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Knox branded 'she-devil' at murder appeal

ITALIAN lawyers have described Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of killing her English roommate, as a "she-devil" and a "witch" in the appeals court.

They also described victim Meredith Kercher as a "beautiful girl in the prime of her life".

The court also saw gruesome photos of the semi-naked, bloodied body of Meredith Kercher as two lawyers made closing arguments at the appeals trial of Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, her co-defendant and former boyfriend.

Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Kercher. Knox was sentenced to 26 years, Sollecito, an Italian, to 25.

"Who is Amanda Knox?" said attorney Carlo Pacelli. "Is she the mild-looking, fresh-faced person you see here, or the one devoted to lust, drugs and alcohol that emerges from the court documents?"

Mr Pacelli represents Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, the owner of a bar in Perugia who, shortly after the 2007 murder, was unjustly accused by Knox of being the murderer.

He was briefly jailed and then cleared. Mr Lumumba is a civil plaintiff in the case, for in Italy civil portions of cases are heard at the same time as criminal content. Mr Pacelli maintained that a double soul co-exists in the 24-year-old American.

"Both a (saint) and a demonic, satanic, diabolical she-devil, which leads her toward borderline behaviour. This was the Amanda of November 1, 2007," the night of Kercher's murder, Mr Pacelli said. "She is a spell-casting witch, a virtuoso of deceit."


Knox at the time of the crime "was an explosive mix of drugs, sex and alcohol," he insisted. Kercher (21) was stabbed to death in the apartment she shared with Knox. The American student at one point told investigators she was home during the killing and had to cover her ears to drown out Kercher's screams while Mr Lumumba was murdering her, according to court documents.

Knox maintains police pressure led her to accuse Mr Lumumba. The Kercher family's attorney first showed the court a photo of a smiling Kercher, telling the jurors: "Look at her. She was a beautiful girl in the prime of her life."

Minutes later, he showed images of her dead body covered in blood.

A verdict in the appeal is expected by next week.