Give Amanda her life back, pleads lawyer in Kercher case

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The Independent Online

A defence lawyer for an American student accused of killing her British roommate broke down after urging the court to give his client back her life. But a prosecutor called the accused, Amanda Knox, a compressed spring who exploded the night of the murder.

Ms Knox, 22, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, are being tried in Perugia for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, of Coulsdon, Surrey. They deny any wrongdoing.

Luciano Ghirga, one of Ms Knox's defence lawyers, insisted in court that Ms Knox was the victim of a "mechanism that crushed her".

"Amanda is asking to have her life back. Give Amanda her life back by clearing her of all charges," Mr Ghirga said, raising his voice and fighting back tears at the end of his emotional three-hour concluding argument.

Mr Ghirga challenged evidence in the case, including a knife that prosecutors say could be the murder weapon. The 16.5cm-long blade, which prosecutors say had Ms Kercher's DNA on the blade and Ms Knox's on the handle, was found at Mr Sollecito's house. According to Mr Ghirga, wounds and cuts on the Briton's body indicate a smaller knife might have been used in the attack.

He charged that prosecutors had changed their minds about the alleged motive for the attack.

"Initially, it was a sexual motive, now it's hate," Mr Ghirga said. "But that's just another non-existing motive."

After leaving the courtroom, Mr Ghirga said: "I broke down at the end, as soon as I stopped talking. I even feel a bit embarrassed about it."

In his rebuttal, lead prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said Ms Knox lashed out at Ms Kercher on the night of the murder for having complained about her promiscuous behaviour.

A verdict by the eight-member jury is expected by the end of the week.