Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito reunited in New York
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito reunited in New York hours after an Italian judge ordered them to be retried over the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher, according to pictures published in the Daily Mirror.
The pair, who were convicted of killing Knox’s 21-year-old British flatmate but acquitted after four years in prison, were pictured embracing fondly before walking side by side around the city, chatting in a relaxed, casual fashion. They were accompanied by Ms Knox’s mother, Eddie Mellas, but her boyfriend, James Terrano, with whom she is reportedly living in Seattle, was notably absent.
The Mirror reported that Knox, now 25, and Sollecito, 29, spoke in Italian, while Ms Mellas walked several metres behind them for most of the afternoon excursion.
When confronted by the newspaper, the pair were reportedly reluctant to discuss their reunion. Knox refused to comment on the Italian ruling or confirm or deny reports that she is refusing to return to Italy to face the court.
Sollecito, who also says he has no wish to go back, said: “We have everything to do now. We have a lot of planning.”
Knox’s mother added: “We need to speak to our lawyers.”
The case of Knox and Sollecito was the focus of much international attention, the media dubbing the American undergraduate “Foxy Knoxy” and poring over the behaviour of the couple, who were pictured kissing and buying underwear in the immediate aftermath of Ms Kercher’s death. The pair, who discovered the body, have always maintained their innocence and say they were smoking marijuana and watching a movie at Sollecito’s apartment at the time of the killing.
With chat show appearances, a multi-million dollar book deal and a schmaltzy TV movie starring Hayden Panettiere, Knox has been embraced by Americans as a victim of injustice since she returned to the country in 2011, and it appears unlikely that the US authorities would extradite her to face a further possible conviction.
Sollecito, an Italian citizen, has for the past year been living in Switzerland but it was reported yesterday (Wednesday) that authorities had revoked his residence permit.
In 2011, judges in Perugia ordered them released on the basis that the prosecution’s case had been riddled with failings, noting that the murder weapon had never been found, that DNA tests were faulty and that no motive had been provided.
Another co-accused, Rudy Guede, remains in prison serving a 16-year-sentence for murder.
But Italy’s high court ruled that investigators had not properly explored the theory that Ms Kercher was killed in a “group erotic game that blew up and got out of control”.
It said that the acquittal was full of “deficiencies, contradictions and illogical” conclusions.
In the ruling, the high court judges said they “had to recognize that he (Guede) was not the sole author” of the crime.
The reunion will raise questions about contact between the pair when they have been ordered to stand retrial. Sollecito has remained loyal to Knox throughout their ordeal, last year releasing a book, Honour Bound, in which he continued to protest their innocence.
He has claimed he was offered a secret deal by prosecutors to betray Ms Knox but said he never considered betraying her.
Announcing their split in November 2011, he said their love was “like a seed that was not allowed to grow because it was brutally stamped on.”
“We were both victims of a cruel injustice and our relationship was overcome.”
Media reports have suggested he may hope to rekindle their romance.
An onlooker said: “They just looked like a normal couple who had been with each other a long time. Together with her mum they explored Manhattan and took the subway to get around.
“You only have to look at him to see he still holds a huge torch for Amanda. He clearly finds her captivating. When they hugged she closed her eyes as he gave her a tender kiss on her cheek.
“At one point he put his arm around her to help warm her up. They never once stopped chatting.
“It’s astonishing they are allowed to even talk to each other, let alone see one another, considering they are both suspects in a murder trial.”