Knox 'had scratched neck' after Kercher murder, says friend

Amanda's confidence wanes as Meredith's friend speaks of defendant's new and unexplained wound
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The Independent Online

Amanda Knox sauntered into the court in Perugia yesterday, where she is on trial for murder, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words: "All you need is love", and flashed Judge Giancarlo Massei a broad smile. Later her father, Curt Knox, said the shirt was a present he had brought her from the United States. She wore it yesterday because it was St Valentine's Day, he added.

But the good mood of the 21-year-old from Seattle was shattered by the evidence given by one of her former flatmates, Laura Mezzetti, a trainee lawyer.

On Friday, Amy Frost, an English girlfriend of Meredith Kercher, whom the student Ms Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are accused of murdering, had said that Ms Knox "idolised" Ms Mezzetti and had had her ears multiply pierced in imitation of her. But giving evidence yesterday, Ms Mezzetti testified that she had noticed a new and unexplained scratch on Ms Knox's neck the day after the murder, though she only mentioned it to police during her seventh interrogation. The testimony reduced Ms Knox to tears.

At the end of yesterday's hearing, Ms Knox rose to her feet and nervously made a "spontaneous declaration" to the court. Several witnesses had said that Ms Kercher was unhappy about Ms Knox's failure to do her share of house cleaning. Ms Knox told the court, "I am unhappy to hear, after all this time, extremely exaggerated things presented about the cleaning. I spoke to the girls about it, but it was never a reason for conflict, never. And I always had a good relationship with the people. So I am really saddened about it."

The "good relationship" was in fact endorsed by Ms Mezzetti and Ms Kercher's's boyfriend, Giacomo Silenzi, who both said the relationship between Knox and Kercher was normal. And other evidence presented yesterday and on Friday gave Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito some comfort.

The court has now heard from seven girlfriends of Ms Kercher, the two Italian flatmates of Ms Knox and Ms Kercher, and two of the male Italian students who lived in the flat below them, one of whom was Ms Kercher's boyfriend in the last fortnight of her life. Apart from the "scratch" mentioned by Ms Mezzetti, the worst that any of them has had to say is that the couple reacted strangely to Ms Kercher's death.

The third person in the case, Rudy Guede, the man originally from the Ivory Coast who was sentenced to 30 years for his role in Ms Kercher's murder at a separate trial in November, loomed large in yesterday's evidence.

Mr Silenzi, Ms Kercher's boyfriend, and his flatmate, Stefano Bonassi, testified yesterday that Mr Guede, a drifter and drug dealer who had grown up in Perugia, had twice come to their flat. The first time, some of the tenants had got talking to him in the middle of Perugia and brought him home. "Amanda and Meredith were in our flat that evening," Mr Silenzi testified. "Rudy asked one of us if Amanda had a boyfriend." Ms Knox had not met Mr Sollecito at that point, and they replied that she did not.

On the second occasion. Mr Guede was apparently drunk and passed out in the toilet. Mr Bonassi testified that he had found him there. Mr Silenzi said that Mr Guede had also left his faeces in the toilet, failing to flush it. Mr Guede did the same thing – defecating, passing out, and failing to flush the toilet – in the flat upstairs on the night Ms Kercher was murdered.

Mr Bonassi also told the court that on two separate occasions in October an intruder was seen in the garden of the house they all shared, once by Ms Kercher and once by a male flatmate. They were unable to identify him.