UK & World News
Amanda Knox Email: 'I Did Not Kill Meredith'
Amanda Knox has insisted she is innocent of the murder of Meredith Kercher in an email sent to an Italian court, saying she was afraid to appear in person at her retrial for fear of being found guilty.
But the lawyer for the Kercher family dismissed the written denial, saying it should be taken "with a pinch of salt".
The British student was stabbed to death in 2007 at the home she shared with the American in Perugia.
Ms Kercher's half-naked body was found in a pool of blood in her room, with her throat slit.
In the email, read out to court by her defence lawyer, Knox wrote: "I am innocent. I did not kill, I did not rape, I did not steal, I did not plot or instigate.
"I did not kill Meredith, I did not take part in her murder."
Explaining the unusual step of defending herself in an email rather than in person, Knox, who is in the US, said she was worried of being wrongly convicted.
"I am not present in court because I am scared," she said in the lengthy email written in Italian.
"I fear that the prosecution's line will influence the decision and will blind everyone."
Knox, 26, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 29, were convicted of murdering Ms Kercher in 2009.
Knox was sentenced to 26 years, including one year for slander for blaming Ms Kercher's murder on a Congolese-born bar owner. Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.
Both defendants were acquitted on appeal in 2011 and released from prison, but then Italy's highest criminal court ordered a retrial.
The prosecution insists forensic evidence proves without doubt that Knox and Sollecito are guilty of the murder.
But appearing before the court last month, Sollecito pleaded his innocence and described the charges as "absurd".
Ivory Coast-born Rudy Guede is still serving a 16-year sentence for the 2007 murder, but the prosecution says the 21-year-old Leeds University student's wounds indicate there was more than one attacker.
Knox's email concluded: "I am innocent. Raffaele is innocent. Meredith and her family deserve the truth.
"I ask you to put an end to this enormous injustice. In faith, Amanda Marie Knox."
Presiding Judge Alessandro Nencini noted that the email, presented by Knox's lawyers, was not a normal procedure in Italy.
He said it highlighted Knox's absence, and indicated it did not have the same legal standing as a declaration made in person.
"Who wants to speak at a trial, comes to the trial," he said.
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