PERUGIA // Amanda Knox, the American former student convicted of killing her British roommate, is a "she-devil" who deliberately accused an innocent man to cover her own crime, a lawyer for the man implicated in the case said yesterday.
Knox was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher while they were studying in Perugia in 2007, and sentenced to 26 years. She denies wrongdoing and has appealed against the lower court's verdict, issued in 2009.
Early in the probe, Knox accused Diya "Patrick" Lumumba of being the murderer. As a result of that claim, Mr Lumumba was jailed for about two weeks, before being cleared and freed.
Mr Lumumba's lawyer yesterday addressed the court hearing Knox's appeal. Mr Lumumba is a civil plaintiff in the case, and in Italy civil portions of cases are heard at the same time as the criminal matter.
"Who is Amanda Knox? Is she the mild-looking, fresh-faced person you see here, or the one devoted to lust, drugs and alcohol that emerges from the court documents?" Mr Lumumba's attorney, Carlo Pacelli, asked the appeals court.
Mr Pacelli maintained that a double soul co-existed in the 24-year-old American.
"Both a [saint] and a demonic, satanic, diabolical she-devil, which leads her toward borderline behaviour. This was the Amanda of November 1, 2007," the night of the murder.
He insists that, at the time of the crime, "she was an explosive mix of drugs, sex and alcohol".
Kercher was stabbed to death in the apartment she shared with Knox. The American student at one point told investigators she was home during the killing and had to cover her ears to drown out Kercher's screams while Mr Lumumba was murdering her, according to court documents.
Knox maintains police pressure led her to accuse Mr Lumumba, a Congolese national who owned a bar in Perugia where the American occasionally worked.
Mr Lumumba is also seeking damages from Knox in a separate procedure because her claim led him to be unjustly detained.
Knox's co-defendant in the appeals trial is her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. He was convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 25 years. He, too, denies wrongdoing.
A verdict is expected next week. Knox and Sollecito hope to be freed after four years in jail; prosecutors have asked the court to increase the sentences of both to life in prison, Italy's stiffest sentence.