Knox wins murder evidence review
Amanda Knox's family have expressed their delight after a court allowed a review of the evidence used to convict her of Meredith Kercher's murder.
The American student is serving a 26-year prison sentence in Perugia for the brutal killing, which prosecutors said followed a bungled sex game.
Now appealing in the Italian hilltop town, her hopes of having the verdict overturned were given a boost by yesterday's decision to grant a re-examination of crucial DNA evidence.
The court also gave permission for defence lawyers to introduce two new witnesses to the appeal process, giving another boost to 23-year-old Knox's chances.
Her stepfather Chris Mellas described it as "the first step in the right direction".
The 36-year-old said: "We're all pleased. It's nice to have the first good decision in three years. Amanda is definitely hopeful. We've always had a little bit of that hope but this is the first time we have a reason for it."
The evidence to be reviewed includes disputed DNA traces found on a knife allegedly used as the murder weapon and on the clasp of Miss Kercher's bra.
Lawyers representing Knox's Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, sentenced to 25 years for the murder in the same trial last year, also requested a fresh look at this evidence.
Both legal teams say the evidence was inconclusive and have also argued it may have been contaminated when analysed.
University of Leeds student Miss Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found dead on November 2, 2007 in her bedroom at the Perugia house she shared with Knox and others during her year abroad.