At the first trial of Amanda Knox in Perugia I thought the prosecution case had so many flaws that the eventual verdict of guilty was simply a miscarriage of justice.
Throughout the trial Amanda behaved in an exemplary manner, despite the unbearable stress that she was undergoing while incarcerated in a foreign land. The isolation itself must have played heavily on her mind and I was surprised she coped so well, given her tender age and the grim outlook she was facing.
One hundred days in an Italian jail is enough to turn you practically insane and the prospect of a further twenty-five years of incarceration is unimaginably cruel and amounting to a death sentence. How she survived the ordeal was in itself a sign of a strong willed young lady, trying to fight the elements with a determination so rare in a person not habituated to the deprivation of want.
Her acquittal, made in 2011, which itself came after an original guilty verdict in 2009, was then perceived as the end of a tragic period in her life – punctuated by a great deal of pain, despair and a hellish nightmare from which she has regained her freedom and her sanity.
Now calamity has invaded yet again her newly found stability and thrown her into an abyss deeper and more savage than her first infernal desolation.
The High Court to which the prosecution had referred the case has now found her guilty, together with her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, of the murder of Meredith Kercher and pronounced a stiffer sentence of twenty-eight and a half years for Amanda for her alleged crime, while Raffaele was sentenced to twenty-five years.
Amanda, who watched the verdict on the internet at her mother’s home in Seattle, was visibly shaken and said: ‘I could not believe what I was hearing. My whole family was there and I was listening and I’m the only one who knows Italian and I’m trying to listen and then tell them. My first reaction was, “No this is wrong” – and I’m going to do everything I can to prove that it is. This really has hit me like a train. I did not expect this to happen.’ She added, ‘I will never go willingly back…I’m going to fight to the very end. It’s not right and it’s not fair.’
Amanda is a very bright girl and masterful at public relations. She became an overnight sensation when she first appeared in court. She’s pretty, has a likeable and captivating demeanour and is promotable on the box and beyond.
A lot of international legal experts outside Italy do not believe she’s guilty. Furthermore, the American public is unlikely to approve her extradition to Italy to find herself at the mercy of a judicial system that reeks of corruption.
Is she really guilty? My view is that she is the victim of circumstances for which she has already paid a high price. I can’t for a moment believe that she is capable of murdering her friend with such brutality for the petty reasons advanced by the prosecution.
Unless, of course, I can see no evil in an attractive face of a young girl whose charisma has seduced the world’s media – including myself.
If she is truly guilty, as they say, then she will have to live in total damnation, tantamount to the scorching fires of hell.
I could never live with that.