Tuesday 24 April 2018

Amanda Knox defends not attending retrial

Amanda Knox
Amanda Knox
Amanda Knox says she will not return to Italy to face retrial over the murder of British student Meredith Kercher (AP)

Martha Linden

Amanda Knox has defended her decision not to return to Italy to face retrial over the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

The 26-year-old American said she was trying to rebuild her life after the "ultimate nightmare" of being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned over the killing of Leeds University student Ms Kercher in November 2007.

"I have plenty to fear because I was already imprisoned wrongfully, I was already convicted wrongfully and this is everything to fear, this, as an innocent person, is the ultimate nightmare, this does not make sense," she told ITV's Daybreak.

Ms Knox has denied any involvement in the killing of Ms Kercher, who was found with her throat slashed in the bedroom of the house they shared in Perugia, central Italy.

She was convicted along with her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito following a high-profile trial, but the pair were later cleared in 2011 after an appeal court found the prosecution lacking and criticised large swathes of the case against them.

Italy's supreme court has ordered a new trial but Miss Knox, who now lives in Seattle, has said she will not attend for several reasons, including being unable to afford to travel to Italy and remain in the country for the duration of a retrial.

Mr Sollecito, 29, has denied any involvement in the killing and has appealed for money to fund his new court battle.

He is due to face a retrial next Monday.

Explaining her reasons for not returning to Italy for the retrial, Miss Knox said: "There are many reasons why I have made the decision.

"One of the major reasons is because I have done this, I have given testimony ... I can't financially afford to be going back and forth to Italy.

"I am in school, I am trying to rebuild my life. Then there is the very real fact that I was imprisoned wrongfully and I cannot reconcile that experience with the choice of going back. It doesn't make sense.

"This isn't a complicated case. It has been resolved and for people to hold on to circumstantial things that have been proven wrong... At the very beginning, I never had a chance to defend myself. Over the course of the trial, it was shown that I wasn't the monster that was being made of me."

She added: "There is proof of my innocence in there being no trace of me in the room where my friend was murdered.

"There was no reason for me to have done this, there is nothing that is a part of me that would ever do something like this.

"It is so scary to have go to through this again, I did not expect this to happen.

"And now I am not sure what to expect because I have two different experiences - I was wrongfully convicted and rightly acquitted for being innocent and now I have to hope that the next court is able to look at this without prejudice and realise that there is proof of my innocence here.

"This isn't a case about a character, this isn't a case about a femme fatale, this is a case about my friend who was brutally murdered as she just happened to be home that night."

Asked if she would be willing to take a lie detector test, Ms Knox said: "I would do anything to prove my innocence. I don't think that is necessary, but like I said, I am doing everything I can to prove my innocence.

"I am not afraid of anything. I have been put through a tremendous gauntlet."

Ms Knox said she had been made to feel like she was being hunted.

"I've been hunted. I'm being hunted down," she said. "And I'm trying to fight back now that I have the opportunity."

She said she would like Ms Kercher's family to take her to visit her grave and believes that they can help one another with the grieving.

"The greatest closure is for them to be willing to take me to her grave. I never had a chance to see them before I was already called the murderer," she said.

"I can understand where they're coming from. I know that they think that I had some sort of involvement with Meredith's death.

"I would hope that they would eventually take into consideration even the possibility of my innocence. They need to understand that the prosecution is simply wrong and that their lawyers are wrong.

"I also want them to understand that Meredith really was my friend. She was very kind to me and I had nothing to do with her murder. And I am truly innocent. And I truly believe that the only way that any of us are going to be able to heal from all of this is if we come together and acknowledge the pain that we have all gone through."

Ms Knox denied she had tried to cash in on Ms Kercher's death by writing her book, Waiting To Be Heard, which was published in the United States earlier this year, and said all the proceeds had gone on paying back her parents and lawyers.

"I am not sitting on a yacht somewhere - that's not the case," she said.

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