Meredith Kercher murder retrial: Amanda Knox is guilty, says the man she falsely accused

But the American accused of killing a UK student has no intention of leaving the safety of the US to return to Italy

Rome

The lie that cost Amanda Knox four years in an Italian jail cell came back to haunt her at the opening of the Meredith Kercher murder retrial today in Florence.

Defenders argued that the lack of DNA evidence meant Ms Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, should be definitively cleared.

But Diya “Patrick” Lumumba, the Perugia bar owner Ms Knox falsely accused of the killing, turned up at the court to publicly denounce the  26-year-old American.

“I say the same thing I said six years ago. I think she is guilty, and that is why she slandered me,” Mr Lumumba told reporters.

Ms Knox served four years, including time on remand, of the original 26-year sentence handed to her in 2009 for murdering Ms Kercher and for falsely accusing Mr Lumumba of the crime. The slander was widely seen as the act that incriminated Ms Knox the first time around, despite the lack of hard evidence tying her to the scene. Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were freed on appeal in October 2011. But prosecutors rejected the verdict and turned to Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation, which ordered the latest retrial.

The Supreme Court said that prosecutors’ claims that  an unemployed drifter, Rudy Guede, the only person definitively convicted of the crime, could not have acted alone warranted further investigation.

Neither Ms Knox nor Mr Sollecito was in court today. Ms Knox said last week she would not leave the safety of the US to attend the trial, but has said she will be observing events closely from her home in Seattle. Mr Sollecito, 29, is on holiday in the Caribbean. Their defence lawyers concentrated today on the lack of forensic evidence tying Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito to the room where Ms Kercher died in the student house she shared with Ms Knox in Perugia.

Giulia Bongiorno, the defence lawyer representing Mr Sollecito, stressed that DNA evidence linking his client to the killing in 2007, was virtually non-existent. “How is it possible to find traces of Guede in enormous quantities but not a single trace of Amanda?” Ms Bongiorno asked the appeals court in Florence. DNA from Guede, who is serving a 16-year sentence, was found at the murder scene.

Ms Bongiorno said: “We hope that this will be the last phase of this trial and we hope that it will concentrate solely and exclusively on the reliable evidence and not on conjecture.”

This remark was seen as a reference to the version of events portrayed by prosecutors, who contend that Ms Kercher’s throat was slashed after she resisted attempts by Ms Knox, Mr Sollecito and Guede to force her to participate in drug-fuelled sex game.

Mr Sollecito’s father, Francesco, said that he was confident his son’s innocence would be confirmed. “Deeper examination can only demonstrate what we already know, that Raffaele Sollecito has nothing to do with what that poor girl had to suffer,” he told reporters.

Francesco Maresca, a lawyer for the Kercher family, said the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the acquittals reinforced their belief that Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were guilty. “We have always maintained that they are guilty and that they were present at the crime scene,” he said.

Whatever the verdict in Florence, it may be appealed again at the Court of Cassation. Apart from issuing definitive verdicts, the Supreme Court also has the power to send back cases to a different appeal court as it has for the Meredith Kercher murder – raising the possibility of a drawn-out game of legal ping pong.

Each time the Supreme Court sends a case back to the appeal courts the disputed points of the case become more focused, however, which means the trials should be shorter.

The next hearing has been set for Friday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Broker / Purchaser

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'