AMANDA Knox's DNA was nowhere to be found in the bedroom in which Meredith Kercher was found stabbed to death, an Italian court has heard.
On the first day of the American's retrial yesterday, the court in Florence was told that there was ample DNA evidence from Rudy Guede, the Ivorian drifter who is serving a 16-year jail sentence after being convicted of the sexual assault and murder of Ms Kercher (21).
Neither Ms Knox nor her co-accused, her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, were in court for their retrial.
"How is it possible to find traces of Guede in enormous quantities but not a single trace of Amanda?" Giulia Bongiorno, representing Mr Sollecito (29), asked. "How is it possible that the only trace of Raffaele, which naturally we contest, was on the bra strap?"
Tiny traces of Mr Sollecito's DNA were found on a strap torn from Miss Kercher's bra in the violent struggle that led to her death. But the strap was only discovered by forensic officers on the floor of the bedroom 47 days after the murder.
Defence lawyers maintain that it was subject to so much DNA contamination that it cannot be admitted as reliable.
The appeals court agreed yesterday to a prosecution request that fresh testing be carried out on a minute trace of DNA on the kitchen knife that was allegedly used to stab Ms Kercher to death.
It had not been examined previously because forensic experts said it was too scant to produce reliable results.
The handle of the knife bore traces of Ms Knox's DNA, but her lawyers said that was no surprise because it came from a kitchen drawer in her boyfriend's flat.
Alessandro Nencini, the judge in charge of the retrial, also agreed to hear testimony from Luciano Aviello, a member of the Camorra mafia, who has claimed that his brother killed Ms Kercher during a bungled robbery and that Ms Knox, now 26, is innocent.
As well as Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito, none of the Kercher family was in court for the retrial.
But Ms Kercher's family sent a letter to the judge in which they said they were keen to see crucial pieces of evidence reviewed.
"We desperately want to discover the truth and to find justice for Meredith, who was taken away from us so brutally and unnecessarily," the family wrote.
"Nothing will bring back our beautiful Meredith, but we need to know what happened and she at least deserves the dignity of truth."
Ms Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found stabbed to death in her bedroom, in the house in Perugia she shared with Ms Knox and two young Italian women, in November 2007.
Ms Knox and her ex-boyfriend were found guilty of sexual assault and murder in 2009 but were then acquitted on appeal in 2011.
In March this year, the Supreme Court in Rome ordered a retrial. The hearing was adjourned until Friday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)