ROME (Reuters) - Amanda Knox, the American student facing retrial for the murder of her British roommate in 2007, said on Tuesday she was paying for Italian police errors but was confident the court reviewing the case would find her innocent.
Knox and her Italian boyfriend at the time of the murder, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted in 2009 of killing 21-year-old Leeds University student Meredith Kercher in what was described as a drug-fuelled sexual assault.
After winning an appeal in 2011 quashing the guilty verdict, both were freed from prison. But the case is being tried again in Florence after Italy’s supreme court overturned the acquittals in March, citing “contradictions and inconsistencies”.
Knox said in an interview due to be aired on Italian state RAI television on Tuesday night the case was taking so long to conclude because of a botched police investigation.
“I think I am paying for the mistakes of the police, of the investigators who don’t want to admit that they are wrong,” she said during a prerecorded Skype interview with RAI’s Porta a Porta program.
The judge in the case has ordered a new test on the presumed murder weapon, a kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s house, to examine a DNA trace that was not previously checked because experts said it was too small to produce reliable results.
“NO FEMME FATALE”
“I hope that this new trial will find me innocent and will look at these facts ... let’s look at this all in full, but let’s find my innocence,” Knox said.
Kercher was found with more than 40 wounds, including a deep gash in the throat, in the apartment she shared with Knox in Perugia, a picturesque town in the central Umbria region that attracts students from around the world.
Prosecutors had said that Kercher was held down and stabbed after she resisted attempts by Knox, Sollecito and a third man, Ivorian Rudy Guede, to involve her in an orgy in the apartment the two women shared in the town.
However their case was weakened by forensic experts who undermined the credibility of DNA evidence provided by police and made strong criticisms of their first-response procedures at the scene of the killing.
Knox, who was portrayed as a sex-obsessed “she-devil” by prosecutors, told Porta a Porta she was just a normal person and the image of her they had presented was false.
“I am not the femme fatale criminal fantasy they describe. This person does not exist. They put a mask on me, they put evil on me, but they didn’t try to see who I really was,” she said.
Knox reaffirmed she would not be returning to Italy to attend the retrial, because she had already been “wrongfully imprisoned”. Sollecito’s father Francesco said his son was planning to be in court at a hearing on November 6.
Reporting by Catherine Hornby; editing by Andrew Roche