Wednesday 23 October 2019

Amanda Knox smiles for photograph alongside new boyfriend

Amanda Knox enjoying a day with her boyfriend James Terrano and friends in Seattle
Amanda Knox enjoying a day with her boyfriend James Terrano and friends in Seattle

Amanda Knox appeared to be enjoying her new-found freedom as she smiled and posed to allow a stranger to take her photograph alongside her new boyfriend.

Miss Knox is reportedly attempting a ‘trial marriage’ with her musician boyfriend just two months after their relationship began.

Her mood may also have been lifted by a report published last week, which criticised police and prosecutors for their harsh treatment of her following the death of 21-year-old British student Miss Kercher.

Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, the judge who presided over their year-long appeal, released a 144-page explanation for why he acquitted Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito, as he is required to do under Italian law.

He said it was wrong that the American had been portrayed negatively for practising yoga and performing cartwheels in a Perugia police station as she waited to be questioned over the murder.

The "gymnastic exercises", he said, were her way of relieving stress rather than a sign of callousness or lack of compassion towards Miss Kercher.

He also said that Miss Knox had been unfairly criticised for buying a G-string, rather than more conservative underwear, in the days after the murder, when police refused to allow her back into the house she shared with Miss Kercher and two Italian legal secretaries.

Buying the underwear was not a sign of "insensitivity" or "an inclination towards obscenity" Judge Hellmann wrote, but a necessity because the University of Washington student had nothing else to wear.

Her family maintained throughout the trial and subsequent appeal that she was unfairly portrayed as manipulative, sex-obsessed and subjected to an unfair character assassination on the basis of her good looks and sometimes eccentric behaviour.

Miss Kercher's body was found in a pool of blood on the morning of Nov 2, 2007, on the floor of her bedroom. Her throat had been cut with at least one knife.

Judge Hellmann said the original conviction of Miss Knox and her boyfriend was based on insufficient evidence and a flawed police investigation.

Ultimately there was "a lack of proof of guilt" against Miss Knox, who returned to her hometown of Seattle immediately after the acquittal, and Mr Sollecito, who remains in Italy.

The judge cast doubts on several prosecution witnesses, including a shopkeeper who claimed that Miss Knox had bought detergent from him the morning after the murder.

Prosecutors claimed that she and her boyfriend frantically tried to clean up the murder scene before police arrived.

The judge pointed out that at Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito's initial trial, at which they were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison respectively, the court used the word "probably" 39 times in its subsequent explanation of the verdict.

He criticised Perugia police for subjecting the American to an all-night interrogation in the days after Miss Kercher, of Coulsdon, Surrey, was found dead.

Miss Knox was "a young, foreign girl who at the time neither understood nor spoke Italian well," he wrote.

She was denied the assistance of a lawyer and subjected to "hours and hours of interrogation in the middle of the night".

It was a "torment" that had left her feeling anxious, confused and fearful and placed her under a huge amount of psychological stress.

The mystery over the circumstances of the murder is likely to endure after the appeals court refused to rule on whether the crime was committed by a lone killer or more than one person.

"It is not this court's role to suggest how the crime actually unfolded – nor whether there was one perpetrator or more than one, or on whether other scenarios were overlooked (by investigators)," the judge wrote.

One person remains convicted of the crime – Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast-born drifter who is serving a 16-year jail sentence.

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