Knox flies home after acquittal in murder case

October 4th, 2011 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron Rome, Oct 4 (IANS/AKI) US college student Amanda Knox flew home to Seattle Tuesday after being cleared of murdering her flatmate Meredith Kercher in Perugia.

Kercher was found semi-naked with her throat cut and over 40 stab wounds in November 2007.

The case has riveted Italy for nearly four years.

Knox’s former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is already back home in Bisceglie in Italy’s southern Puglia region after also being cleared of Kercher’s killing in a controversial ruling late Monday by a Perugia appeals court.

Knox broke down in emotional tears when the verdict was read out, while Kercher’s mother and sister sat in the courtroom crying and many in the courtroom erupted into applause.

The 24-year-old American was taken to Rome’s Fiumicino airport amid tight security and was kept away from a huge press pack waiting for her there.

Surrounded by her family, Knox looked “very tired, worn out” after four years in custody and the strain of two trials, witnesses at the airport said.

A third person, 24-year-old African immigrant Rudy Guede, remains in jail after being convicted in a separate, fast-track trial of taking part in Kercher’s brutal murder.

A judge in the appeals case, reading the verdict, said the evidence used to convict Knox and Sollecito in 2009 of killing Kercher was “insufficiently reliable”.

The verdict has raised questions about Italy’s judicial system after a lower court sentenced Knox and Sollecito to 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively, for Kercher’s killing and prosecutors in the appeals trial had requested life-sentences for the former lovers.

The prosecution has said it will appeal the verdict which was widely seen as being based on a forensic report that said original DNA findings were flawed.

Guede was given a 30-year sentence, later cut to 16 years on appeal.

In the verdict against Guede, whose DNA was found at the crime scene, he was found to have committed the crime “with others”, identified at the time as Knox and Sollecito, during an “orgiastic” and violent sex game that got out of hand.

Kercher’s family issued a statement Tuesday reiterating their confidence in Italian justice but asking: “Who are the other people responsible for the murder?”

“The biggest disappointment is not knowing who is responsible and that there are people out there who have done this,” Kercher’s sister Stephanie told journalists Tuesday.

“What happened to Meredith is every parent’s nightmare,” said Kercher’s mother Arline.

Britain’s prime minister David Cameron voiced “compassion” for the Kercher family Tuesday.

–IANS/AKI
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