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Amanda Knox planning to appeal Meredith Kercher murder conviction

The family of Meredith Kercher's murderer Amanda Knox will immediately begin the process of appealing against her guilty verdict.

American Knox, 22, from Seattle, was last night found guilty of stabbing the British student to death after what started as an extreme sex game.

She was sentenced to 26 years in prison. Her Italian former lover, Raffaele Sollecito, 25, was also found guilty of the murder and sexual assault and was jailed for 25 years.

Knox's parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, said in a statement after the verdict: "Amanda is innocent and we will continue to fight for her freedom.

"We are extremely disappointed in the verdict rendered...against our daughter.

"While we always knew this was a possibility, we find it difficult to accept this verdict when we know that she is innocent, and that the prosecution has failed to explain why there is no evidence of Amanda in the room where Meredith was so horribly and tragically murdered."

Prosecutors say Sollecito held the 21-year-old Leeds University student down while Knox cut her throat with a six-inch kitchen knife.

They committed the killing in Perugia, Italy, with small-time drug dealer Rudy Guede, 22, who was jailed for murder and sexual violence last October for 30 years.

Knox's parents criticised the media for the way their daughter had been portrayed, alleging this swayed the judges and jurors.

They said in their statement: "It appears clear to us that the attacks on Amanda's character in much of the media and by the prosecution had a significant impact on the judges and jurors and apparently overshadowed the lack of evidence in the prosecution's case against her."

Knox and Sollecito were told they must pay a total of 4.4 million euros to the Kercher family as compensation for Miss Kercher's murder.

Knox was told she must also pay 40,000 euros compensation to Patrick Lumumba for defaming the local barman when she falsely accused him of the murder.

The semi-naked body of Miss Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found in a pool of blood with her throat slit in her room in Perugia in November 2007.

She had been sharing a house with Knox, who was also a student, on her year abroad in the Umbrian hilltop town.

Police are still not certain why Knox, Sollecito and Guede were all at the house together, although they suspect a drugs deal was behind the meeting.

Knox bowed her head and burst into tears as the verdict was read out. One of her lawyers put a comforting arm around her.

Her family held hands as they waited for the verdict. Their faces fell when they learnt of Knox's fate and her sister Deanna Knox wept uncontrollably.

As Knox was led out of court she let out a loud sob.

Sollecito looked impassive while Miss Kercher's family appeared composed.

Knox's family left the Perugia courtroom in tears, fighting their way through a dense crowd of journalists.

Miss Kercher's parents' lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said the family was satisfied with the verdict.

He said: "They got the justice they were expecting. We got what we were hoping for."

The Kercher family will speak at a press conference at a hotel in Perugia at 11am local time (10am GMT).

Mr Maresca added: "With what we got with the Guede sentence last year, we have obtained truth and justice for this tragic event."

Although no clear motive for the murder emerged during the course of the long trial, prosecutors believe Knox felt that Miss Kercher somehow looked down on her behaviour and that this fuelled her irrational dislike of the Briton.

Miss Kercher, a hard-working and pleasant young woman, was killed after Knox's hatred, probably fuelled by drink and drugs, boiled over into murderous rage, they said.

She, Sollecito and Guede panicked after committing the brutal murder and clumsily tried to make it look like part of a burglary gone wrong - breaking a window in the house to make it appear like a forced entry.

But they did so from the inside, an error soon spotted by the police.

Knox's odd behaviour after the discovery of the body also roused suspicions.

While waiting to be questioned at the police station, she performed a cartwheel and did the splits before pointing the finger at Mr Lumumba, who employed her as a barmaid.

This was not the behaviour of an innocent woman, the prosecutors argued.

And after deliberating for more than 13 hours, the judges and jury decided they agreed.

Belfast Telegraph


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