AMANDA Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were blamed for Meredith Kercher's murder to ease fears a killer was loose in the local area, a lawyer for Sollecito has told a retrial.
Giulia Bongiorno said the pair were identified as suspects four days after the killing because authorities "did not want to think that a monster, could have entered a house and murdered a student."
The lawyer said Knox and Sollecito had no motive to kill Ms Kercher and rejected claims she died in a sex game gone wrong as the defendants' romance was just nine days old when she was killed.
"The relationship had just bloomed and it had nothing to do with 50-somethings searching for thrills," Bongiorno added.
She also criticised the evidence used to link her client to the murder, saying that a bloody footprint attributed to him was the wrong size and shoe model. "There was an enormous error in the print him," Ms Bongiorno said.
Similarly, she claimed that a clasp from Kercher's bra used against Sollecito had been contaminated as two pictures of the crime scene showed it in different places. "It means someone or something moved it," the lawyer added.
British exchange student Ms Kercher (21) was found dead in her bedroom in the apartment she shared with Knox and two others in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007.
In their first trial, Knox and Sollecito were given 26 years and 25 years' jail, respectively.
They were then acquitted in 2011, but Italy's High Court ordered the case back to trial after slamming the appeal court's handling of the case.
While Sollecito, now 29, has attended several hearings, Knox, 26, remains in Seattle, where she returned as a free woman following her acquittal.
A third man, Ivory Coast-born Rudy Hermann Guede, is serving a 16-year prison term for the murder of Ms Kercher.
The court is set to begin deliberations on January 30. A verdict is likely the same date. The trial continues.