The controversial trial of American student Amanda Knox for the murder of Meredith Kercher - from Croydon - is once again making headlines thanks to an upcoming Netflix documentary, set for release on the 30 September. So, what happened back in 2007? Here's everything you need to know.
The trials and retrials of Amanda Knox
Before the case went to trial, the sheer amount of publicity it attracted - combined with the questionable investigation that was conducted by state prosecutors rather than police - gave a severe bias against the American student.
At the same time, the way Knox acted following the murder of her friend caused suspicion; famously, she was seen passionately kissing her then-boyfriend and alleged accomplice in the murder, Raffaele Sollecito, in clear view of the media.
The initial case brought against the pair resulted in a successful conviction, with Knox sentenced to 26 years in prison for, among other things, sexual violence and murder. Sollecito received 25. However, the pair appealed the decision in 2010 and the previous ruling was thrown out, the judge citing numerous errors with the initial investigation.
Soon after, the duo were released, only to be retried once more in 2013 by the Supreme Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest court; they were found guilty again.
Finally, in 2015, an ultimate appeal by the two was accepted by the same court, ruling that the case was without foundation, with only one count of slander being upheld against Knox herself.
The picture becomes more complex when you add the separate trial of Rudy Guede for Kercher’s murder, who was initially seen as an accomplice of both Knox and Sollecito. Guede was convicted in 2008 for murder and sexual assault, initially serving 30 years, which was then reduced to 16 by appeal. He is still serving his sentence today in Italy.
What will be in the Netflix documentary?
Like how Making a Murderer featured Steven Avery, Amanda Knox will feature new interviews with Amanda Knox.
But this seems to be a consistent tactic of Knox, seeking to keep her story in the public domain, as seen recently through an intimate blog where she compares moving in with her new boyfriend to her time in Italian prison: “I’m reminded of how my cell in Capanne prison transformed in character with the arrival or release of even just one prisoner”.
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From what we’ve seen of the trailers, expect some very odd moments where Knox comes across as at best, emotionally detached, and at worst, mildly psychotic.
Giving both sides of the story: Giuliano Mignini
From the two trailers, entitled ‘Believe her’ and ‘Suspect her’, it’s clear the filmmakers want to give both sides of the story. Playing a major part in the documentary is Giuliano Mignini, the lead prosecutor in the Kercher murder case.
Mignini has been involved in some of the most controversial legal cases in recent Italian history; for instance, he accused members of a Masonic lodge in 2002 of a conspiracy involving serial killings and satanic rituals, and then investigated his fellow prosecutors for collusion. All of which ended in 2010 with no convictions. This obsession with cult and conspiracy appears to have crept into his investigation of the Kercher case.
However, a key piece of evidence is brought up by the colourful prosecutor in film: why did Amanda Knox accuse her employer, Diya ‘Patrick’ Lumumba, of having murdered Kercher when he had a clear alibi? Why would anyone shift blame when they themselves are supposedly blameless?
The absence of Rudy Guede
Rudy Guede is currently serving 16 years in an Italian prison for the murder of Kercher. Surprisingly, he wasn’t interviewed for the documentary, either due to the difficulty of getting access to him or as a conscious decision by the filmmakers to exclude the only person still serving time for the murder of Kercher.
Guede played a significant role in the controversies surrounding the case, and his separate conviction makes the truth of the situation so much harder to determine. Although Guede was said to have been acting with others, no one else has definitely been convicted for the murder.
Guede continues to fight against his conviction and has recently filed an appeal to see it overturned. This follows his being released from prison for 36 hours in May this year, due to good behaviour, and his statement at the time thanking ‘everybody who has had faith in me’.
Amanda Knox reaches Netflix 30 September.
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