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Knox to appeal against conviction

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American Amanda Knox is appealing against her murder conviction (AP)

Amanda Knox is to appear in court to appeal against her conviction for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

The American student known as Foxy Knoxy was found guilty of killing the 21-year-old after what prosecutors claimed was a sex game taken to the extreme. Her Italian former lover, Raffaele Sollecito, was also jailed last December for the murder in the Italian town of Perugia and will appeal alongside Knox.

Knox’s lawyers hope they can use new evidence to clear her and will try to introduce new witnesses.

Along with Sollecito’s legal team, they are also seeking a full review of the forensic evidence, including disputed traces of DNA found on a knife allegedly used in the murder and on the clasp of Miss Kercher’s bra. The defence maintains that the DNA evidence was inconclusive and has also argued it may have been contaminated when analysed.

But there is a risk for 23-year-old Knox: if her conviction is upheld, she could face an even harsher sentence than the 26-year jail term she is already serving. Prosecutors, who had sought a life sentence in the original trial, have also appealed, as they are entitled to do in Italy.

The initial hearing is expected to deal largely with technical matters and will include the setting of a timetable for subsequent hearings. The case will then to be adjourned, probably to December.

As in the original trial, the verdict will be decided by the judge, a fellow magistrate and six jurors. The result of the appeal may not come before the New Year. Knox and Sollecito were given prison sentences of 26 years and 25 years respectively last December.

Prosecutors said the pair killed Miss Kercher in what began as a sex game and ended with Sollecito holding her down while Knox cut her throat with a six-inch kitchen knife. In their appeal motion, defence lawyers were sharply critical of the verdict, maintaining it was based on mere hypotheses and saying that the motive was absent.

Knox, from Seattle, has continued to protest her innocence from behind bars and her family remain insistent there is no proof their daughter killed the University of Leeds student.

Miss Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found dead on November 2, 2007 in her bedroom at the house in the Umbrian hilltop town that she shared with Knox and others during her year abroad.

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