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article imageBack in Italy, Knox voices fears of "new accusations"

By Vincenzo PINTO (AFP)     Jun 15, 2019 in World

Amanda Knox said Saturday she feared "harassment" and "new accusations" on her return to Italy years after she was acquitted of the gruesome killing of her British housemate.

Knox, from Seattle, spent four years behind bars after the half-naked body of fellow exchange student Meredith Kercher was found on November 2, 2007 in a bedroom of the apartment they shared in the central Italian city of Perugia.

Kercher, a 21-year-old Briton, had been stabbed 47 times.

Sentenced to 26 years in jail, Knox served four years before an initial acquittal on appeal in 2011. That was annulled two years later, but Italy's highest court ended up definitively acquitting her in 2015.

The 31-year-old is back in Italy for a discussion panel entitled "Trial by Media" at the Criminal Justice Festival in the northern city of Modena.

"To tell the truth I am afraid, afraid of being harassed, insulted, afraid of being trapped and new accusations being directed at me," Knox told the panel.

Knox said she knew some critics would see in her return to Italy a means of "traumatising the K...
Knox said she knew some critics would see in her return to Italy a means of "traumatising the Kercher family and profaning Meredith's memory"
Vincenzo PINTO, AFP

"I have come back because it was something I had to do -- there was a time when I felt at home in this beautiful country and I hope one day to recapture this feeling," Knox, speaking in Italian, told the forum, her voice often close to breaking.

- 'Many think I am wicked' -

"I know that, despite my acquittal, I remain a controversial figure in the face of public opinion, especially here in Italy. I know many people think I am wicked," said the American.

"Some have even suggested that by being here I am once again traumatising the Kercher family and profaning Meredith's memory," she went on.

"They are wrong," she insisted.

Fox said she was afraid of harassment and new accusations against her as she returned to Italy  conc...
Fox said she was afraid of harassment and new accusations against her as she returned to Italy, conceding that she remains a "controversial figure" branded "evil" by some
Vincenzo PINTO, AFP

"The fact I continue to be held responsible for the Kerchers' pain shows how powerful false narratives can be and how they can undermine justice, especially when reinforced and amplified by the media," said Knox.

"Even before the start of my trial I was already submerged by an avalanche of fantasy spread by the tabloid media," she lamented, so "it was impossible for me to have a fair trial."

In the eyes of journalists, she said, "I was a liar, a psycho, a dirty whore and a junkie."

"I was innocent - but the rest of the world had decided I was guilty ... my innocence did not save me," Fox said between sobs.

The conference has been organised by a group of Modena lawyers and the Italy Innocence Project, which focuses "on the issues related to wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice".

Amanda Knox (L) and Raffaele Sollecito (R) were eventually acquitted of the 2007 murder of Knox&apos...
Amanda Knox (L) and Raffaele Sollecito (R) were eventually acquitted of the 2007 murder of Knox's housemate Meredith Kercher
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / TIZIANA FAB, AFP/File

"The Italy Innocence Project didn't yet exist when I was wrongly convicted in Perugia," Knox tweeted in May.

From the outset, her case sparked lurid headlines in Britain and Knox's hometown of Seattle, Washington.

Prosecutors described the murder as a drug-fuelled sex game gone awryl, involving Knox, her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and an Ivorian drifter, Rudy Guede.

The prosecution alleged Knox and Sollecito had delivered the fatal blow while Guede restrained the victim.

Sollecito was acquitted alongside Knox, but Guede was convicted in a separate "fast track" trial and is serving a 16-year jail term in Italy.

Defence lawyers argued their clients could not get a fair trial because of the media frenzy over the murder, with lurid headlines seizing on the young US student's nickname "Foxy Knoxy".

In an essay published online on Wednesday, she recalled fleeing the country "in a high-speed chase, paparazzi literally ramming the back of my stepdad’s rental car".

Knox's sentence was raised to 28 years in prison when her conviction was upheld in 2014, though both she and Sollecito were finally acquitted by Italy's top court the following year and she returned home to work as a journalist and commentator.

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