We wanted to be left in our 'nest of desire', Knox's boyfriend tells trial
The former boyfriend of Amanda Knox delivered an impassioned speech to an Italian court, denying that the couple murdered the British student Meredith Kercher and saying that they had just wanted to be left alone in a "nest of desire".
Raffaele Sollecito choked up towards the end of the 15-minute address yesterday, saying that he had been unjustly portrayed as "a ruthless assassin" and that his life had turned into a "nightmare" ever since he and Ms Knox were arrested after Ms Kercher's body was found in the cottage she shared with the American in Perugia, Umbria, in November 2007.
In the last day of evidence in the appeals trial, he said he had been very "reserved" when he met Ms Knox at a classical musical contest in Perugia just 10 days before the murder, and that she was his first love.
"She was my first true love – I started rather late," Mr Sollecito said.
"Amanda was carefree. She and I wanted to be completely isolated in our nest of desire, to live out a little fairytale." The accusations levelled against them were "absurd", he said, during his first appearance at the third murder trial over Ms Kercher's death, which began in September.
"I have been described as a ruthless assassin but I am nothing of the sort," said Mr Sollecito, wearing khaki trousers and a brown pullover. The 29-year-old said the four years he spent in prison after being convicted of the murder and sexual assault of the Leeds University student was an experience that he would not wish "on anyone in the world".
He said he had never been in trouble with the law before his arrest for the murder of Ms Kercher (21), from Surrey.
He said the only fault of which he and Ms Knox could be accused was failing to comprehend the seriousness of the situation before and after they were arrested six years ago.
"I didn't take things seriously enough at the start," said the computer studies graduate, who flew back to Italy for the hearing from the Dominican Republic, where he was on holiday for several weeks.
Prosecutors allege that Mr Sollecito and Ms Knox, together with Rudy Guede, a small-time drug dealer in Perugia, subjected Ms Kercher to a frenzied knife assault in her bedroom on the night of November 1, 2007, during a group sex game that spun out of control.
But Mr Sollecito told the court that he did not even know Guede, who is serving 16 years in jail after being convicted of the crime in a separate, fast-track trial, and that he barely knew Ms Kercher.
Ms Knox was not in court – she has elected to remain in her home town of Seattle, as is her right under Italian law.
The trial was adjourned until November 25. (© Daily Telegraph, London)