Knox in the witness box: 'I did not kill Meredith'

Confronted by jurors who hold her fate in their hands, American accused of murdering British student presents case for defence

A confident and convinced Amanda Knox told jurors and the world a very different side to the story of Meredith Kercher's murder yesterday.

In front of six laypeople and two judges, the young American recounted the most intimate details of her life: from childhood to college, from the happy onset of her Italian adventure to her discovery of the "strange" scene at the Perugia house where her roommate Meredith Kercher was murdered, and the following events that led to her being sent to prison, where she has been for the past 18 months.

Ms Knox, 21, and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, deny the murder and sexual assault of Meredith Kercher on November 1, 2007. Prosecutors argue that Ms Knox, Mr Sollecito and a third person, Rudy Guede, strangled, suffocated and stabbed Ms Kercher in a struggle that ensued after she resisted a sex game. Guede was tried, sentenced and convicted for his role last October.

Ms Knox was clearly well prepared for her big day on the stand, considered risky, yet crucial to her defence. She began in slightly nervous English but soon switched and gave most of the day's testimony in rapid-fire Italian.

Ms Knox described how she arrived back at the flat after spending the night with her boyfriend and saw drops of blood on the floor, but although she thought it strange, assumed one of her roommates was having menstrual issues. Ms Knox said she then took a shower and slid on the stained bathmat because she didn't have a towel. She said she heard her other roommate cry out "A foot, a foot!" when police were called because no one had seen Meredith for a day and the locked door to her room was broken down. She described how Mr Sollecito kissed and consoled her as she cried.

Ms Knox took pains to explain her odd behaviour, minute details critical to the case, and a series of misunderstandings she felt were lost in translation – like her silly attempt to "lighten up" in a stressful situation by doing yoga and gymnastics in the police headquarters. Finally she told of intense police pressure during a long interrogation that ended with a few cuffs on the head and a coerced confession that she'd been there and seen the killer.

"The declarations were taken against my will. Everything was said under confusion and pressure of the police and prosecutor," Ms Knox told the court. "They were suggesting the path of thought and I was confused.

"I kept saying I had nothing to do with this and remembered being at Raffaele's apartment. They yelled at me, and I was in this confused state because for hours they called me a stupid liar. I was confused."

She accused the Italian police of pressuring her until she named a name: Patrick Lumumba, the Congolese pub owner for whom she worked and to whom she had sent an SMS saying, "See you later. Good night". Mr Lumumba was arrested after the accusation and spent two weeks in prison before being cleared of any connection with the crime. He is now suing Ms Knox for slander in a civil suit running parallel to the criminal trial. His attorney, Carlo Pacelli, was the first to question Ms Knox for naming him even though she knew it wasn't true.

"My memories got mixed up from other days when I remember meeting Patrick," she responded. Ms Knox said that the translator present during her interrogation had suggested that perhaps she was traumatised but would eventually remember.

"They told me I would go to prison to protect someone that I wasn't protecting. They told me to try to remember what I apparently, according to them, had forgotten. In my confusion I started to imagine that maybe I was traumatised, and under pressure I imagined lots of different things because during the days prior the police had suggested many things." Ms Knox said that later that morning, she asked for pen and paper and wrote out a five-page statement that named Mr Lumumba. "Did the police hit you, threaten you or suggest this to you?" asked Mr Pacelli. "No," she said.

In the written statement, she repeated the accusation against Mr Lumumba, but noted she was confused and did not believe her memories were reliable. Later that morning Ms Knox asked if she should have a lawyer. "Someone said it would just make things worse for me because it would appear like I wasn't collaborating with police."

Mr Pacelli asked why she told her mother in a bugged prison conversation that she felt bad about sending Mr Lumumba to prison, but didn't tell police she had accused an innocent man. By that time, Ms Knox said, she didn't feel comfortable talking to police so only told things to her mother or lawyers. The first weeks in prison were terrifying, confusing and cold, she said, recounting one particularly chilling episode of being tested in prison for HIV and being told she had Aids. She went two weeks believing she had Aids before a second test was negative.

"Mama Mia I was crying, I was panicked," she said. "I thought no, I am dying." Ms Knox seemed relaxed, even cavalier at times. When asked why she deleted an SMS she had received but not one she had written, she self-effacingly said she was not a "technical genius" and wasn't sure how to delete sent messages. She described the embarrassing detail of how she wasn't accustomed to using the toilet brush commonly found in European bathrooms to clean the toilet after use, and grinned sheepishly when describing a mark on her neck as "a hickey, from Raffaele" and how she got her nickname "Foxy Knoxy" from crouching on defence on the soccer fields.

She later grew serious when describing her confusion during police interrogations and the shock and emotional outburst she felt when police showed her knives in her apartment.

Ms Knox's dramatic testimony was in sharp contrast to the often dry testimony of the dozens of other witnesses – police, interpreters, friends, roommates and others – who have appeared in court so far.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road