Amanda Knox is freed

After four years in an Italian prison, Amanda Knox is today on her way back to America after an appeal court cleared her of murdering Meredith Kercher

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were last night cleared of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. Knox is thought to have been reunited with her family and is today on her way back to the US.

Shortly after her release the American student, who was convicted of murdering her housemate in 2007, thanked the Italians who have shared her suffering and helped her survive with hope over the past four years.

As the verdict was read last night, the defendent’s closest relatives cried with joy and embraced each other as the prosecution failed to prove that she and her then boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, had murdered the 21-year-old Leeds University student, while Meredith’s family looked on in amazement.

Meredith’s brother Lyle says: ‘It is very disappointing. Somebody so young, killed in such brutal circumstances, makes it incredibly difficult and being prolonged for four years makes it very difficult to try and get back to a normal life.’

Outside the courthouse in Perugia, riots erupted in the street as hundreds gathered to await the verdict, the majority convinced Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are guilty.

Miss Knox, 24, has served fours years of a 26-year prison sentence after being found guilty in 2009 of the brutal sex murder of Meredith, who was found semi-naked with her throat cut in the house she shared with Miss Knox.

As the scenes unfolded last night, Meredith’s mother stared stonily ahead unable to comprehend the verdict while Amanda Knox’s sister Deanna, 22, said: ‘We are thankful that the nightmare is over. She suffered for four years for a crime she did not commit.’

The verdict was met with tears of joy from Miss Knox but the case has divided opinion since her original trial in December 2009.

The judge upheld her conviction for slander and ordered her to pay £18,900 in compensation to Mr Lumumba for falsely accusing the bar owner of murder, but her conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher was acquitted.

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