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Amanda Knox appeal: Lawyer warns Knox will flee Italy

30 September 11 16:24
Amanda Knox

An Italian prosecutor has warned that Amanda Knox will "run away abroad" if she is absolved of the 2007 murder of UK student Meredith Kercher.

Giuliano Mignini also attacked Knox's "million dollar" publicity campaign and rejected charges she had been "crucified" by the media.

Knox, 24, and Raffaele Sollecito, 27, are challenging their convictions for the murder, which happened in Perugia.

A verdict in the appeal is expected on Monday.

Prosecutors have said they will appeal if the verdict is overturned.

But Mr Mignini, giving his final rebuttal after closing arguments, told the jury: "We know that if the verdict is overturned, there will be an immediate escape overseas.

"As a result, even if this is the second of a three-step legal process in Italy, it is up to you to ensure justice."

Knox 'not crucified'

Mr Mignini was critical of the publicity campaign Knox's family and their supporters have launched, both in Italy and in the US.

He asked the jury: "Have you ever seen a defendant who hires a big PR agency? She has a publicity campaign behind her that cost up to a million dollars."

And he said that, far from Knox being "crucified" by the media, as her supporters allege she has been, it is the police forensic scientists, who analysed crucial murder evidence, who have come under fire.

Mr Mignini also accused Knox - sentenced to 26 years in 2009 - of trying to pin all the blame for the murder of Miss Kercher, who came from Coulsdon, south London, on "the black guy".

Rudy Guede, 22, who has joint Italian and Ivorian nationality, has already been convicted of Miss Kercher's killing and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, reduced to 16 years on appeal.

Referring to Sollecito, who was also convicted of murder and sexual assault and is also challenging his conviction in this appeal, Mignini said the two had co-ordinated their defence. "You wanted to make a pact of steel and blame it all on the black guy," he said.

He added "[Knox and Sollecito] covered their tracks well. The poor black guy will pay for everyone."

A lawyer representing another man Knox accused of Miss Kercher's murder told the court his client still suffers nightmares as a result of her slander.

Carlo Pacelli blamed Knox's false accusation for the recurring bad dreams his client Diya "Patrick" Lumumba keeps having.

The body of Miss Kercher was found on November 2 2007 in her bedroom of the house she shared with Knox and two other Italian girls.

Mr Magnini said he saw Miss Kercher's "brutallised corpse" with his own eyes and added that when pictures of the body were shown in court: "Amanda never looked at them".

Death sentence

He repeated the prosecution's case that an apparent break-in at the house where the murder took place had clearly been staged, and that a broken window could not have been smashed from the outside because the wooden blinds were closed.

Another prosecutor, Manuela Comodi, said: "[Knox and Sollecito] were young but they killed for no reason," said prosecutor . "They killed for no reason and for this they should be given the maximum sentence, which luckily in Italy is not the death sentence."

Knox and Sollecito, who was jailed for 25 years, deny any role in the murder and say they spent the night of the crime in the Italian's apartment watching a movie, smoking pot and having sex.

Outside the court, Sollecito's father said his son was "very scared, but he is hopeful of the right verdict".

"I am hopeful that the court has heard well the arguments presented in the appeals trial and has realised that there isn't any evidence against my son and Amanda," Francesco Sollecito said.

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