| 6.7°C Dublin

Knox was crucified by accusers, hearing told

Amanda Knox was hit by a "tsunami" of false accusations and her reputation "crucified" after being wrongly accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher, a court in Perugia heard yesterday.

The 24-year-old American student had been "impaled in the public piazza" after being unfairly portrayed as a sex-obsessed killer, her lawyer told the appeals court.

Carlo Dalla Vedova called for Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, to be acquitted of killing Ms Kercher.

They were sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively in 2009 after being found guilty of the British exchange student's murder. They deny involvement and are appealing against the sentences, with a verdict expected to be given on Monday.

"She was crucified, impaled in the public piazza," Mr Dalla Vedova told the six jurors and two judges who will decide Knox's fate. "She has been run over by a media tsunami. She is a girl who is very different from how she has been depicted."

Knox's friends and family contest that she was unfairly depicted by prosecutors and the media as a party girl with a penchant for experimenting with drugs and sex. She was described this week as a "she-devil" by the lawyer acting for a Congolese barman whom she accused of being the murderer.


Summing up the defence, Mr Dalla Vedova said that serious errors had been made by prosecutors and police. He said that when Knox confessed that she had been in the house on the night of the murder and had heard Ms Kercher scream, she was acting under extreme psychological pressure from police.

He also criticised the fact that she was interrogated without a lawyer being present.

Mr Dalla Vedova said the kitchen knife, which prosecutors say was the murder weapon, was not compatible with the wounds in Ms Kercher's neck.

She died after her throat was slit in what the prosecution claim was a violent sex game orchestrated by Knox, with the help of Sollecito and another man, Rudy Guede.

Guede is serving 16 years in prison for murder and sexual assault and Knox's supporters say it was he alone who killed the Leeds University student.

The lower court that found the pair guilty had made a mistake, Mr Dalla Vedova said. The pain suffered by the Kercher family "merited respect", but not at the cost of leaving two innocent people in jail, he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent