'Eventually I want to pay respects at Meredith Kercher's grave': Amanda Knox opens up about murder case in TV interview with Diane Sawyer

25-year-old says she now wants to be 'reconsidered as a person' in first appearance since being cleared

Amanda Knox has told a US television interviewer that it was "incredibly painful" to learn she would be retried for the murder of Leeds University student Meredith Kercher.

Knox spent four years in an Italian prison for the crime, before being acquitted on appeal in October 2011. In March, however, the Italian Supreme Court ordered a retrial for Knox and her former boyfriend Rafaelle Sollecito.

In the interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC News, the 25-year-old from Seattle said, "I felt like after crawling through a field of barbed wire and finally reaching what I thought was the end, it just turned out that it was the horizon, and I had another field of barbed wire that I had ahead of me to crawl through."

Knox, who maintains her innocence, will not be forced to return to Italy for the trial, and few believe she would be extradited even if the Supreme Court upholds a guilty verdict. Kercher, 21, was found stabbed to death in the flat she shared with Knox, a fellow student, in Perugia in 2007. Rudy Guede, 26, was convicted of the murder and is serving 16 years in jail. But Italian prosecutors claimed Kercher’s death was the result of a sex game also involving Knox and Sollecito, now 29.

"I was in the courtroom when they were calling me a devil," Knox told Sawyer. "It’s one thing to be called certain things in the media. It’s another thing to be sitting in a courtroom, fighting for your life while people are calling you a devil. For all intents and purposes, I was a murderer…I’d like to be reconsidered as a person. What happened to me was surreal, but it could have happened to anyone."

Knox claimed Italian police had "demolished" her in a lengthy and intense interrogation, and coerced her into signing a false statement. Following her conviction, she said, "Everything that I thought I knew about the way justice and life worked was gone."

In jail, she considered suicide, but was buoyed by a friendly cellmate and the ministrations of the prison chaplain. The Kercher family reportedly still suspects Knox of involvement in Meredith’s murder, but Knox said she hoped they could "understand that my need for justice for myself is not in contradiction with theirs" and that, "eventually, I can have their permission to pay respects at her grave".

The interview coincides with the publication in the US of Knox’s memoir, Waiting to be Heard, in which she reveals she wrote a letter to the Kerchers, but was advised by her lawyers not to send it. "It's not fair that there is not a satisfactory answer for what happened to Meredith," said Knox, "and the attention that's been taken away from her and what happened to her is not fair."

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