Scientists cast doubt on evidence in Amanda Knox trial

Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito return to court in Perugia today for what could be a crucial turning point in their appeal against their convictions for murdering the English exchange student Meredith Kercher in November 2007.

There has never been any evidence placing Amanda Knox in the room where Ms Kercher was murdered. But at the original trial, the prosecution argued successfully that the DNA of Sollecito found on Ms Kercher's bra clasp at the scene and the victim's DNA found on the tip of a knife in Sollecito's flat proved the pair's involvement.

They said that the knife – identified, as the detective concerned told the original trial, by his "investigative intuition" – was the murder weapon. Taken together, they were deemed sufficient to prove the pair's involvement in the murder of the 21-year-old student from Coulsdon, Surrey, who was Knox's flatmate.

But a report filed by two of Italy's most eminent forensic scientists, which the court will begin considering today, rubbishes that evidence. The bra clasp was taken from the crime scene 46 days after the murder, and the defence has long argued that whatever evidence it bore was unreliable because of that lapse of time.

The new report confirms that claim, and says the alleged DNA on the knife is equally unreliable. The two forensic experts from La Sapienza University in Rome found that the forensic team in the original trial failed to follow correct procedures, both at the crime scene and subsequently in the laboratory. Now the appeal hearing will begin to consider the mass of new evidence presented over the past months. Closing arguments will begin on 5 September, and Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman is expected to deliver his verdict before the end of September.

In the first trial, the public prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, told the court that Knox, Sollecito and an African-born drifter, Rudy Guede, had ensnared Ms Kercher in a ritualistic sex game the night after Halloween in 2007. When Ms Kercher refused to take part in the orgy she was brutally stabbed to death, with Knox wielding the weapon.

This was the version of the crime that appalled and enthralled newspaper readers in Italy, Britain and beyond, and ensured a fascinated audience as the trial unfolded.

Knox and Sollecito have already spent nearly four years behind bars, and during the appeal. The strain of long incarceration has become apparent: at a hearing in May, Knox told the court, with tears streaming down her face: "I, an innocent person, have been in prison for three-and-a-half years."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?