Amanda Knox verdict

00:10 We will leave our live coverage of the Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito appeal hearing here for tonight. Both were cleared of all charges of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
Amanda Knox verdict
Meredith Kercher's family showed incredible stoicism today as they faced the world's media and said they accepted the Italian court's decision to clear Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito of her murder.

Stoic: Meredith Kercher's family (from left) mother Arline, brother Lyle and sister Stephanie at a press conference this morning. They said they accepted the appeal court's decision but questions still remained over the murder

Amanda Knox verdict

Meredith's sister Stephanie said the family could not begin to forgive anyone until they found out what had really happened

Amanda Knox verdict
Meredith Kercher: The Leeds University student had been in Perugia just eight weeks when she was murdered

Meredith's mother, Arline, said the family was still 'absorbing the decision'.
Amanda Knox verdict
Meredith's sister Stephanie and mother Arline yesterday afternoon. Adding to their pain, the family have told how their simple search for justice has been overshadowed by the circus surrounding Amanda Knox and her appeal.

Amanda Knox verdict
Meredith's mother and sister later attended the court to hear the verdict against Knox

Moments after the verdict a tearful Amanda Knox is led away before being released

Everything that Meredith felt that night, the fear, the terror. Meredith was such a lovely, lovely girl. Nobody deserved that. A nervous Amanda Knox arriving at court to hear the appeal verdict

Amanda Knox made an emotional final plea in the court room yesterday morning. I am not perverse, violent, disrespectful towards life, people. Overcome: Miss Knox had earlier told the court that she has too much respect for life to be a killer

I shared my life with Meredith. Meredith was killed and I have always wanted justice for her. We deserve our freedom. Amanda Knox left prison today, a free woman for the first time in four years, after an Italian appeals court threw out the young American's murder conviction in the sexual assault and stabbing death of her British roommate.

Knox, 24, collapsed in tears after the verdict was read, her lawyers draping their arms around her in support. Her co-defendant and former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, also was cleared of killing 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in 2007.

"We're thankful that Amanda's nightmare is over," her younger sister, Deanna Knox, told reporters outside the courthouse. The eight-member jury acquitted both Knox and Sollecito of murder after a court-ordered review of the DNA evidence cast serious doubts over the main DNA evidence linking the two to the crime.

The jury determined the latter, clearing Knox and Sollecito completely.

Even if prosecutors appeal the acquittal to Italy's highest court, nothing in Italian law would prevent her from returning home to Seattle. The jury upheld Knox's conviction on a charge of slander for accusing bar owner Diya "Patrick" Lumumba of carrying out the killing. Knox has been in prison since Nov. 6, 2007, five days after the murder.


"We still trust the Italian justice system and hope that the truth will eventually emerge."

The victim's sister, Stephanie Kercher, who was in Perugia with her mother and brother for the verdict, lamented that Meredith "has been nearly forgotten."

One of Knox's lawyers, Carlo della Vedova said he didn't know when Knox would leave the country. Knox and Sollecito, who had just begun dating, were convicted of murdering Kercher in what the lower court said began as a drug-fueled sexual assault.

"Our embassy in Rome will continue to provide appropriate consular assistance to Ms. Knox and her family," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said after the verdict.

In Seattle, about a dozen Knox supporters were overjoyed.

Earlier today, Knox tearfully told the court in fluent Italian that she did not kill the woman who shared an apartment with her when they were both students in Perugia. Knox and Sollecito were convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Kercher, who was stabbed to death in her bedroom. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, Sollecito to 25.

"I never hurt anyone, never in my life," Sollecito said today in his own speech to the jury.

Prosecutors maintain that Knox's DNA was found on the handle of a kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon, and that Kercher's DNA was found on the blade. Observers lined the street leading to the courthouse, taking pictures as the two vans carrying Knox and Sollecito from prison to court passed by.

As the verdict was broadcast live, hundreds of reporters and camera crews filled the courtroom before Knox's address, while police outside cordoned off the entrance.

Knox told the court in her final appeal that she has always wanted justice for Kercher.

If I had been there that night, I would be dead," Knox said. Sollecito was anxious as he addressed the court, shifting as he spoke and stopping to sip water.