Meredith Kercher murder: Amanda Knox breaks down in first live interview after second guilty verdict, saying: 'It hit me like a train'

From Seattle to the Austrian border, the fallout from the latest verdict on Meredith Kercher’s murder has been dramatic

Rome

Many were no doubt hoping that the Meredith Kercher murder case would have drawn to a close by now – not least the victim’s family. But another day of drama today ensured that the spectacle will continue for some time.

Following Thursday night’s decision by an appeals court to reinstate convictions on Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, Sollecito has had to surrender his passport to police after reportedly briefly crossing the border to Austria.

Judges in Florence, who reinstated the verdict that the pair were guilty of killing the British student Ms Kercher in 2007, had ordered Sollecito to hand in his passport. But on Thursday Sollecito had already left the courtroom when the decision was delivered.

Police said the 29-year-old former boyfriend of Knox, 26, was picked up in the village of Venzone, 40 miles from the border crossing. Italian media said he briefly crossed into Austria before returning to Italy, but his lawyer denied he was trying to escape.

“Raffaele Sollecito had no intention of fleeing. He went to the police station in Udine voluntarily,” said the lawyer Luca Maori, who described the conviction of his client as being “devoid of logic”.

Meanwhile, Amanda Knox protested her innocence in a series of interviews given in the US, to where she returned after her original conviction was quashed by the appeals court in Perugia in 2011.

In one interview Knox said: “I’m not going back to Italy willingly. They’ll have to pull me back kicking and screaming into a prison that I don’t deserve to be in. I will fight for my innocence”. Knox, fighting back tears, told Good Morning America that the court’s decision “hit me like a train”.

 

In one interview Knox said: “I’m not going back to Italy willingly. They’ll have to pull me back kicking and screaming into a prison that I don’t deserve to be in. I will fight for my innocence”. Knox, fighting back tears, told Good Morning America that the court’s decision “hit me like a train”.

The family of Ms Kercher has urged the United States to agree to extradite Knox if her conviction is upheld after a final appeal process, which could conclude in 2015. “It would set a difficult precedent if a country such as the US didn’t go along with laws that they themselves uphold,” said her brother, Lyle.

Sollecito’s sentence has been confirmed as 25 years in prison. The Florence appeals court actually increased Knox’s original sentence to 28 years and six months after prosecutors demanded additional punishment for her slanderous claims that an innocent Perugia bar owner had killed Ms Kercher.

 

Both Knox and Sollecito have already served four years in jail for the murder of Ms Kercher who was found with her throat slit in 2007 in the house she shared with Knox in Perugia.

But despite seven years of claims and counterclaims, and four trials, justice seems as far away as ever. Neither convictions nor acquittals are definitive under the Italian justice system until signed off by the Supreme Court of Cassation. Italy’s highest legal body is also able to annul verdicts as it did after criticising the Perugia appeal court’s decision in 2011 to free the pair. This raises the prospect of a drawn-out legal process.

The case continues to divide opinion. Americans have depicted Knox as the victim of a vindictive justice system, which has failed to provide convincing forensic evidence of the pair’s guilt. Many British and Italian observers, on the other hand, point to the lies and changing alibis given by the pair, and Knox’s attempt to blame an innocent man for the murder.

Meredith’s sister Stephanie said she had not been able to grieve properly due to the drawn-out struggle to establish the basic facts of the night their sister was killed. “It may be that we never know the truth about what happened,” she said. Many observers agree. Meo Ponte, a journalist for La Repubblica, said: “By now I think this inquiry is no longer based on fact but on emotions. I believe the affair is destined to remain a great mystery.”

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