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Knox release: Media focus on unanswered questions

By Dave Gilbert and Bryony Jones, CNN
updated 2:30 PM EDT, Tue October 4, 2011
The appeal hearing in Perugia for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito attracted worldwide media interest.
The appeal hearing in Perugia for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito attracted worldwide media interest.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Daily Telegraph says the Kercher family will continue to seek justice
  • Italian newspaper la Repubblica quotes Kerchers as respecting Italian justice system
  • Many in the media focus on the courtroom battle over the DNA evidence
  • Some British news websites initially reported that the appeal had been rejected

London (CNN) -- The release of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito from an Italian jail after they were cleared on appeal of killing British student Meredith Kercher has received extensive coverage throughout the European media.

Britain's Daily Telegraph concentrates its reporting on the murder victim with a series of stories centered on the Kercher family. Under the headline "Meredith's family: Knox acquittal sends us 'back to square one'" its lead story says the family will continue to seek justice as Amanda Knox flies to Seattle via London.

Quoting Meredith Kercher's father John as saying the verdict by the appeal court in Perugia was "crazy" and made a "mockery" of the original trial, it devotes much space to reporting the Kerchers' distress.

Italian newspaper la Repubblica offers comprehensive coverage of the case, with picture galleries, video and a timeline. It quotes both Meredith Kercher's brother Lyle and sister Stephanie as saying they respected the court and the Italian justice system but still want the truth. "We do not want innocent people to pay. We think that there is still much work to do," Stephanie Kercher is quoted as saying.

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El Pais, the Spanish daily, headlines its account of the appeal with a quote from the Kerchers saying "someone out there has done it" and includes a story about the "forgotten victim."

Questions over "inadequate" DNA evidence, which featured in the courtroom battle, are examined in detail in a separate article by Andrea Rizzi, and the main story story asks "If it wasn't Amanda, who did kill Meredith?"

Parisian daily Le Monde described the contrasting scenes inside the courtroom in Perugia as the ruling was read out: Amanda Knox breaking into sobs, portions of the audience applauding as shouts of joy could be heard from the crowd outside, and finally Arline Kercher, the mother of murder victim Meredith, sitting silent and still, as Knox was acquitted.

France's Le Figaro reports on the media circus which surrounded the trial. "Cameras from across the world transmitted the court's verdict live. Some 500 journalists followed the latest phase of this media-saturated trial, with American channels taking the acquittal for granted, after 1,448 days of preventative detention," it said.

Throughout the case, German media dubbed Knox "the angel with eyes of ice" (Der Engel mit Eisaugen).

Berlin-based broadsheet Die Welt tells how Knox is already on her way home to the United States, having thanked her supporters in an open letter to "all those who wrote to me, to all those who defended me, to all those who prayed for me" for helping her to remain hopeful while in prison.

And the website of German tabloid Bild shows a photograph of the plane on which, it says, a tired Knox is "flying to freedom" -- after a wait in the VIP lounge at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino airport. However, it reports that although she has been freed, "she is still being hunted, this time by TV channels keen to secure the first big interview with her."

The DNA evidence is revisited by the British tabloid, The Daily Mail, and the BBC. In a blog commentary in the Mail, Michael Hanlon writes: "The sensational acquittal of Amanda Knox and her co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito should serve as a warning to prosecutors the world over who rely on hi-tech DNA evidence to make their case: be careful what you wish for. Because it is clear that DNA, the very stuff of life, does not always provide the ironclad evidence that modern forensic scientists insist it does."

Forensic expert, Professor Jim Fraser of the University of Strathclyde, told the BBC's radio news program Today that the problem was with the stories woven by Italian lawyers rather than the DNA evidence itself and blamed "mishandling or failure to use rigorous procedures."

Meanwhile, the UK Press Gazettte which reports on the British media industry, highlights several news outlets which appear to have been initially confused by the guilty verdict on the separate charge of slander and wrongly reported on their websites that Amanda Knox's appeal had been rejected. It says The Daily Mail, The Sun, Sky News and The Guardian's live blog all made the same mistake.

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