Perugia murder 'unsolved' after Knox acquittal: judge
British student Meredith Kercher's killing in Italy in 2007 is now "unsolved" following the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, the appeals judge who freed them said on Wednesday.
The murder "will remain an unsolved truth," judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann told reporters in the university town of Perugia where the gruesome killing and sexual assault and the ensuing high-profile investigation took place.
"No-one can say what really happened. The only person is Rudy Guede," he said, referring to a local drifter who is now the only person convicted for a murder that investigators said must have been carried out by more than one person.
"For the moment, Amanda Knox is completely innocent," he added, ahead of an appeal against the acquittals by the prosecution expected to be launched next year after the publication of the appeal court's reasoning for its verdict.
"We could not keep her here waiting for the appeal," the judge said, after Knox flew out of Italy and back to her hometown of Seattle on Tuesday.
Any appeal by prosecutors would likely be held in absentia as the United States does not normally extradite its citizens abroad to face legal action.
Referring to Sollecito and Knox, the judge said: "I think about the parents' lives. I looked at them during the trial and I could see their anxiety."
Asked about the reasoning behind Monday's verdict, he added: "Even a small doubt, as long as it is reasonable, is sufficient to acquit."
But he also defended the work of prosecutors, saying: "I would have done the same thing. The prosecutors had more than enough elements to investigate."
© 2011 AFP