Thursday 18 January 2018

Amanda Knox: sister of murdered Kercher says ‘very difficult’ to forgive anyone for crime

Amanda Knox arriving in court for her appeal trial session in Perugia
Amanda Knox arriving in court for her appeal trial session in Perugia
Raffaele Sollecito, the Italian student convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher in Italy in November 2007, gestures as he arrives for his appeal trial session in Perugia October 3, 2011. Amanda Knox, the U.S. student jailed for 26 years, and Sollecito are fighting a 2009 verdict that found them guilty of stabbing the Leeds University exchange student to death during a drug-fuelled sexual assault. A verdict is due on Monday. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (ITALY - Tags: CRIME LAW)
A candle burns in front of a photograph of Amanda Knox, at a private overnight vigil in Seattle, in the early morning hours of Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. Supporters of Knox are awaiting a verdict from an Italian court in the appeal of her conviction in the 2007 death of Knox's roommate that has garnered international headlines. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Rosa Silverman

Meredith Kercher's sister said it would be "very difficult" to forgive anyone for the British student's murder today.

Stephanie Kercher said her sister had been "hugely forgotten" in the furore around the appeal launched by American student Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito over the November 2007 killing in Perugia, Italy.

Sitting alongside her mother Arline and brother Lyle, she told a press conference: "It is very difficult to keep her memory alive in all of this."

Miss Kercher said forgiveness "does not come into it" at the moment.

She went on: "It would be very difficult to forgive anything at this stage.

"What everyone needs to remember is ... the brutality of what happened that night, everything that Meredith must have felt that night, everything she went through, the fear and the terror, and not knowing why.

"She doesn't deserve that, no-one deserves that."

Meredith's mother Arline refused to say whether she believed Knox killed her daughter but said she trusted the Italian justice system.

She added: "You have to go by the evidence because there is nothing else. What I want, what they want doesn't come into it.

"It is what the police have found, what the science has found, what the evidence is and that's all you can go on.

"It is to find out what happened to Meredith and to get some justice really."

Two judges and six jurors are considering whether to overturn the murder convictions of Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27.

Knox made a heartfelt plea for freedom today, telling the appeal court: "I have paid with my life for things I did not commit."

Timeline of Kercher murder case


- November 2: Miss Kercher, a 21-year-old exchange student from Coulsdon, Surrey, is discovered with her throat cut in her bedroom at her house in the Italian town of Perugia. Her body is partially clothed and under a duvet.

- November 4: A post-mortem examination reveals evidence of sexual activity at some point before Miss Kercher died.

- November 6: Police arrest Miss Kercher's American housemate, Amanda Knox, then 20; Knox's boyfriend, Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, 23; and Congolese Diya "Patrick" Lumumba, 38, who runs a local bar.

Police claim Miss Kercher was murdered because she refused to take part in violent sex. Knox is said to have broken down and confessed to the crime and implicated Lumumba. The three are held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit manslaughter and sexual violence.

- November 7: It is reported that Knox told officers she covered her ears to the sound of screaming coming from Miss Kercher's bedroom.

- November 9: Judge Claudia Matteini rules that the three suspects can be held for up to a year while the investigation continues.

- November 11: Miss Kercher's body is flown home. Knox's mother, Edda Mellas, says Knox did not hear Miss Kercher's screams the night she died but was with Sollecito at his house.

- November 15: DNA is reportedly found on a kitchen knife belonging to Sollecito, with Knox's DNA near the handle and Miss Kercher's on the blade. Police are unsure whether the knife is from Sollecito's kitchen or the house the women shared.

- November 19: A fourth suspect is named as Rudy Hermann Guede, 20, from the Ivory Coast. He is thought to have left Perugia for Milan after Miss Kercher died.

- November 20: Guede is arrested in the German city of Mainz after travelling without a ticket on a train bound for Frankfurt. Lumumba is released without charge.

- November 22: Guede admits being in Miss Kercher's house on the night of the murder but says an Italian man he did not know committed the crime.

- November 30: A court in Perugia rejects Sollecito and Knox's appeals to be released from Capanne prison after lead investigator Giuliano Mignini warns the court they might go on the run if set free.

- December 6: It is revealed that Guede has been extradited from Germany back to Italy.


- September 9: Guede's lawyers say he will ask to be prosecuted separately from Knox and Sollecito in a fast-track trial after talk of a possible pact between the former lovers to frame him.

- September 16: All three suspects appear before a judge in the first of a series of pre-trial hearings in Perugia. Judge Paolo Micheli grants Guede's request for a fast-track trial.

- September 26: Knox and Sollecito come face to face in a closed courtroom for the first time since being jailed after the murder.

- October 28: After 11 hours of deliberation, Judge Micheli sentences Guede to 30 years for the murder of Miss Kercher. He also orders Knox and Sollecito to stand trial for murder and sexual violence.

- October 30: Judge Micheli rules that Knox and Sollecito will remain in prison while they await trial.


- January 16: The trial of Knox and Sollecito begins.

- February 6: On the first day of evidence, Sollecito tells the court he is not violent and has nothing to do with the case.

- June 6: Miss Kercher's parents, John and Arline, give evidence. Mrs Kercher says she will never get over her daughter's murder.

- June 12: Knox gives evidence in fluent Italian. She says she accused Mr Lumumba "in confusion and under pressure" and that a police officer hit her on the head during her interrogation.

- November 21: Prosecutors ask for life sentences for Knox and Sollecito.

- December 4: Knox and Sollecito are both found guilty of the murder. Knox is sentenced to 26 years in prison and Sollecito to 25.

- December 5: Knox's family say they will immediately begin the process of appealing against the verdict.


- November 24: Knox and Sollecito return to court in Perugia for the start of their appeal.

- December 11: Knox breaks down in tears as she makes an emotional courtroom appeal against her conviction, saying she was the innocent victim of an "enormous mistake".

- December 16: Italy's highest criminal court upholds Guede's conviction and prison sentence, which was slashed to 16 years in his first appeal.

- December 19: The court allows a review of the DNA evidence used to convict Knox and Sollecito.


- June 27: Guede gives evidence for the prosecution in the appeal process and confirms the contents of a letter he wrote to his lawyers in 2010, which included a direct accusation against Knox and Sollecito.

- July 25: Experts tell the appeal court that the forensic scientists who helped convict Knox made a series of glaring errors. The genetic evidence was tainted by the use of a dirty glove and failure to wear protective caps, they claim.

- September 7: The appeal court rejects a prosecution request for new DNA tests, saying they would be unnecessary. Prosecutor Manuela Comodi reportedly says she can envisage Knox and Sollecito being cleared.

- October 3: Final appeal hearing.

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