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D-Day for Foxy Knoxy murder appeal

AMANDA Knox could walk free from prison today if an Italian court overturns her conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

The young American is serving a 26-year jail term for killing the British student in what prosecutors said was a sex game taken to the extreme.

But she maintains she played no part in Miss Kercher's violent death and has been appealing against her trial verdict for the past 11 months.

The process will reach its climax today, with the judges and jury due to retire to consider whether to acquit her, uphold her conviction or -- as prosecutors have requested -- even increase her sentence.

Knox (24) was found guilty after a year-long trial in 2009, along with her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito (27), who denies any wrongdoing and has also appealed.

Cottage

A third person, small-time drug dealer Rudy Guede, was convicted in separate proceedings and defence lawyers for Knox and Sollecito insist he acted alone. Prosecutors say all three acted together. Before jury deliberations begin, the former lovers will address the court in Perugia, where the murder took place.

The statements they will give represent their final chance to persuade jurors of their innocence, and Knox is said to have been working on hers for three months.

She says she was at Sollecito's house the night Miss Kercher was killed in the cottage the two young women shared.

"Why won't they believe me?" she is said to have asked her legal team despairingly, over and over again. During her four years behind bars, she is understood to have been penning her memoirs, while rumours of million-dollar bids for the first television interview with her if she is released are rife.

At least one film of the case is also being planned.

If Knox wins her appeal, she is expected to fly back to her native Seattle with her family at the earliest opportunity.

But an acquittal is far from guaranteed.

Prosecutors have fought a desperate battle to keep the student behind bars.

hnews@herald.ie