Amanda Knox has given her first televised interview, tearfully describing how Meredith Kercher was her friend and she was stunned by her death.
Miss Knox, 25, said she was “thinking about” Miss Kercher’s family, adding: “It bothers me when people say she wasn’t my friend. I was stunned by her death. She was my friend.”
Asked directly by ABC News interviewer Diane Sawyer: “Did you kill Meredith Kercher?” she replied firmly “No.”
The American student and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were sentenced to 26 years and 25 years in prison for the killing of Miss Kercher in Perugia six years ago.
They were acquitted on appeal and released in 2011, and she returned to her native Seattle. But in March Italian authorities overturned that judgment, and ordered another trial.
Miss Knox said her controversial actions in the aftermath of Miss Kercher’s death, which included being seen kissing Mr Sollecito, had been “mischaracterised.”
She said: “I think everyone’s reaction to something horrible is different.
“My friend had been murdered and it could just as easily have been me. Somehow she had died in the house where we were living and it could have been me.”
Miss Knox said reports that she had been seen doing a cartwheel were not true, and that she had done the splits once.
She described herself as “incredibly vulnerable” during police questioning.
Explaining why she had wrongly named an innocent bar owner to police, she said: “I am still sorry to this day that I named him. I was demolished in that interrogation.”
Of her reaction to being convicted at the original trial, she said: “I was naive enough that I didn’t understand the way bad things can happen to regular people for no reason. What happened to me hit like a train and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I was really afraid.
“I lost it. Everything I thought I knew about the way justice and life worked was gone.
“I was in the courtroom when they were calling me a devil. It’s one thing to be called certain things in the media, and it’s another thing to be sitting in a courtroom fighting for your life while people are calling you a devil. For all intents and purposes I was a murderer, whether I was or not. I had to live with the idea that that would be my life.”
Miss Knox said she wanted the Kercher family “to know their grief has my every respect, has the respect of my family, and we just don’t want to… we don’t want to invade their life and their grief.
“And I really want them to understand that my need for justice for myself is not in contradiction with theirs.”
Remembering the six weeks she spent sharing a house with Miss Kercher before her death, Miss Knox said: “She talked about how she wanted to be a journalist like her dad. And she talked about her sister. And if that’s all I can give them is this memory that I have of her to add to… all of theirs, that they can carry with them when she’s gone.”
Of an Italian court’s decision to put her back on trial, Miss Knox said: “I felt like after crawling through a field of barbed wire and finally reaching what I thought was the end, it just turned out that it was the horizon, and I had another field of barbed wire that I had ahead of me to crawl through.”
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