Lawyers want to halt murder film


Murdered British student Meredith Kercher

Lawyers for American student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend, who were found guilty of killing her British roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy, are demanding that US television channel Lifetime scraps a planned film about the trial.

Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luca Maori said they had sent letters to Lifetime warning they would go to court in the US to try to sequester the film unless it was cancelled and a trailer removed from Lifetime’s website.

Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy, which features Heroes star Hayden Panettiere in the title role, is due to be shown on February 21. Les Eisner, a spokesman for Lifetime’s parent company A&E Television Networks, said the network was not commenting at this time.

Knox, 22, and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25 were convicted in 2009 of sexually assaulting and murdering Ms Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon, Surrey, in the apartment she shared with Knox in the central Italian city of Perugia. Ms Kercher was stabbed to death on the night of November 1 2007. Knox received 26 years in prison and Sollecito 25 years. Both deny wrongdoing and their appeal is under way.

The film is based on the trial. A preview posted to Lifetime’s website shows scenes from the run-up to the murder – including one split-second scene showing the actress playing Ms Kercher, wearing a grey bra, being attacked by two men.

In its 2009 ruling, the Perugia court said that on the night of the murder Knox and Sollecito were at the house with a fourth person, Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast citizen who has also been convicted of murder in separate proceedings.

The court said Knox and Sollecito assisted Guede’s sexual desire for Ms Kercher, becoming her brutal assailants together with Guede and ultimately killing her when she resisted the advances.

Ms Kercher’s father Jon has described the re-enactment scenes as “absolutely horrific”.

Knox’s lawyer Mr Della Vedova said he had sent a warning on Thursday to Lifetime to cancel the film and trailer, which was not loading on the Lifetime website yesterday.

Sollecito’s lawyer Mr Maori said the warning included a threat to go to court to sequester the film to ensure it was not shown. He said it presented scenes that were “beyond any logic” and hyped up to attract viewers.

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