'Diabolical' Knox suffers from split personality: lawyer

26th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

A lawyer in the appeal trial of US student Amanda Knox for the murder of her British housemate launched a heated attack on Monday, saying she was "diabolical" and suffered from a split personality.

Carlo Pacelli, the lawyer for Patrick Lumumba -- a barman who is seeking damages from Knox as part of a civil case running alongside the murder appeal -- said the 24-year old blonde "has a double-faced soul."

One side is "angelic, good, compassionate, and in some ways even saintly," but the other side of Knox is "Lucifer-like, demonic, satanic, diabolic" and "longs to live out borderline extreme behaviour," he said.

"She is both one and the other. This is the Amanda of November 1, 2007", he said, referring to the night that Meredith Kercher, 21, was found lying half-naked in a pool of blood in her bedroom in the house she shared with Knox.

Lumumba was held by police for a short time after he was wrongly implicated by Knox for murdering Kercher. He was subsequently found to have a rock-solid alibi.

Knox has said she had made the statement incriminating Lumumba under pressure after being struck by a police officer and forced to speak without a lawyer or translator present.

She walked shakily into court on Monday wearing a black coat and no make-up and supported on either side by her prison guards. She looked pale and very strained and turned her face away as the barrage of insults continued.

In his dramatic speech to the court, Pacelli said Knox's tears as she fingered Lumumba "had fooled everyone, myself included," but that it was soon clear that she had been telling "monstrous lies."

He told the jury that Lumumba was the second victim in the case after Kercher, and poured blame on the "histrionic and phoney" Knox.

"Who is Amanda Knox?" he asked. "She is charming, intelligent, cunning and astute. She seems simple, sweet, with the face of a naive doll... but it is the mask of a phoney," the fiery lawyer said.

Prosecutors maintain that Kercher was killed in a drug-fuelled sex game. Knox and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 27, were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison respectively in their original trial, but have always protested their innocence.

A third person, Rudy Guede, has been convicted separately and is serving a 16-year sentence. Guede also says he is innocent of the murder, although he admits to having been in the house at the time of the killing, as shown by DNA evidence.

Pacelli was speaking as the appeal trial winds up. A verdict is expected in early October after prosecutors on Saturday demanded that both Knox and Sollecito be given life terms, citing aggravating circumstances such as the lack of a motive for the murder.

© 2011 AFP

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