Amanda Knox says she became ‘magnet for hate’ after being accused of British university student Meredith Kercher’s murder in interview calling for Twitter to name and shame trolls
- Meredith Kercher was murdered in Italy on November 1, 2007 by Rudy Guede
- However, Knox and her then-boyfriend were wrongly convicted in the case
- She has now opened up about being a ‘magnet for abuse’ over the years
Amanda Knox says she became a ‘magnet for hate’ after she was wrongly accused of murdering British university student, Meredith Kercher, in an interview calling for Twitter to name and shame trolls.
On November 1 2007, Meredith – an exchange student from the University of Leeds – was murdered in Perugia, Italy, where she was studying at the time.
Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were later jailed, before eventually being released from prison in 2011 following an appeal against their conviction.
Knox had her conviction for the murder of her former roommate overturned by the Italian Supreme Court in 2015 after serving four years in jail.
A local man, Rudy Guede, was convicted in a separate trial after his DNA was found on Kercher’s body and in the room where she died.
He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2008, but was released in December 2020 and will spend the rest of his sentence doing community work.
Now, Amanda has written an article – titled ‘Patrolling the Trolls: The Sorry State of Reporting Online Abuse’ – and recalled the horrific death threats she received just a few weeks after she was sent to prison.
Amanda Knox (pictured speaking in 2019, file photo) has written an article – titled ‘Patrolling the Trolls: The Sorry State of Reporting Online Abuse’ – recalling when she received death threats in prison
It’s now over 14 years since 21-year-old student Meredith Kercher was raped and killed in a brutal attack in the apartment they shared in the Italian city of Perugia, on November 1, 2007
She wrote: ‘From the moment I was first accused of murder and painted in the tabloids as a sex-crazed, drug-addicted psychopath, the death threats began rolling in. I had only been in prison for a few weeks.
‘The authorities were still investigating the death of Meredith Kercher, and as a suspect, the police were holding me in a cell where I would remain for eight months before I was officially charged and my trial began. Long before the public saw any evidence, long before I had a chance to defend myself in court, I had become a magnet for hate.’
Knox – who became known as ‘Foxy Knoxy’ in the press as the court case in Italy drew international attention – lamented the fact that her name became synonymous with Meredith’s killing, despite being acquitted by Italy’s highest court.
Amanda Knox (pictured in an Italian court in 2009) and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were later jailed, before eventually being released from prison in 2011 following an appeal against their conviction. She was fully exonerated in 2015
A local man, Rudy Guede (pictured being escorted by police in Italy in 2007), was convicted in a separate trial after his DNA was found on Kercher’s body and in the room where she died. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2008, but was released in December 2020 and will spend the rest of his sentence doing community work
Writing in New Thinking, she said: ‘The first death threat wasn’t even for me. It was for my mom. I read that letter in my cell, and at the end of a long screed, this stranger said he knew where my mother was staying in Perugia, and that he would kill her—that was what I deserved.
‘I immediately told the prison guards. You have to do something! My mom needs protection! Just ignore it, they said. I did, until the next threat came, and the next.
‘After four years in prison and eight years on trial, I was definitively acquitted by Italy’s highest court, but I remained a magnet for hate. As I tried to rebuild a semblance of a normal life back home, the threats and harassment continued.
‘They arrived in the mail at my mom’s house, and in the comments on my blog. Amidst the kind messages from supporters, there were always the ones wishing me dead, the ones describing how it would happen, an unmarked van in the middle of broad daylight, Meredith’s name carved into my body.
‘I tried reporting this to the FBI. But, there was little they could do. As I ventured into the world of social media that had blossomed while I was locked away, I found a torrent of hate aimed in my direction.’
In September, Knox had a baby girl Eureka Know Robinson with husband, Christopher Robinson, who she married in 2018. Pictured: A pregnant Knox (file photo)
Knox – who had a baby girl Eureka Know Robinson with husband, Christopher Robinson after the pair married in 2018, believes it’s more important than ever to name and shame trolls online.
She added: ‘It’s important that the abuse reporting systems don’t get weaponised by bad actors themselves to get non-offenders booted off of platforms for benign behaviour.
‘And for that reason, the social media platforms have an incentive to ignore potential abuse claims that they have no way of verifying. But the targets of harassment, like myself, often can predict in advance how they’ll be targeted. I know that people will directly and indirectly call me a killer, hold me responsible for my friend’s death, they will name her, or reference details about the case, or crime scene.
‘If Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms empowered users to preemptively specify how they might be targeted and why, or if they learned from prior abuse reports to detect patterns, they would have good reason to believe that some later instance of specific harassment is legitimate.’
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