true crime

Amanda Knox: a psychopath in sheep’s clothing or an innocent person caught up in a nightmare

When Netflix launched the Amanda Knox documentary on the 30th September 2016, I didn’t know too much about the tragic death of Meredith Kercher, the arrest of Amanda Knox, the media attention, the trial and the eventual acquittal but based on the small amounts of information I knew, I thought that Knox was caught up in something awful that didn’t involve her, and instead involved Rudy Guede  – however, after watching the documentary I’m not too sure.

Meredith Kercher was born on the 28th December 1985 and her life was tragically cut short at the age of 21, in Perugia, Italy. She was a British exchange student visiting Italy who shared a flat with Knox. On the 1st November 2007, it was a public holiday in Italy and so Meredith’s Italian flatmates were out of town, as were the occupants of the downstairs flat. According to Knox, after she spent the night with her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, she arrived back at the apartment she shared with Meredith on the 2nd November 2007, finding the front door open and drops of blood in the shared bathroom. Meredith’s bedroom door was also locked, which Knox took as indicating that Meredith was sleeping. However, when Meredith didn’t answer the door after a while, alarms were raised and Knox was advised to call the 112 emergency number. Meredith’s body was found around 1:15pm by a male friend where it was lying on the floor, covered by a duvet.

At the crime scene, the fingerprints of Rudy Guede (an Italian known to the police) were found and Guede was immediately labelled as a suspect. Guede stated that he went to Meredith’s home on the evening of her death, after meeting her the previous evening but he claimed that he then developed stomach pains and then went to the bathroom. As he was inside, he then claims to have heard Meredith scream and that upon emerging, to help her, he saw a shadowy figure holding a knife and standing over her as she lay bleeding on the floor, whom later fled. The court later found that that his version of events did not match the forensic evidence, and that he could not explain why one of his palm prints, stained with Meredith’s blood, had been found on the pillow of the bed, under her body. Therefore Guede was found guilty in October 2008 of murder and sexual assault and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.

Before my viewing of the documentary, and acquiring more knowledge surrounding the conspiracy that Meredith’s flatmate Amanda Knox was also involved in Meredith’s death, I had the faint belief that she was caught up unfairly in this case as Rudy Guede was the obvious perpetrator, but now after my viewing I’m not 100% sure. In Guede’s statement he originally said that Knox had not been at the scene of the crime, but he later changed his story to say that she had been in the apartment during the murder where she argued with Meredith – which doesn’t match up with Knox’s story that she spent the night at her boyfriend’s (Raffaele Sollecito). As Meredith’s murder look like a break in to the public eye since glass was shattered all over the floor, from a window in Meredith’s room (which adds more evidence to support Guede as the perpetrator as in his criminal history had broken into a nursery school and a flat), this was deemed a set up by the police to sway from the obvious perpetrator who must’ve been close or in the flat – the only person who fit this description is Knox and her boyfriend. Therefore, Knox was interviewed and declined a lawyer over the next four days, and later was arrested and charged with murder on the 6th November 2007.


Image result for amanda knox during trial
Knox during her trial

During Knox’s lead up to trial she became the subject of intense media attention including being labelled “Foxy Knoxy” by the press due to claims of a party girl lifestyle in Italy as well as an ever-changing relationship with her roommate Meredith due to arguments over boyfriends and flat hygiene. Both Knox and Sollecito pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder during their trials, which started on the 16th January 2009. According to the prosecution, Knox had attacked Meredith in her bedroom, and forced her to endure a sexual abuse attack by Guede. Knox had then cut Meredith with a knife before inflicting a fatal stab wound and that she had staged the crime scene to look like a burglary gone wrong. On the 5th December 2009, both Knox and Sollecito were convicted of murder and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Less than two years later, on the 3rd October 2011 Knox and Sollecito were acquitted due to insufficient proof that they had any involvement in the death of Meredith.

Whilst it is most clear that the evidence incriminating Amanda Knox into the case is ambiguous, I’m not sure of Knox’s total innocence because of her portrayal in the Netflix documentary. I’m not expecting Knox to have an emotional breakdown every time she discusses Meredith but I think her behaviours leading up to and during the event were incredibly suspicious, including making out with her boyfriend whilst the police were inspecting the crime scene. During police interviews, Knox’s boyfriend Sollecito could not back up Knox’s alibi on the night of Meredith’s death as he can’t remember whether she spent the night or not. Even though assuming his memory was hazy because of the marijuana both him and Knox admitting to smoking that night, it seems odd that a young man who had just embarked on a new relationship could not recall whether she had spent the night or not. However, I think the main aspect that incriminates Knox into the crime is the staged break in, as the broken glass from the window was found on top of clothes scattered on the floor, suggesting the window was broken after the contents of the room were messed up – prosecutors later accused Knox and Sollecito of staging the break in to make the murder look like a burglary gone wrong. During the Netflix documentary, every time Knox looks into the camera I keep getting a horrific feeling that she’s lying due to her lack of emotion whatsoever when discussing the crime and her final statement towards the end of the documentary which is enough to send a chill down anyone’s spine: “you’re trying to find the answer in my eyes when the answer is right over there. You’re looking at me. Why? There are my eyes – they’re not objective evidence…”

Overall I cannot make the conclusion that Amanda Knox is 100% guilty in the tragic story of Meredith’s death, but I can’t fully believe her tale of events of that fateful day due to reasons including a total lack of emotion and the suspicious matter in the crime scene (including a staged break in). Whilst I believe some of the blame towards Knox’s incrimination is the bad press towards her (let’s not discuss Nick Pisa who had an orchestral role in this and whose interview in the documentary caused a lot of controversy) and the fault of the Italian police, Knox’s story of the night of the 1st November cannot be fully believed due to these and I think there will always be a suspicion that she did have a slight involvement, even if it can never be fully proved.


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