Connect with us

Published

on

Amanda Knox has lost her bid to overturn a slander conviction in Italy.

The American woman was eventually cleared of the brutal 2007 murder of her flatmate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, in the apartment they shared in the Italian university town of Perugia.

But she was only released, in 2011, after four years in prison in Italy.

The slander conviction for wrongly accusing a Congolese bar owner of the murder during an interrogation was the only charge against Knox that withstood five court rulings that ultimately exonerated her.

Meredith Kercher
Image:
Meredith Kercher. Pic: PA

What does court ruling mean for Knox?

Knox and her husband were surrounded by photographers as they and her legal team entered the courtroom before the hearing. The 36-year-old is now a mother of two small children.

The Italian court found Knox guilty of slander and issued a three-year sentence.

She had been sentenced to three years for wrongly accusing the bar owner, Patrick Lumumba, of the killing of Ms Kercher in an earlier case. Knox had worked part-time for Mr Lumumba at the time of the killing.

She will not serve any more jail time as the sentence counts as time she has already served in prison.

Knox cried and hugged her husband after the verdict was read out in court.

Her lawyer said: “Amanda is very upset, she was hoping to finally clear her name.”

Amanda Knox.
Pic: Reuters
Image:
Knox before the verdict. Pic: Reuters

‘I was a scared girl’

Knox had argued in court in Florence this week that her slander conviction should be overturned because of her treatment by police.

“I have been unjustly convicted,” Knox earlier told the court in an emotional voice.

She said the night of the murder “was my worst night”. She added: “The house where I lived was transformed into a murder scene and my friend was transformed into a victim of terrible violence. I was shocked.”

Knox said she was interrogated “for hours at night in a language I barely knew,” adding: “When I couldn’t remember the details, one of the officers gave me a little smack on the head and shouted ‘remember, remember’ and then I put together a jumble of memories and the police made me sign a statement I was forced to submit.”

She added: “I’m sorry that I wasn’t strong and that I couldn’t resist the pressure from the police… I was a scared girl, deceived by the police and led not to trust her own memories. I humbly ask the court to declare me innocent.”

Along with her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, Knox was convicted of the murder of Ms Kercher in 2007. Both were acquitted of the crime in 2011 and then fully exonerated in 2015.

She has since established herself in the US as an advocate, writer, podcaster and producer – with much of her work drawing on her experience in the Italian legal system.

Read more:
Raffaele Sollecito gives rare interview on being wrongly accused
Amanda Knox jokes about time she was accused of murder on Instagram

Diya "Patrick" Lumumba at Italy's highest court building, in Rome, Friday, March 27, 2015. Pic: AP
Image:
Diya ‘Patrick’ Lumumba (left). File pic: AP


Statement written under ‘shock, stress and extreme exhaustion’

While Knox and Mr Sollecito were definitively acquitted of murder by Italy’s highest court in 2015, her conviction for slander against Mr Lumumba was not rescinded.

A year later, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled a long night of questioning days after Ms Kercher’s murder violated Knox’s rights because she was questioned without a lawyer or official translator.

In light of this, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the slander conviction last year and ordered a retrial.

Amanda Knox.
Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

The new trial, which started last April, focused on just one piece of evidence: Knox’s four-page handwritten statement that the court examined to see if it contained elements to support slander against Mr Lumumba.

He was held in jail for two weeks after Ms Kercher’s death before police released him and he has since left Italy.

The letter, which Knox wrote in a 53-hour span of questioning over four days starting on 6 November 2007, reflects a state of confusion.

“In regards to this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity [sic] of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion,” Knox wrote.

‘There may still be a culprit at large’

Rudy Guede, from the Ivory Coast, was convicted in 2008 of the sexual assault and murder of Ms Kercher. His DNA was found at the scene. Guede was released from prison in 2021 after serving 13 years of a 16-year term.

He was recently ordered to wear a monitoring bracelet and not leave his home at night after an ex-girlfriend accused him of physical and sexual abuse. An investigation is ongoing.

Former Perugia public prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, who led the investigation into Ms Kercher’s murder, told Sky News during the opening hearing that “there may still be a culprit who took part in the murder and who has not been discovered yet”.

Continue Reading

World

Israeli tank shells hit tent camp in Rafah killing at least 25, say Gaza health officials

Published

on

By

Israeli tank shells hit tent camp in Rafah killing at least 25, say Gaza health officials

At least 25 Palestinians have been killed, and 50 injured, after Israeli tanks are said to have fired on tents sheltering displaced families in Rafah, according to health officials and emergency workers in Gaza.

Witnesses said the latest attack in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, took place in Mawasi, western Rafah, a rural area on the Mediterranean coast that has become filled with makeshift tents.

One resident told Reuters: “Two tanks climbed a hilltop overseeing Mawasi and they sent balls of fire that hit the tents of the poor people displaced in the area.”

Palestinians in the aftermath of the attack that left at least 25 dead. Pic: AP
Image:
Palestinians in the aftermath of the attack that left at least 25 dead. Pic: AP

Pic: AP
Image:
Pic: AP

Witnesses whose relatives died in the attack near a Red Cross field hospital told The Associated Press that Israeli forces fired a second volley that killed people when they came out of their tents.

The locations of the attacks, provided by Civil Defence first responders, appear to be just outside an Israeli-designated safe zone on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the nearby hospital was flooded with casualties after the attack.

Hasan al Najjar, whose two sons were killed in the shelling, said: “We had a strike. My two sons left after they heard the women and children screaming.

More on Gaza

“They went to save the women and that’s when they struck the second missile, and my sons were martyred.

“They struck the place twice.”

A local hospital saw an influx of patients after the attack. Pic: AP
Image:
A local hospital saw an influx of patients after the attack. Pic: AP

Mourners surround one of the dead. Pic: AP
Image:
Mourners surround one of the dead. Pic: AP

Mona Ashour, who lost her husband, said: “We were inside our tent when a sound bomb exploded near the Red Cross tents.

“My husband went outside at the first explosion.

“Then, a second bomb went off, even closer to the Red Cross door, and people began to gather.

“I tried to communicate with my husband but was unable to.

“We fled as we were in our clothes, barefoot. I tried to communicate with him but could not.”

The Israeli military said it was looking into the strikes at the reported coordinates.

It has previously bombed locations in the vicinity of the “humanitarian zone” in Muwasi.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Read more from Sky News:
British tourist stabbed to death outside Spanish nightclub
French economy takes hit after Macron’s snap election call
Italian football legend robbed at gunpoint

The attack comes less than a month after an Israeli bombing caused a deadly fire that tore through a refugee camp in southern Gaza – drawing widespread international outrage.

Israel continues to push ahead with its military operation into Rafah where over a million Palestinians initially sought refuge from fighting elsewhere in Gaza.

However, most have now fled after Israel attacked the city in an effort, they said, to drive out Hamas.

Residents have said that Israel appears to be trying to complete its capture of the city and tanks have been forcing their way into western and northern parts.

Eastern, southern and central areas of Rafah have already been captured.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

‘Exodus’ from Gaza as Israeli assault continues

The United Nations has said no place in Gaza is safe and humanitarian conditions are dire as huge numbers of families shelter in tents and cramped apartments without adequate food, water or medical supplies.

Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s health ministry.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’s October 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people and abducted about 250.

Continue Reading

World

Jay Slater: ‘Living nightmare’ hunt for missing British teenager on Tenerife continues

Published

on

By

Jay Slater: 'Living nightmare' hunt for missing British teenager on Tenerife continues

Helicopters, rescue dogs and drones have continued to scour the holiday island of Tenerife for a missing British teenager as concerned family and friends endure a “living nightmare”.

The hunt for 19-year-old Jay Slater from Oswaldtwistle, near Blackburn in Lancashire, is now in its fifth day.

Lancashire Constabulary said that while the case “falls outside the jurisdiction of UK policing”, it has offered to support Spanish police “if they need any additional resources”.

The force added: “They have confirmed that at this time they are satisfied that they have the resources they need, but that offer remains open and they will contact us should that position change.”

Jay Slater. Pic: Lucy Law
Image:
Jay Slater. Pic: Lucy Law

The apprentice bricklayer was holidaying with friends on Tenerife before he disappeared on Monday.

He was last heard from when he called a friend to say he was setting off on an 11-hour walk to get home, after he missed his bus.

Emergency workers near the village of Masca, Tenerife.
Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

Ofelia Medina Hernandez, who was the last person to see Mr Slater, told Sky News: “I saw the boy in the morning, at around 8am.

“He asked twice what time the bus came.

“I told him ‘at 10 o’clock’.

“He came back and asked me again, and I told him again – at 10 o’clock.

“After that, he walked off and I didn’t see him anymore.

“Later, I went in my car, and I saw him – he was walking fast.

“But I didn’t see him again after that.”

Her account came as new photographs showed the property where he was last seen in the northwestern mountain village of Masca after attending the NRG music festival.

Image:
Pic: PA

Pic: PA
Image:
Pic: PA

‘We are drained beyond words’

In a post on the Facebook page Jay Slater Missing, the administrator of the group Rachel Louise Harg said family and friends were “drained beyond words”.

She said: “There isn’t an update for anyone unfortunately.

“Struggling to find words at this time but all I can say is we are looking still and everyone is doing all they can.

“We are drained beyond words – I just can’t say no more, I wish I could.

“I wish this would end now, this living nightmare.

“Searches are ongoing and we remain positive.

“Thanks to you all supporting and helping we can’t thank you any more, much love.”

Read more on Sky News:
British tourist stabbed to death outside nightclub
Italian football legend robbed at gunpoint

Focus on unusual details will only grow


Shingi Mararike

Shingi Mararike

North of England correspondent

@ShingiMararike

In the mountains on the outskirts of northern Tenerife, a narrow road winds upwards, with a dramatic view of the sea below.

Beneath the beauty of the scenery, parts of the area where British teenager Jay Slater was last located are barren and remote.

One of the properties on the route through the national park is Casa Abuela Tina, the villa Jay travelled to with two men in the early hours of Monday, before he disappeared.

Just yards away from the villa’s front door you can see the bus stop that would have taken Jay back to Los Cristianos – the part of the island he was staying in near a bustling strip full of British tourists.

The teenager was agonisingly close to being able to make his way home – and as search teams comb the mountains, that fact will surely be on their minds.

Why did Jay decide to try the 11-hour walk, and why did he go to the villa with two strangers in the first place?

As the search continues, a focus on highly unusual details of this story will only grow.

Searchers check river at bottom of ravine

On Friday, search and rescue personnel joined officers from the island’s Guardia Civil near Masca to comb an area of overgrown terrain.

Teams also paid close attention to a river called Barranco Madre del Agua at the bottom of a ravine, where emergency workers carefully picked their way through fallen dead palm trees.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Mr Slater’s friend Lucy Law, who attended the music festival with him, said he called her at about 8.30am on Monday and told her he was “lost in the mountains, he wasn’t aware of his surroundings, he desperately needed a drink and his phone was on 1%”.

Meanwhile, members of the local community rallied together at a church service in his home town to express their hope of his safe return.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Spain and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Continue Reading

World

British tourist stabbed to death outside Spanish nightclub

Published

on

By

British tourist stabbed to death outside Spanish nightclub

A British tourist has been stabbed to death outside a nightclub near Barcelona.

The incident happened at about 4am this morning in Calella, about 30 miles away from the city.

Police have confirmed that there was a fatality, and another person was injured and taken to hospital.

According to El Caso, there was a fight outside the Oxygen nightclub and the tourist died at the scene.

In a statement, Catalan police said it is “investigating the violent death of a 31-year-old man”.

Another man has been arrested in connection with the incident, and footage from security cameras in the area is being checked.

Sky News has contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office for comment.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Continue Reading

Trending