Saturday 16 December 2017

Kercher family to attend Knox appeal verdict

Amanda Knox. Photo: Getty Images
Amanda Knox. Photo: Getty Images
Raffaele Sollecito. Photo: Getty Images
Murdered British student Meredith Kercher

Rosa Silverman

The family of murdered British student Meredith Kercher are expected to return this weekend to the Italian city where she died, their lawyer said today.

The University of Leeds student was on a year abroad in Perugia when she was killed after what prosecutors said was a bungled sex game forced on her by housemate Amanda Knox and others.

American Knox, 24, and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, were jailed for the murder in 2009 but have appealed against their convictions and are soon to learn whether they will be released.

The Kerchers, who have visited the Umbrian hilltop city a few times already to watch the judicial proceedings take place, will fly in on Saturday for the result of the appeal, Francesco Maresca said.

The verdict is expected to be delivered either on Saturday or early next week.

This comes after a final courtroom showdown this week, with lawyers for all parties ramping up the rhetoric in their bids for victory.

On Monday, Knox was labelled a lying, sex-loving she-devil by lawyer Carlo Pacelli, who represents a man she falsely accused of the murder, Diya "Patrick" Lumumba.

Echoing the vivid language he used at the end of the original trial, Mr Pacelli asked the court: "Who is Amanda Knox? 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?"

He maintained that a double soul existed in the University of Washington student, who maintains that police pressure led her to accuse barman Mr Lumumba.

Sollecito's lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, hit back on Tuesday by insisting that Knox was in fact a loving young woman rather like the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit.

She was not the "femme fatale" her accusers describe her as, Ms Bongiorno said, but was instead as faithful as the Who Framed Roger Rabbit character.

The body of Miss Kercher, 21, was found in her bedroom on November 2, 2007. Her throat had been slit and her semi-naked body was partially covered by a duvet.

Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison and Sollecito to 25 for the murder, but both have protested their innocence from behind bars and hope to see their convictions overturned in the coming days.

A third person, small-time drug dealer Rudy Guede from the Ivory Coast, was also jailed for the murder and sexual violence in separate proceedings.

His 30-year sentence was cut to 16 years on appeal.

Independent News Service

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