Page last updated at 17:57 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Amanda Knox tells an Italian court she is 'no murderer'


Amanda Knox addresses the court to plead her innocence

Amanda Knox, who is accused of murdering British student Meredith Kercher, has told a court she does not want to be branded a killer.

Her voice trembled as she addressed the jury in Italy that is expected to deliver its verdict later this week.

Earlier it heard Miss Kercher, 21, of Coulsdon, Surrey, had been killed as she had known her three "attackers".

Miss Knox, 22, and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, deny charges of murder and sexual violence.

Rudy Guede, 22, from Ivory Coast, was jailed for 30 years after he was convicted in a separate trial. He has launched an appeal against his conviction.

I'm afraid of having the mask of a murderer forced on to my skin
Amanda Knox

Miss Knox, who has been in jail for two years, told the court people often asked her how she managed to stay so calm.

Speaking in Italian she said: "The first thing to say is that I am not calm.

"I am afraid of being defined as something I am not and by actions that are not mine.

"I'm afraid of having the mask of a murderer forced on to my skin."

She added she was "confused, sad, frustrated" about the length of time she had been in jail.

Prosecutors say Miss Kercher was murdered in a drug-fuelled sexual assault. The Leeds University student was found dead in her flat in Perugia, central Italy, in November 2007.

Is the behaviour of Amanda Knox at the police station logical when Meredith's body was still warm?
Francesco Maresca, Kercher family lawyer

Francesco Maresca, the Kercher family's lawyer, said Miss Kercher had been killed because her attackers had known they would otherwise be punished for what they had done.

"Meredith was killed because she knew all three of her attackers," he said.

"The murder happened step by step, sexual violence and then murder."

He said Miss Knox's and Mr Sollecito's behaviour was evidence of their guilt.

Miss Knox reportedly turned cartwheels at the police station while she was waiting to be questioned about the murder of her housemate.

"Is the behaviour of Amanda Knox at the police station logical when Meredith's body was still warm?" said Mr Maresca. "Is it logical to say that this murder was carried out by just one person?

"Is it logical that these young people had their phones switched off on that night when young people usually have their phones on the whole time?"

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