Monday 19 February 2018

VIDEO: Knox Trial: ‘All clues’ point to her guilt in Kercher murder - lawyer

Amanda Knox in court today. Photo: Getty Images
Amanda Knox in court today. Photo: Getty Images
Italian lawyer Luciano Ghirga (L) embraces mother of US student Amanda Knox, Hedda Mellas before the trial resumed earlier. Photo: Getty Images
Murdered British student Meredith Kercher . Photo: PA
US student Amanda Knox is seen in court on September 23. Photo: Getty Images
US student Amanda Knox is seen in court on September 23. Photo: Getty Images

Ben Silverman

"All clues" point to Amanda Knox's guilt in the murder of Meredith Kercher, prosecutors said today as they urged jurors in her appeal to consider the victim's family.

Making his closing speech, prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola denounced an "obsessive media campaign" for stoking sympathy for American Knox.

The 24-year-old was sentenced in 2009 to 26 years in prison for killing the British student, along with her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 26, who was jailed for 25 years.

But media coverage has made "everyone feel like the parents of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito", Mr Costagliola said as their appeal process entered its final stage.

Addressing a packed courtroom in the Italian town of Perugia, where the murder took place four years ago, he said: "As you make your decision, I wish that you jurors feel a little bit like the parents of Meredith Kercher, a serious, studious girl whose life was taken by these two kids from good families."

He added: "All clues converge toward the only possible result of finding the defendants guilty."

The closing speeches began after Miss Kercher's grieving family lamented that she had been "completely forgotten" in the years since her death.

The 21-year-old's sister, Stephanie Kercher, expressed regret that the media had become focused solely on Knox and Sollecito.

Speaking on Italian television show Porta a Porta this week, she said: "In these four years, Meredith has been completely forgotten. But we need to find justice for her, we need to find the truth for her.

"There's not much of Meredith in the media. There aren't photos of her in the media. The focus has completely moved away from Meredith to Amanda and Raffaele.

"And Meredith was so lovely - an intelligent, kind, caring person."

And, her sister admitted, she herself had grown scared of forgetting her.

"I'm scared of forgetting what she looked like," she said. "I'm scared of forgetting how she was to cuddle or what her hands were like, or anything really."

Her mother, Arline Kercher, described her daughter as a "very loving child, a very sweet girl".

She said: "She was always ready to help you. I will never, ever forget her."

University of Leeds student Miss Kercher, from Coulsdon in Surrey, was found dead on November 2, 2007 in her bedroom at the house in the Umbrian hilltop town she shared with Knox and others.

Her throat had been slit and her semi-naked body was partially covered by a duvet.

Prosecutors claimed Knox, from Seattle, and Sollecito, from the southern Italian city of Bari, killed her in a bungled sex game.

Both have strenuously protested their innocence from behind bars.

Summing up the clues he claimed pointed to their guilt, Mr Costagliola listed bloody footprints found in the house that are compatible with those of the defendants; mobile phone activity and witness testimony that appear to contradict the couple's alibi that they spent the night at Sollecito's house; and a staged burglary at the murder scene aimed at side-tracking the investigation.

He also challenged the results of an independent review of the DNA evidence that pointed to flaws in the investigation, and defended the original findings.

In the first trial, prosecutors said Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon, and that Miss Kercher's DNA was found on the blade.

They also said Sollecito's DNA was on the clasp of Miss Kercher's bra.

But the independent review challenged both findings and said police had made glaring errors in evidence-collecting.

Mr Costagliola argued that the original finding could stand however, and claimed the review amounted to "a scientific falsification of the truth".

A verdict in the appeal is expected at the end of this month or early next month.

Ivory Coast-born drifter and small-time drug dealer Rudy Guede was also jailed for the murder after being prosecuted in a separate, fast-track trial.

Italy's highest criminal court has upheld his conviction and his 16-year-prison sentence.

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