Freed Knox Heads Home After Kercher Acquittal

Amanda Knox is flying home to Seattle after walking free from the Italian prison where she spent four years for Leeds University Student Meredith Kercher's murder.

The 24-year-old American won a dramatic court room victory on Monday when a jury overturned her conviction after a successful appeal.

Knox was sentenced to 26 years in jail in 2009 for the killing that prosecutors said began as a sex game and ended in the stabbing to death of the Leeds student.

Miss Kercher's family, some of whom were in court for the verdict, will meanwhile pick up the pieces and try to come to terms with this new development in the case that has brought them so much pain.

Only one man remains behind bars for the murder now - small-time drug dealer Rudy Guede - after Knox's ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito also won his freedom. The Italian 27-year-old had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for what prosecutors said was his part in the gruesome killing.

But like Knox, he maintained his innocence, and the climax of the appeal vindicated them both.

Knox's sister Deanna said: "We're thankful that Amanda's nightmare is over. She has suffered for four years for a crime that she did not commit.''

Miss Kercher's father, John Kercher, told the Daily Mirror their acquittal was "ludicrous'', however.

"It makes a mockery of the original trial,'' he said. "We are all shocked. We could understand them reducing the sentence, but completely freeing them? Wow.''

Prosecutors are expected to appeal against the verdicts, but they will do so in the knowledge that once Knox has gone home she will almost certainly not be extradited back to Italy.

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