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Thursday 24 July 2014

Devastated Knox will 'fight until very end' against return to jail

Nick Allen Los Angeles and Nick Squires Florence

Published 01/02/2014|02:30

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Amanda Knox on the set of 'Good Morning America' after being interviewed, in New York, yesterday
Amanda Knox on the set of 'Good Morning America' after being interviewed, in New York, yesterday

AMANDA Knox has said she will "fight to the end" to avoid being sent back to jail in Italy and described how her second conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher "hit me like a train".

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In an emotional interview on US television, during which she broke down in tears several times, Knox (26) said she was "not crazy" and would try to block any Italian request for her extradition even if it meant going to the US Supreme Court.

She described watching the verdict at her mother's house in Seattle on an Italian news channel she found on the internet.

Knox told the 'Good Morning America' show: "I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My whole family was there and I was listening and I'm the only one who knows Italian and I'm trying to listen and then tell them.

"My first reaction was, 'No, this is wrong,' and I'm going to do everything I can to prove that it is. I felt really determined. This really has hit me like a train. I did not expect this to happen. I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system. They found me innocent before, how can they say it's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?"

Choking back tears, she added: "I will never go willingly back to the place where. . . I'm going to fight until the very end. It's not right and it's not fair."

Knox spent four years in an Italian prison after being convicted of the murder of Ms Kercher, her English roommate, in Perugia, Italy, in 2007.

An appeal court threw out the conviction in 2011, but the country's supreme court ordered a re-trial and she was found guilty again on Thursday. She was sentenced to 28 years and six months in prison. Her co-accused and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito (29) was also found guilty and sentenced to 25 years.

Knox said: "My initial thought after the verdict was, 'Oh my god, Raffaele.' I don't know what I would do if they imprisoned him. It's maddening.

"I'm not crazy. I can only testify to what happened to me and hope people believe me."

LETTER

Knox said she had written a letter to the Kercher family, adding: "Mainly, I just want them to understand. They've also been on this neverending thing, and when the case is so messed up a verdict is no longer a consolation for them. The fact that they don't know what happened is horrible. They deserve respect. I really wish them the best."

The Kercher family, from Surrey, said they might never discover the full truth of what happened, but they remained convinced that Knox and Sollecito were to blame, along with Rudy Guede, an unemployed drifter who was convicted of the killing at a separate trial in 2008 and who is serving 16 years in jail.

Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito are to file an appeal against the reinstated guilty verdicts, a move that will prolong the legal saga.

Lyle and Stephanie Kercher, two of Meredith's three siblings, addressed a press conference in Florence hours after the guilty verdicts.

Stephanie Kercher said: "It may be that we will never really know what happened that night. That's very hard to deal with. But the guilty verdicts have been upheld and we hope that, come the end of the trial, we will be nearer to the truth."

Her brother Lyle (34) said that he would expect Italy to request the extradition of Knox from the US.

He added: "Losing someone in horrific circumstances is horrendous, but then the fact that it has been drawn out for six years makes it incredibly difficult for us. No matter what the decision, nothing is going to bring Meredith back or take away the horror of what happened to her."

It also emerged yesterday that Ms Knox's ex-boyfriend made an audacious attempt to escape Italian justice just as the verdict in his re-trial was about to be delivered, driving hundreds of miles north and crossing over the border into Austria.

Raffaele Sollecito had said he would be in court on Thursday to hear the verdict, but at the last minute his lawyers said he was "too stressed" to attend.

In fact, he and his new girlfriend had gone to Austria. When they drove back into Italy and checked into a hotel, the night porter immediately recognised Sollecito and called the police. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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