Europe

Amanda Knox appeal: Prosecutors call for life sentences

  • 24 September 2011
  • From the section Europe
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito
The outcome of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito's appeal is due by early October

Prosecutors have called for an appeals court to extend the sentences given to two convicted murderers of British student Meredith Kercher to life terms.

American Amanda Knox and Italian Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty in 2009 of murder in Italy and jailed for 26 years and 25 years respectively.

The pair, who deny any wrongdoing, are appealing against their convictions.

In summing up, prosecutors said evidence pointed to the pair's guilt and defended the original DNA evidence.

Independent experts had questioned the reliability of evidence - used in the original trial - from a knife and Miss Kercher's bra clasp.

Manuela Comodi, one of the prosecutors making closing statements, showed the jury how she believed the bra had been cut from Miss Kercher. She also showed jurors photographs from the scene.

The prosecution told the court the independent experts, appointed by a judge, did not have sufficient qualifications to be described as experts.

'Bungled sex game'

They also said the DNA was only one part of the original case against Knox and Sollecito.

There was also considerable circumstantial evidence which put the defendants in the flat on the night of Miss Kercher's death, they said.

Prosecutors told the court that their evidence showed the pair should not be acquitted but given life sentences - something which they had argued during the original trial.

The BBC's Daniel Sandford, who is in Perugia, said the prosecution's demand was something Knox and Sollecito's teams would have been expecting.

Closing arguments from the Kercher family's lawyer and the defence are due to be heard next week.

Knox, 24, and her former boyfriend Sollecito, 26, were convicted of the 2007 murder of Miss Kercher in her bedroom after a bungled sex game. Miss Kercher's throat had been cut.

Year-long appeal

Miss Kercher, from Coulsdon, south London, had been sharing a flat with Knox in Perugia while on an exchange year abroad from the University of Leeds.

Knox and Sollecito have spent almost a year appealing against their convictions.

Earlier in the appeal, independent experts suggested that the original DNA evidence fell short of international standards, with police failing to wear the correct protective equipment and wrapping evidence in plastic bags instead of paper.

They also said the genetic profile on the knife's blade, which was attributed to Miss Kercher, could not be attributed with certainty.

The original testing did not follow recommendations of the international scientific community for dealing with DNA testing, they added.

The review did support original tests which found the genetic profile on the knife's plastic handle could be attributed to Knox, they said.

A third person, 21-year-old Rudy Guede, was also convicted of Miss Kercher's murder in a separate trial and is serving a 16-year term.

The outcome of the appeal is expected by early October.

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