Knox awaits her fate after final plea

American student charged with murder tells court her conscience is clear

An emotional Amanda Knox made a last-ditch plea to jurors not to convict her on murder charges yesterday, saying she feared she was having, "the mask of a killer forced on to my skin".

"Everybody asks me, how do you stay so tranquil?" the American student, aged 22, told the court in Perugia at the close of her murder trial. "Well I am not calm. I am afraid of losing myself. I am afraid of being defined as someone I am not and for something I did not do."

The jury of two magistrates, and six lay people, is expected to decide her fate late today. Jurors must decide whether she and Raffaele Sollecito, her former boyfriend, are guilty of murdering Ms Knox's British flatmate, Meredith Kercher. Prosecutors allege that Ms Knox stabbed Ms Kercher, 21, during a drug-fuelled sex game while Mr Sollecito held the victim down.

Ms Knox was clearly nervous as she began to speak, her voice and hands trembling. She said she was disillusioned, sad, frustrated and vulnerable, but still trying to "see the positive in moments like this". She has already spent two years in jail but said her friends and family "saved her life every day".

Occasionally glancing at her notes, she thanked her lawyers and even the prosecutors who had demanded she be imprisoned for life, with nine months' solitary confinement thrown in. "They are just trying to do their jobs, even if they don't understand," she said. "They are trying to find justice for someone whose life was taken." But she stressed dramatically to the jury in conclusion: "My conscience is clean. Now it is up to you."

Earlier, Mr Sollecito, a computer engineering graduate from a small town near Bari, southern Italy, also made a final plea to be acquitted. "Why would I commit something so horrible as murder?" he asked rhetorically. "I have been dragged into an absurd situation that I don't know anything about. I have heard that Meredith was murdered because she didn't get on with Amanda... this is all difficult to imagine. I fail to understand why I would have participated in this murder with no motive." He went on: "You are deciding my life. I am not living a nightmare anymore, but something far more dramatic."

Mr Sollecito, 25, and Ms Knox were arrested in connection with the stabbing to death of Ms Kercher, a student from the University of Leeds, soon after she was killed in Perugia on 1 November 2007.

The lawyer representing the family of the victim, Francesco Maresca, insisted that Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were responsible. "Meredith died because she knew her attackers," he told the court in his summing up. "After being attacked and sexually assaulted she was threatened and she resisted. They had to silence her in some way, and you get that silence with death."

A member of her defence team said two years in prison had not had a damaging impact on Ms Knox. "She has not changed," Maria Del Grosso said. "I have got to know her during this trial. She is intelligent, sweet and a bit naïve. She doesn't cry out for attention. She's genuine and I think she has shown great dignity through all of this."

But the student has evidently developed during her time behind bars. Her Italian has gone from heavily accented and barely comprehensible to completely fluent – evident in her speech yesterday and by the animated, friendly conversations she has with her lawyers and prison guards during the courtroom breaks. Mr Sollecito's stature and confidence have also grown. Yesterday he told jurors that he wasn't just "an attachment" to Ms Knox as the prosecution had suggested. "I am not a dog on a leash and I am not Amanda-dependent as the prosecution has argued," he said, adding that he thought it was "difficult to imagine" her as the man-eater depicted by the prosecution.

Prosecutors have charged that Ms Knox, Mr Sollecito and a third suspect, Ivory Coast immigrant Rudy Guede, who has already been convicted, sexually molested then murdered Ms Kercher after a fight spiralled out of control. Lawyers representing the Ms Kercher family, from Coulsdon, Surrey, have asked jurors to convict them today, and to sentence them to life.

ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Systems Analyst (Retail)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Up to 20% bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An...

Technical BA - Banking - Bristol - £400pd

£400 per hour: Orgtel: Technical Business Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £400pd...

Head of Digital Marketing,London

To £58k Contract 12 months: Charter Selection: Major household name charity se...

Lead Hand - QC

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Lead Hand - QCProgressive are recruiting...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice