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Sunday 25 August 2019

Knox returns to Italy for first time since being freed from jail after villa murder

Amanda Knox exits Milan’s Linate Airport via a side door only to face a media scrum
Amanda Knox exits Milan’s Linate Airport via a side door only to face a media scrum

Amanda Knox, the American former exchange student who became the focus of a sensational murder case, arrived in Italy yesterday for the first time since an appeals court acquitted her in 2011 over the killing of her British roommate.

Ms Knox arrived at Milan's Linate Airport en route to the northern city of Modena, where she is scheduled to take part in a panel discussion on wrongful convictions tomorrow.

She was accompanied by her mother and fiance, and escorted by plainclothes officers. She kept her eyes down as she exited the airport and did not respond to reporters' questions.

Suspicion

The killing of Ms Knox's roommate in Perugia, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, on November 1, 2007, attracted global attention, especially after suspicion fell on Ms Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.

Ms Kercher's nude body was found under a blanket in her locked room at the villa where she lived. Investigators said her throat was slit and she had been sexually assaulted.

Ms Knox's October 2011 acquittal - following a lower court conviction that brought a 26-year prison sentence - was one step in the long legal process that saw a series of different rulings before she and Mr Sollecito were definitively acquitted in 2015 by Italy's highest court.

However, Ms Knox's slander conviction and three-year sentence for having wrongly accused a Congolese bar owner remained intact.

In all, she spent four years in jail before her 2011 acquittal freed her to return to her native Seattle.

An Ivorian immigrant, Rudy Guede, is now serving a 16-year sentence for Ms Kercher's murder.

In January, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Italy to pay Ms Knox €18,400 in financial damages for failures to provide adequate legal and translation assistance during her early questioning by police.

The court said Ms Knox "had been particularly vulnerable, being a foreign young woman, 20 at the time, not having been in Italy for very long and not being fluent in Italian".

After the decision, Ms Knox wrote on her blog that the court's ruling meant her slander conviction was unjust.

Profited

Before travelling to Italy, she published an essay about the decision to accept the panel invitation from the Italy Innocence Project.

"While on trial for a murder I didn't commit, my prosecutor painted me as a sex-crazed femme fatale, and the media profited for years by sensationalising an already sensational and utterly unjustified story," Ms Knox wrote.

"It's on us to stop making and stop consuming such irresponsible media."

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