Amanda Knox, the American cleared on appeal of the murder of Leeds University student Meredith Kercher in Italy, has signed a book deal to “share the truth about her terrifying ordeal” – and she every right to do says Mark Leech, Editor of the national prisoners’ newspaper Converse
Publishing giant HarperCollins has acquired world rights to a memoir by Knox which it has tentatively scheduled to come out next year.
The publisher has not said how much it is paying for the memoir but some reports have suggested the Knox deal is worth four million US dollars (£2.5 million).
Mr Leech said: “Look, we all have our story to tell, and out of these books can come good things – take my own case, it was only as a result of a then Crown Prosecutor reading in my book the horrors of physical and sexual abuse that I went through in what was and still is laughingly called ‘care’ that an investigation started into Cheshire Children’s Homes which ultimately saw those guilty of that sexual and physical abuse of eight year old boys like me jailed for those acts.
“I have the right to tell my story, and others have the right to read it – Amanda Knox has an astonishing journey to speak about, she was taken hostage by the Italian justice system for years and that is a journey I personally would find extremely interesting – but I accept that there are of course others, like Ian Huntley, Rose West or Robert Black whose story many would not want to read.
“But even within these books there is the other side of what are horrendous stories and by trying to understand both sides, not condoning, excusing or mitigating, but understanding the story might just help us to understand why these inexplicable events happen – and at the end of the day if you don’t want to read the story don’t buy the book; but please don’t deny me my right to read it if I want to.”
The news comes two days after it was announced that prosecutors have asked Italy’s highest criminal court to reinstate the murder convictions of Knox and her former boyfriend for the murder.
They lodged the appeal more than four months after an appeal court threw out the convictions of Knox, 24, and Raffaele Sollecito, 27.
Prosecutor Giovanni Galati said he was “very convinced” that Sollecito and Knox were responsible for stabbing to death 21-year-old Miss Kercher, who shared an apartment withKnox in Perugia.
The pair were found guilty in a lower court of killing Miss Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, in what prosecutors described as a sex-fuelled attack, and sentenced to 26 years and 25 years respectively.
An appeals court rejected the conviction, freeing Knox to return home to the United States after serving four years in prison. A court-ordered DNA review in the appeal discredited evidence used to convict Knox and Sollecito in 2009.
The appeal court in October said the guilty verdicts against the pair were not corroborated, and the court had not proved they were in the house when Leeds University student Miss Kercher was killed in 2007.
Ivory Coast-born drifter Rudy Guede was convicted in a separate trial of sexually assaulting and stabbing Miss Kercher. His 16-year sentence, reduced on appeal from an initial 30 years, was upheld by Italy’s highest court in 2010.