Amanda Knox made a dramatic plea for her freedom in a tearful way as she addressed the judge and jury today in her appeal trial and told them: “I did not kill, I did not rape, I did not steal.”
Amanda Knox, 24, spoke for just over ten minutes and needed to pause frequently for breath, at one point the judge asked her if she wanted to speak sitting down.
But Amanda Knox, who is fighting to avoid a possible life sentence, turned down his offer and after a gentle encouraging squeeze of her hand from her lawyer Luciano Ghirga she addressed the court.
Speaking in Italian, Amanda Knox pleaded her innocence for the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher and said:
“Esteemed people of the court, it has been said many times that I am a person different than what I am.
“I am the same person I was four years ago, the same person, the only thing that distinguishes me from four years ago is the four years that I have suffered.
“In four years I have lost a friend in a brutal and unexplained way. My faith in the police has been betrayed. I have had to face accusations, injustice and suggestions without foundation and I am paying for my life for something that I did not do.”
“I am not what they say I am. I am not perverse, violent, disrespectful towards life, people, these things do not apply to me and I have not done the things that have been suggested.
“I did not kill, I did not rape, I did not steal. I was not there. I was not present at this crime.”
According to court watchers who have been covering the trial, her plead was a powerful delivery and much better than the one Amanda Knox had made at her original trial two years ago when she confused the court by saying she did not want the “mask of an assassin forced upon me”.
Crucially for her this time Amanda Knox also said that she did not kill Meredith Kercher – something she failed to do at her original trial and as she spoke her parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, were in tears.
As Amanda Knox spoke there was complete silence in court and the packed chamber listened intently to her who added:
“I had never faced such tragedy, suffering, I didn’t know how to tackle it, how to interpret it.
“When we learnt Meredith was dead, we just could not believe it. How was this possible ?
“Then I felt scared. A person who I was sharing my life with, who had the bedroom next to me, she was killed in our house and if I was there that night I could have been killed.
“I wasn’t there. I was at Raffaele’s.”
Amanda Knox then criticized the police who had questioned her that night. She said: “I had a sense of duty towards justice, the authorities who I put my trust in.
“They were there to find the guilty and to protect us. I put my faith in them absolutely.
“I made myself available for them in those days but I was betrayed – the night of 5/6 November I was pressured, stressed and manipulated.”
Amanda Knox has already told the court how she was questioned for 14 hours without a lawyer or an interpreter and was even cuffed twice around the back of the head by police as they demanded answers from her.
Her version of the events that evening is crucial to the appeal as prosecutors say Amanda admitted being on the scene and had also provided – wrongly – the name of bar man Patrick Lumumba who was wrongly arrested and held in jail for two weeks before being freed.
Amanda Knox also insisted that despite prosecution claims she did not know Rudy Guede who has already been convicted of the murder and added: “I have never done what they say I have done, it is not as they say it was.”
“I had a good relationship with all my flatmates. I was messy, carefree but we had a good relationship we were all ready to help each other.
“I shared my life with Meredith, we had a friendship, she was worried for me when I went to work, she was always gentle with me.
“Meredith was killed and I have always wanted justice for her. I am not fleeing from the truth and have never fled. I insist on the truth. I insist after four desperate years for our innocence because it is true. It deserves to be recognized.
“I want to go home. I want to return to my life, I don’t want to be punished and deprived of my life, future for something I have not done because I am innocent, Raffaele is also innocent.
“We deserve our freedom. We have never done anything not to deserve it.”
Earlier in his declaration Raffaele Sollecito had spoken and had told the court:
“I have so much to say but I don’t think I have enough time. I just want to tell the court how much I have been suffering.
“I just want to say i never hurt anyone, never in my life,”. He added: “I hoped that this would have all been cleared in a short time – instead it did not happen this way.”
Raffaele Sollecito paused several times and took several sips of water as he spoke and said: “Amanda and I have been in jail for 1,400 days. These 1,400 days have been spent 20 hours a day in a space 2.5m by 3m – it’s difficult to imagine that situation.”
Then turning to the night of Meredith’s murder Raffaele Sollecito said: “I was in a beautiful situation. I was about to hand in my dissertation for my final degree.
“During that period I met Amanda Knox, she was beautiful, sunny, lively and sweet and that was supposed to be our first weekend together.”
Painting a romantic picture Sollecito said: “We were free that night. Our only aim that night was to have an evening of tenderness and cuddles. The other descriptions just did not happen. This was our simple desire.”
After Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had addressed the court judge Hellman also spoke sternly to the packed chamber and said: “We will now retire but I to ask you to reflect on something. This is a court room and not a football match there is no room for supporting when the verdict is read.
“Let’s remember that a beautiful girl was murderered and the lives of two other young people are in the balance. So I say again when the sentence is read, respect and silence. Having said that we will now retire and the verdict will not be before 8pm local.”
The final day of the 10-month appeal trial began with Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, making his final rebuttal, stressing how the investigation had been carried out in a climate of “hostility” towards his client.
Amanda Knox, 24, is serving 26 years for the brutal murder of British student Meredith Kercher, 21.
There are four possible outcomes for Amanda Knox today:
1. Conviction upheld and she serves remaining 22 years
2. Conviction upheld and sentence increased to life
3. Conviction upheld and sentence reduced
4. Conviction overturned and she is released from prison