The American woman acquitted of murdering and sexually assaulting a British exchange student in Italy has revealed her experience of romance behind prison bars.
Amanda Knox served nearly four years in jail for the killing of Meredith Kercher before her conviction was overturned by Italy’s Supreme Court in 2015.
Kercher, 21, from Coulson, Surrey, was found dead in her bedroom while studying in Perugia in 2007.
Knox and her Italian lover Raffaele Sollecito were convicted by a Perugia court in 2009, then acquitted and freed in 2011, then convicted again in 2014 in Florence after the Cassation court overturned the acquittals, and ordered a new appeals trial.
On Valentine’s Day, Knox wrote an essay for Broadly magazine entitled ‘What romance in prison actually looks like.’
Sharing what it was really like to be part of a prison couple, Knox points out that while many woman in such romances are heterosexual, they sometimes opt to be “gay for the stay.”
The 29-year-old recalled Leny, a small town drug dealer, and her efforts to seduce her in Capanne women’s prison.
Admitting: “The idea of women in prison brings out the horny teenage boy in many of us,” Knox reveals her encounter first began as a friendship, before progressing further.
“Leny wanted to hold hands. ‘I’ve changed women before,’ she’d tell me. ‘I can do things to you that no man can.’ I felt objectified and I’d get annoyed. ‘You can’t change me,’ I’d respond. She’d think I was playing hard to get. One day, Leny kissed me.”
Knox refused to allow the relationship go any further and rebuffed Leny’s subsequent advances, but her suitor persisted, even writing to her after her release and sending gifts signed ‘Love always, Leny.’
In 2015 Knox announced she was engaged to musician Colin Sutherland who has known her since middle school and wrote to her while she was in prison.
Kercher was found dead on 2 November 2007, in the apartment she shared with Knox and two Italian lawyers in training. She was half-naked, beneath a duvet soaked in blood, with her throat slashed. She had been sexually assaulted.
DNA evidence in Kercher’s room led police to arrest a man from Ivory Coast, Hermann Guede, who was convicted of the murder in a separate trial and is serving a 16-year sentence.
The court that convicted Guede ruled he did not act alone, citing the absence of defensive wounds on the victim and concluding that bruises on Kercher’s arms indicating she was restrained while one or two others inflicted numerous stab wounds.
In closing arguments, Knox’s lawyer attacked what he called the absence of any physical trace of Knox in the room where Kercher was found and highlighted doubts about the presumed murder weapon, a bread knife found in Sollecito’s kitchen drawer that bore Knox’s DNA - which the defence said was from kitchen use.
Though it cleared Knox of murder, the supreme Court of Cassation upheld a slander conviction against her for wrongly accusing a Congolese-born bar owner in the murder. The court reduced the sentence to three years. Since Knox already spent nearly four years in Italian prison, she didn’t have to serve that time.
The defence lawyer said Knox’s false accusation of Guede was coerced by police and obtained without being advised she was a suspect.