Amanda is back in the news.
Now aged twenty-five, she was first convicted of the killing of her friend, British student Meredith Kercher, in 2007. She spent four years in jail and then was acquitted on appeal, but Italy’s highest court has now ordered a retrial.
Amanda and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and another man are accused of killing Meredith who was from Coulsdon, South London, in an alleged drug-fuelled sex game gone wrong. The third suspect, Rudy Guede, an Ivorian immigrant, is serving a sixteen-year prison term for the murder.
Now studying creative writing at the University of Washington in Seattle, Amanda is due to publish her memoir, Waiting to be Heard, in the US on 30th April; it will not, however, be released in Britain because of libel fears.
According to an advance copy obtained by the New York Times, Amanda wrote that ‘marijuana was as common as pasta’ in her flat in Italy.
She denied killing Meredith, writing that on the night of the murder she was smoking marijuana, reading a Harry Potter book aloud in German and watching the film Amélie at Mr Sollecito’s flat.
In an interview with ABC news to be shown on 30th April to coincide with the publication of her book in the US, Amanda said that she considered killing herself while in jail, and that she was still haunted by the death of Meredith, her housemate in Perugia, Italy. Amanda thought of many ways of committing suicide, including poisoning with bleach, swallowing shards of glass, hanging, and hitting her head against a wall. ‘Less effective but more dignified was bleeding yourself to death,’ Amanda wrote. ‘I imagined it would be possible to get away with enough time in the shower.’
In an interview with People magazine, the first since her release, Amanda said: ‘When Meredith was murdered and I was arrested, it was shocking. It was paralysing. Everything toppled. Things creep up on me and all of a sudden I am overwhelmed by the feeling of helplessness and desperation and fear to even hope. Just that can make my heart race and makes me paralysed until I can breathe it away.’
During the lengthy trial in Italy, I followed the proceedings as diligently as my time allowed and heard the public prosecutor lambast Amanda with a litany of exaggerated accusations – as if he were on a relentless crusade to find her guilty no matter what. To me he appeared and sounded to be a nasty piece of work and it transpired later he was a notorious prosecutor accused of abusing his position in a previous criminal case.
My instinct led me to believe that on the evidence presented Amanda was wrongly jailed and as a result suffered draconian hardships. It was a clear-cut case of miscarriage of justice.
Throughout her ordeal Amanda was admirably composed and betrayed no loss of dignity. The more I saw of her on my television screen the more sympathetic and bewitched I became. Her immaculate behaviour under unbearable pressure – given her young age and her inexperience as to the cruelties life can heap upon such a defenceless creature caught in such dire circumstances – was a master class in itself.
She is without doubt a star in the making. I wish her better days and less hazardous journeys in the years to come.
As for poor Meredith the tragedy of her death can at no time be forgotten, nor should it be. The real culprit should never be allowed to escape retribution.