personal website where she invites people to collect donations in the memory of the victim, Meredith Kercher, which is an unbearable contradiction for the family."

The Kercher case is being tried for the third time after Italy's highest court overturned a 2011 appeals court ruling which quashed the murder convictions handed down to Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in 2009. The high court "tore apart" the appeals court's decision to free the pair, describing it as full of errors and contradictions, USA Today says.

Knox has not travelled to Italy for the latest trial, but Sollecito argued his innocence in a statement he made to the Florence appeals court last month.

Speaking outside the court, Knox's lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, said the American student was soliciting cash donations for Kercher out of a sense of "friendship". Maresca's criticism of Knox's actions was irrelevant to the case, Vedova added.

In his closing argument Maresca urged the court to find Knox and Sollecito guilty of Kercher's murder. He backed the state prosecutor's demands for sentences of 26 years for the murder and a four-year sentence for Knox for slander (for wrongly accusing a bar owner of the murder).

Maresca is also seeking damages of 25 million euros for the Kercher family.

The trial continues.

Amanda Knox: 'Reinstate guilty verdicts', court told

26 November

AN ITALIAN appeals court has been told it should reinstate the guilty verdict against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito over the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher, The Guardian reports.

Presenting his closing arguments, prosecutor Alessandro Crini urged the Florence court to assess the evidence as a whole rather than separating it out as the previous court had "mistakenly" done. He asked the court to consider witness testimony that had been dismissed by the Perugia appeals court and said new DNA testing of the kitchen knife that was allegedly used to kill Kercher, should be seen as "linking Knox conclusively to the murder".

The defence has argued the opposite, saying that the new DNA testing bolsters Knox's case.

Crini, who wants Knox and Sollecito's original convictions to be upheld, told the court yesterday that the decision to acquit the pair had been "essentially razed to the ground" by a supreme court ruling in March. Italy's supreme court overturned Knox and Sollecito's acquittals, focusing on what it said were "shortcomings, contradictions and inconsistencies" in the case.

Knox has not travelled to Florence for the fresh appeal, but Sollecito has made a statement to the court. Both deny any involvement in the killing.

Today, the prosecutor could ask the appeals court not only to confirm the guilty verdicts but to extend the original sentences – 26 years for Knox and 25 for Sollecito – to life, the Guardian says.

Amanda Knox: New DNA sample on knife 'bolsters' her defence 07/11/13

A NEW DNA trace on the knife allegedly used to kill British student Meredith Kercher, belongs to her alleged killer Amanda Knox, an Italian court has heard.

The fact that the DNA does not belong to Kercher, "bolsters" Knox's defence, says The Independent. The American's lawyers have always claimed that the knife - which was found in the kitchen of Knox's former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito - was not the weapon used to kill 21-year-old Kercher in 2007.

Another piece of DNA on the knife was attributed to Kercher during the trial that lead to Knox and Sollecito's conviction in 2009. But it was "disputed" during the appeal that lead to their conviction being overturned in 2011, the Independent says.

Speaking at the court in Florence where Knox and Sollecito are being re-tried for Kercher's murder, forensic expert Andrea Berti said the "minute" new DNA trace discovered on the handle of the knife "showed considerable affinity" with Knox's DNA. It did not match Kercher's DNA, he said. Neither did it match samples taken from Sollecito or Rudy Guede, the man who is serving 16 years in jail after being convicted of Kercher's killing in a separate, fast-track trial.

Speaking outside the court, Knox's defence lawyer Luca Maori said expert's testimony backed his argument that his client had only used the knife to prepare food. He also noted that the new DNA trace was from the handle where another DNA trace linked to Knox had been found.

"It means that Amanda took the knife exclusively for cooking matters, to keep in the kitchen and to use it," Maori said. He added that the discovery of the DNA traces indicated the knife had not been washed, which he said was significant. "It is something very important," he said. "It is absurd to use it for a murder and put it back in the drawer."

The knife has been a crucial piece of evidence in the long-running case. Prosecutors have argued it was the murder weapon because it "matched Kercher's wounds" and evidence presented in the first trial that convicted Knox and Sollecito, suggested Kercher's DNA was on the blade and Knox's was on the handle.

However, a court-ordered review during the first appeal discredited the DNA evidence, Time says. The review found there were "glaring errors in evidence-collecting and that below-standard testing and possible contamination raised doubts over the DNA traces linked to Kercher on the blade, as well as Sollecito's DNA on Kercher's bra clasp".

Raffaele Sollecito: 'Amanda Knox was my first love' 06/11/13

RAFFAELE SOLLECITO, the Italian man convicted, acquitted now re-tried over the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, has given an "impassioned" speech to a court in Florence.

The 29-year-old "choked up" towards the end of his 15-minute statement, insisting he was not the "perfect, hardened assassin" depicted by prosecutors, the Daily Telegraph reports. He added that his life has been a "nightmare" since Kercher's body was found six years ago in the cottage in Perugia he shared with his then girlfriend, Amanda Knox.

"I have been described as a ruthless killer but I am nothing of the sort," he said.

Sollecito and Knox were convicted of Kercher's murder in 2009, but the decision was overturned on appeal in 2011. In March, Italian Supreme Court judges ruled that the pair should face a new trial.

Knox has not travelled to Italy for the proceedings which began on 30 September. But Sollecito made an emotional 15-minute statement to the court in Florence today, pleading for his life back and criticising the case against him.

"I would like to make you understand that these charges against me are absurd," he said. "There was not a basis to charge me, to put me in jail. I don't wish anybody on earth to go through what I went through. This was something that was so bad."

CNN says Sollecito is not a witness in the current hearing, but as a defendant he has the right, under Italian law, to make a "spontaneous declaration".

In his statement, Sollecito said he had been very "reserved" when he first met Knox at a classical music concert in Perugia ten days before the murder. The American was his first true love, he told the court.

Sollecito insisted that he didn't know Rudy Guede, the Perugia man who is serving 16 years in jail after being convicted of Kercher's killing in a separate, fast-track trial. He added that he "barely knew" Kercher.

"I was thrown into a maximum security prison. I wouldn't wish on anyone in the world the experience that I had to go through," he said. "It was a nightmare that went beyond any imagination."

The case continues.

Amanda Knox film: Beckinsale joins the cast 16/10/13

ACTRESS Kate Beckinsale is the latest star to join the cast of a new film inspired by the Amanda Knox case.

The Face of an Angel – directed by Michael Winterbottom, the man behind 24 Hour Party People – has been in the pipelines for the last three years. Winterbottom revealed in July that he had bought the rights to the book Angel Face: Sex, Murder and the Inside Story of Amanda Knox, by Rome-based American journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau.

However, he said he would avoid using the name of its famous subject, who was convicted and jailed in 2009 for the killing of her British housemate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy.

Along with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, Knox spent two years in jail before they were released when cleared on appeal in 2011.

A new trial is currently underway in Florence after Italy's Supreme Court overturned both acquittals, but Knox has remained in America and continues to protest her innocence.

Winterbottom has steered clear of talking too much about the murder case. "We bought the rights to the book that tells the story of the trial, but our film is not really about that," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "Our film is actually about losing a daughter, losing someone close to you; why are we so interested in violence and why are we not more interested in love?"

According to Deadline, model Cara Delevingne looks likely to play the young woman accused of murder, while Beckinsale will star as a journalist investigating the case.

The cast also features The Fifth Estate's Daniel Bruhl as a documentary film-maker who shares Beckinsale's fascination with the trial.

It comes two years after the controversial made-for-television film Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy, starring Hayden Panettiere as Knox. Kercher's family were horrified by scenes depicting their daughter's murder, while lawyers for Knox and Sollecito, who were still in prison at the time, demanded that the Lifetime channel abandon its production. Panettiere apologised to the Kercher family earlier this year, insisting she meant "no disrespect".

Amanda Knox retrial begins – without the stars of the show 30/09/13

FLORENCE – The appeal trial of US student Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito got under way in Italy Monday, but without the stars of the show.

Knox and Sollecito were originally convicted in 2009 of the murder of Briton Meredith Kercher, found stabbed to death in the flat she shared with Knox in November 2007. They were acquitted on appeal, but that ruling was annulled by Italy's high court in March, which cited faulty reasoning by the Perugia appeals judges. It sent the case back to court for a second appeal trial – this time in Florence.

Knox returned home to the US after her release and has said she has no intention of returning to Italy for the case. Sollecito was recently snapped by photographers on the beach the Dominican Republic, but his father and lawyers were present at the courthouse on Monday. The parents of the victim, Meredith Kercher, also stayed away from court, due to health issues, but they said they planned to attend future hearings.

One protagonist did appear: Patrick Lumumba, the innocent Congolese pub owner Knox originally blamed for the murder. Knox was convicted of calumny by Italy's high court this year for her false accusation of Lumumba. On Monday he said he was there because he still hasn't received a penny in compensation and wanted to be a civil party in the trial, in hope of someday being compensated.

"Amanda should be here, but she is scared because she knows she has a responsibility," he told reporters before the hearing.

Defence lawyers for Knox and Sollecito asked to submit new evidence and reopen debate on 15 different points, including additional forensic testing, while prosecutors requested new DNA tests to be carried out on the kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon.

The judge rejected nearly every defence motion, but agreed to conduct new tests on the knife to see if trace DNA can be analysed. The judge also agreed to prosecutors request to hear testimony from mafia turncoat Luciano Aviello who was incarcerated with Sollecito.

Speaking before the retrial, Knox's attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova called the new trial an anomaly that potentially violated her client's constitutional rights because it risked going on "indefinitely".

"Can a person be on trial their whole life?" he asked. "We have to ask if Amanda Knox is being treated equally under the law."

Prosecutor Alessandro Crini had said it was the defence that was dragging the case out by asking for so many aspects of the trial to be discussed again. Crini had argued that the new trial should be more limited in scope, concentrating on the murder weapon and using more sensitive forensic equipment for analysing trace DNA.

The Kercher family submitted an emotional letter to the court explaining their absence and asking that all necessary forensic testing be carried out to clarify unanswered questions.

"It has been the six most difficult years of our lives and we want to be able to seek closure and remember Meredith for the truly wonderful girl that she was rather than the horror that is associated with her," the Kerchers wrote. "Nothing will ever bring our beautiful Meredith back and we will always hold her in our hearts and memories, but we need to know what happened and she at least deserves the dignity of truth."

Amanda Knox retrial: the case file 30/09/2013

THE retrial of Amanda Knox over the murder of British student Meredith Kercher is due to begin today in Florence. Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty in 2009, two years after Kercher's death, but acquitted on appeal in 2011. Italy's Supreme Court has overturned both acquittals and ordered the whole process to begin again – but Knox will not be in Italy for the retrial.

  • Amanda Knox retrial: why is the case back in court?

Amanda Knox: murder scene reconstructed for TV probe 26/09/2013

A CHANNEL 5 documentary has reconstructed the Italian apartment where Meredith Kercher was murdered in a bid to answer five key questions about the case against Amanda Knox.

The programme, which is broadcast tonight at 10pm, comes days before Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are to be retried over Kercher's death in 2007.

The pair were found guilty in 2008 but the verdicts were quashed in 2011 and Knox returned to Seattle. She will not be attending the retrial, which begins on Monday. If she is found guilty again, Italy could apply for her extradition.

However, the documentary Amanda Knox Trial - 5 Key Questions finds that the evidence originally used to convict Knox and Sollecito is far from conclusive.

The documentary follows the opposing lawyers as they undergo a "CSI-style investigation", reports the Daily Mail. Using a purpose-built reconstruction of the Perugia home where Kercher had her throat slashed, the documentary consults crime-scene specialists to address five key questions:

Could Rudy Guede have committed the murder on his own? Guede was sentenced in 2008 to 30 years in prison, later reduced to 16 years, for Kercher's murder. In the programme, a martial arts expert found that it would be possible, although difficult, for him to have carried out the murder on his own.

How was the apartment window broken? Knox's defence claim a broken window was Guede's way in, but the prosecution says it was broken from the inside as the killers tried to cover-up their tracks. A forensic glass specialist claims it is "more likely" that it came from the outside.

What evidence places Sollecito and Knox at the crime scene? Traces of Sollecito's DNA were found on Kercher's bra clasp but his defence say the clasp had been moved by police and contaminated. A forensics expert shows how DNA could be transferred easily.

Did Knox or Sollecito leave a bloody footprint on the bath-mat? An unidentified bloody footprint was found on a bath-mat in Kercher's home. Its size seems too big to be Knox's and a forensic podiatrist demonstrates how Sollecito's "uniquely arched toe" would provide distinct imprints. She recommends that further footprint tests should be taken at the retrial.

Who was heard leaving the apartment at the time of the murder? A neighbour and key witness claims to have heard two people running away from the scene, but a sound engineer questions whether she really could have heard the noise from inside her flat.

Amanda Knox: I would take lie detector test to clear my name 23/09/13

AMANDA KNOX has said she would be willing to take a lie detector test to prove her innocence over the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in 2007.

Knox was interviewed live from Seattle on ITV's Daybreak this morning, where she again ruled out going back to Italy to face retrial. The 26-year-old insists she cannot afford to return to Italy and fears being falsely imprisoned for a second time.

Speaking via videolink, she said her innocence "means everything" and added: "A lie detector test, I would be fine with that."

Knox has secured a $3.8m deal for her book Waiting to Be Heard: A memoir but says she has spent all her earnings on legal fees and reimbursing her parents.

"I can't financially afford to be going back and forth to Italy," she said. "I am in school, I am trying to rebuild my life. Then there is the very real fact that I was imprisoned wrongfully and I cannot reconcile that experience with the choice of going back. It doesn't make sense."

She said she has "plenty to fear" from the retrial, adding: "I was already imprisoned wrongfully, I was already convicted wrongfully and this is everything to fear. This, as an innocent person, is the ultimate nightmare. This does not make sense."

Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of killing Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, in November 2007. But they were later cleared in 2011.

Knox said today: "There is proof of my innocence in there being no trace of me in the room where my friend was murdered. There was no reason for me to have done this, there is nothing that is a part of me that would ever do something like this."

ITV has refused to say whether or not it paid Knox to appear on the programme, but admits it does often pay guests.

Dismal sales of Perugia memoir leave Amanda Knox in a fix

DISMAL sales of her much-vaunted memoir and mounting legal problems have left Amanda Knox - once jailed for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher and later freed on appeal - facing an uncertain future.

Not only have American sales of Waiting to be Heard fallen far short of expectation – only 36,000 copes have sold from an announced initial print run of 750,000 – but any hopes for a global bestseller have evaporated.

"I don't know what I am going to do. The future is very unsure for me financially," Knox told the Toronto Post.

Last year, the Associated Press reported that Knox's book deal was worth $4 million for world rights, with Knox being represented by high-profile Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose other clients include President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.

But several European publishers have run scared of being sued by those who claim Amanda libeled them in Waiting to be Heard. The book has not been published in either Britain or Italy. NovelRank, a site that tracks Amazon sales globally, reports Knox's memoir sales as "inactive" in Germany.

Even in the US, Publisher's Weekly said the memoir "underwhelmed" and was "slow out of the gate". As of last Friday, it had lost 30 per cent of its sales from its debut week, falling back to No. 5 on the non-fiction hardcover bestseller list despite Knox conducting dozens of interviews in the hope of boosting sales.

Knox received a $1.5 million advance for the book, but as lawyers' bills continue to mount, the cash is apparently not stretching far.

In March, the Italian high court overturned her sensational acquittal and called for her to be retried on appeal in Florence. Knox's lawyers say they are now waiting for the high court's reasoning, due next month, before deciding whether Knox should attend when the retrial is finally scheduled.

Meanwhile there are at least six outstanding cases or complaints in the Italian courts and at least two more being drafted by incensed Perugia officials who read online – or via Italian media accounts - what Knox had written in her book. Some of those complaints are defamation - alleging her remarks have damaged reputations - but there are also calumny cases, in which Knox is charged with having accused someone else of a crime.

In Bergamo, anti-mafia magistrate Giuliano Mignini, who prosecuted the murder case against Knox and her one-time Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, filed a defamation complaint against the Italian gossip magazine Oggi after it pringted excerpts from Waiting to be Heard. Mignini took issue with accusations that he intimidated, yelled and failed to protect Knox rights during his questioning.

Meanwhile, Knox's parents are still fighting a (pre-memoir) defamation charge for alleging that the Perugia police hit Knox during questioning. Knox herself also faces a more serious calumny charge in Florence for alleging in court that police coerced her to accuse Patrick Lumumba, a Perugia bar owner, who she was definitively convicted of slandering in March.

Knox told interviewers: "I am not going to change my story just because someone is threatening to sue me but I mean... it sucks. It sucks and it sucks."

Meredith Kercher's family have reserved comment during Knox's media blitz, even when she's made direct reference to them, for instance saying she wanted to visit Meredith's grave for closure and that she had felt "crushed' by the fact that the Kerchers were not yet convinced of Knox's innocence. Meredith's father, John Kercher, who published his own tribute book, Meredith, last year, reportedly declined to make any television appearances.

Signs that suggest Amanda Knox is a psychopath 09/12/2009

Through 11 months of court appearances in Perugia, Amanda Knox's behaviour ranged from composed to flamboyant. Only after Judge Giancarlo Massei read out the jury's decision late on Friday night, and sentenced her to 26 years in jail for murdering her housemate Meredith Kercher, did she show signs of distress, shouting out, "No, no, no!" as she was led to the prison van by her guards.

There is considerable dispute about the strength of the evidence presented against Knox and about the prosecution's insistence on highlighting Knox's sexual history. An entry from the American girl's diary listed seven sexual partners, three of whom she met after she had moved to Italy, excluding her co-defendant, Rafaelle Sollecito. She had had sex with one of the men on the train as she was travelling to Perugia.

After inviting Knox, a Jesuit-educated student, to live with her and two other English students in their cottage, Meredith Kercher soon began having reservations about Knox, particularly about her bringing "strange men" to the house.

Knox’s behaviour does not indicate that she was sexually dysfunctional

The prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, claimed that it was Knox's sexual activities that provoked Kercher's criticism and inflamed Knox to the point of murder. According to the prosecutor's reconstruction, Knox returned home on the evening of November 1, 2007 accompanied by Sollecito and Rudy Guede - the Ivorian who has already been convicted of murder in a separate trial - and encountered Kercher.

Guede has admitted his attraction to Knox. The prosecution suggested that the two men were vying for her attention and, incited by Knox, began to attack Kercher sexually. The violence soon spiralled out of hand, ending in Kercher being fatally stabbed in the neck by Knox.

So, the prosecution's story implies that the murder was a result of a sexually perverse scenario that went tragically wrong. However, the facts of the case and Knox's behaviour following her arrest and during her trial do not indicate that she was suffering from a sexual perversion or was sexually dysfunctional.

Professor David Canter, director of the centre for investigative psychology at Liverpool University, has argued: "Most bizarre murders, particularly those with a lot of sexual activity and if there are drugs involved, come out of a lifestyle that's pretty dysfunctional in which there's some build-up. So it's unusual for apparently capable and functioning youngsters to get caught up in all this."

Knox comes from a stable family, she has lots of friends and is highly intelligent. During her remand in prison, she continued her language studies in Italian, German, Russian and Chinese, read books on philosophy and religion, took guitar lessons, and taught her fellow inmates yoga and English.

But do her unexpected responses in various situations belie what may be a more profound psychological disturbance?

Much has been made of the fact that Knox was caught giggling and seen performing a cartwheel during her first visit to the police station following the discovery of her housemate's brutal murder.

When she was arrested, her manner was described as cold and detached. During the police investigation, a friend expressed the hope that Kercher had not suffered. Knox exclaimed: "What do you think? They cut her throat... She fucking bled to death!"

During the next few days, Knox was seen to repeatedly press her hands to her temples, a gesture interpreted as trying to get rid of what was in her mind.

A short story, entitled, Baby Brother, written by Knox when she was at the University of Washington in Seattle, also prompted suspicion. In the story, Knox writes about a young woman, drugged and raped by another young woman, and describes the victim's pain in lurid detail.

However, it was Knox's behaviour in court that was most bizarre. At no point - until the verdict - did we see Knox protesting her innocence or fraught with anxiety. Instead she seemed disconcertedly dissociated from the gravity of what was going on. During the initial period of the trial, she appeared relaxed and cheerful, light-heartedly talking to her lawyers and guards while gesticulating, Italian-style, with her hands.

After her behaviour was unfavourably commented on in the press, she became more serious, nevertheless very conscious of the media attention she was receiving. She seemed to play up to it. This was most apparent when Knox appeared in court on St Valentine's day wearing a large T-shirt printed with the Beatles' lyric, 'All you need is love'.

Knox's narcissistic pleasure at catching the eye of the media and her apparent nonchalant attitude during most of the proceedings show the signs of a psychopathic personality. Her behaviour is hauntingly reminiscent of Eichmann's arrogance during his trial for war crimes in Jerusalem in 1961 and most recently of Karadzic's preening before the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

The psychopath is someone who has no concern or empathy for others, no awareness of right and wrong, and who takes extreme pleasure in having power over others. The psychopath has no moral conscience and therefore does not experience guilt or remorse.

Most psychopaths are highly skilled at fooling those around them that they are normal by imitating the emotions that are expected of them in different circumstances. They are consummate at charming people and convincing them they are in the right. It is only when they reveal a discrepancy in their emotional response that they let slip that something may be wrong with them.

The psychopath is the conman, or in the case of Amanda Knox, the con-woman par excellence. Her nickname 'Foxy Knoxy', given to her as a young girl for her skills at football, takes on a new meaning.

Whether or not Knox, who is appealing her verdict, is ultimately found guilty, her chilling performance remains an indictment against her. Her family's disbelief in the outcome of the trial can only be double-edged.


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