Amanda Knox wept as she delivered an emotional speech to a criminal justice conference in Italy, as she returned to the country for first time since being cleared of murder. The moment came as the American voiced her fear of “new accusations” and further criminal charges against her despite the acquittal in 2015. Ms Knox was acquitted by the Italian Supreme Court of the murder of 21-year-old British student Meredith Kercher, after a lengthy court battle.
Ms Knox was in Italy after being invited to take part in a criminal justice festival in Modena.
The American broke down in tears as she spoke to crowd, telling the audience: “I’m afraid today, now, I’m afraid of being harassed, mocked, stuck and I’m afraid that new accusations will be addressed to me just because I come here to say my version of the facts. But above all, I fear I will lack the courage.
“I know that despite my acquittal issued by the Court of Cassation, I remain a controversial figure in the presence of public opinion, above all and especially here in Italy.
“A lot of people think I’m crazy to come here. I was told that I was not safe, that I will be attacked in the streets, that I will be falsely accused and sent back to prison and that even if I return to Seattle, it will have been all in vain, it will not have been useful to anything.”
Prior to Ms Knox’s return to Italy, the Kercher family branded the trip “inappropriate” and said her reappearance in the public eye was “very painful for the family”.
The Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca said: “All these insistences and appearances are only ever done to keep the attention on herself.
“The murder is a tragic memory for the Kercher family, they lost their daughter and sister in such a terrible way. It’s also an injustice for them as they still don’t know the full truth.”
Ms Knox spent four years in an Italian prison over the killing, but she was later cleared along with her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.
Ms Knox was originally accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher after the 21-year-old’s body was found in their rented house in Perugia in 2007.
Miss Kercher had been stabbed 47 times and had her throat slashed.
Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were acquitted in 2011 before being convicted again in 2014 by an appeals court in Florence.
Italy’s highest court then overturned this decision in 2015, because of “stunning flaws” in the investigation that led to the convictions.
Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast-born drifter and small-time drug dealer, was convicted of the murder in 2008 and is serving a 16-year sentence in an Italian prison.