Europe

Amanda Knox to return to Italy for first time since prison release

Amanda Knox speaking at a press conference with her family after she was acquitted of murder in 2015 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Amanda Knox with her family after she was acquitted of murder in 2015

Amanda Knox is to speak at an event in Italy on "trial by media", despite having vowed never to return.

Ms Knox's appearance at the Criminal Justice Festival in Modena will be her first time on Italian soil since 2011, when she was released from prison.

The American was accused of murdering British student Meredith Kercher, 21, in Perugia in 2007.

Ms Knox was imprisoned in Italy for four years before she was acquitted in 2015.

Who is Amanda Knox? Who was Meredith Kercher?

Amanda Knox, from Seattle, US, and Meredith Kercher, from Surrey, UK, were both language exchange students sharing a house in the university town of Perugia.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Meredith Kercher was a student at Leeds University

Alongside her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, Ms Knox was arrested for murdering Ms Kercher, who was found dead in their house. Her throat had been slashed and she had been sexually assaulted.

Having been found guilty, Ms Knox served four years in an Italian prison before she and Mr Sollecito were acquitted through an appeal. She returned home to Seattle in 2011.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Amanda Knox being escorted to her court hearing in 2008

A retrial in 2014 reinstated Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito's convictions but Italy's top appeals court finally overturned their convictions in 2015.

Ms Knox was found guilty of maliciously accusing her employer, Patrick Lumumba.

Rudy Guede is currently serving a 16 year sentence for Ms Kercher's murder after his fingerprints were found at the scene. The court ruled that he did not act alone, but after Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were acquitted no other accomplices were convicted.

What is the event about?

The festival, which will run from June 13 to 15, is organised by the Italy Innocence Project and the Camera Penale di Modena, an association of lawyers.

Ms Knox, now 31, will sit on a panel called "Trial by Media".

In a tweet, she said she was "honoured" to accept the invitation to speak at the event.

Festival organiser Guido Sola told CNN that Ms Knox was invited to speak because she is an "icon of trials that the media carry out before the trial in court is conducted."

"Amanda has been definitively acquitted in court, but in the popular imagination she is still guilty, because she has been the victim of a barbaric media trial," he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In 2014, the Kercher family said they were "still on a journey to truth"

The Kercher family lawyer has told The Telegraph that her decision is "inappropriate and uncalled for".

Francesco Maresca said: "This young woman should accept the verdict that she received, which was extremely positive for her, and stop embarking on initiatives which seem designed to garner publicity and attention."

Why was the case so famous?

Both Ms Knox and Ms Kercher were young students and the alleged sexual nature of the murder played a key part in fuelling media interest.

Tabloids labelled Ms Knox "Foxy Knoxy" and one Italian commentator said she had "the face of an angel but the eyes of a killer".

She has since written a book and helped produce a Netflix documentary about her time in prison and her experience of being falsely accused.

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