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Knox says not coming back to Italy

'They'll have to pull me back kicking and screaming'

31 January, 13:43
Knox says not coming back to Italy (ANSA) - Rome, January 31 - Amanda Knox reiterated she has no intention of returning to Italy in a series of interviews with the Guardian before being found guilty of the murder of Meredith Kercher for the second time.

Knox said she hoped the US government would refuse to extradite her after being sentenced Thursday to 28 and a half years for the 2007 slaying of her 21-year-old British flatmate with her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

"I'm definitely not going back to Italy willingly. They'll have to catch me and pull me back kicking and screaming into a prison that I don't deserve to be in. I will fight for my innocence", Knox told the British daily.

Knox said she had been in touch with Sollecito during the six-month appeals retrial in Florence but she denied reports that he asked her to marry him to gain US citizenship and escape imprisonment.

"It is not true. I don't know where that came from".

The Seattle-based student, 26, said she was lucky she had been able to return to America and worried for Sollecito, a 29-year-old IT graduate, who got 25 years for the murder. "He's really scared. And really vulnerable. I think he feels abandoned by his own country. Where's he going to run and hide? It's a shame that more people aren't fighting to protect him".

She said it would "drive me crazy" if Sollecito - detained Friday when he returned from an overnight flit to Austria after being banned from leaving Italy - was jailed while she remained free.

Knox said she had been irreparably damaged by the case.

"I don't even know what my place is anymore. What's my role in society? Who am I, after everybody has branded me?".

Knox and Sollecito are appealing the verdict to Italy's supreme court.

A third man, Ivory Coast drifter Rudy Guede, was sentenced to 16 years in a separate trial.

Guede, whose DNA was found inside Kercher and all over the flat, did not implicate Knox and Sollecito, whose DNA was not found at the crime scene.

Tiny traces of Knox's DNA were found on the handle of kitchen knife found in Sollecito's kitchen, with smaller traces of Kercher's on the tip.

Defence experts argued these findings were unsafe but the Florence appeals court did not agree.