Amanda Knox on
US TV last month
Meredith Kercher, 21
Don Saulo, the chaplain of Capanne prison where Knox spent four years, made the bizarre statement in defence of the American. He insisted she was “terrified” of being forced to return to Italy to serve a 28-year jail sentence.
Father Saulo said: “Mandela spent half his life in prison, yet he was free within his heart and conscience because he said, ‘I’m innocent’. That’s how it is with Amanda.
“She has the deep conviction that she is innocent, so she says she isn’t a prisoner and never will be.”
Father Saulo, who ran study classes with Knox and let her play his guitar in jail, insisted she was “incapable of murder”. He said: “I spent a lot of time alone with her talking very deeply.
“From what I know of her I can say Amanda is incapable of murder.
“People say she was drugged, I don’t know about that, but the person I know couldn’t have done that on that night.
“This is my conviction. I could be wrong, and we’ll find out in Paradise.”
Knox was last month found guilty for a second time of murdering 21-year-old British student Meredith Kercher in 2007 in Perugia. It came after a court overturned the decision to acquit the 26-year-old and her former lover Raffaele Sollecito, 29, for the killing, which police believe was a sex game gone wrong.
The student, dubbed Foxy Knoxy, refused to attend the re-trial in Florence and has vowed to remain a fugitive in the States.
The priest also revealed Knox made a secular confession to him over her innocence. He said: “Amanda is not Catholic so she made a secular confession. It was one of deep trust, which obviously I will not reveal.
“All I will say is I’m convinced she did not murder Meredith.”
However, his sentiments about Knox are not shared by others who knew her in prison.
Last month, the guard who watched over Knox called her an “ice maiden” who re-invented herself as the “teary-eyed victim”. According to Angela Antonietti, Knox did not cry once in prison.
Father Don Saulo
The 65-year-old added: “She’s painting herself as a warm, loving human being, but the Amanda I knew was so composed. I never saw her suffering and other prisoners called her the Ice Maiden.
“She never talked of Meredith or expressed emotion about her death.”
But Father Saulo disagreed. He said: “She isn’t a bad person. She has a good
In her memoirs for which she was reportedly paid £3 million, Knox credited Father Saulo with helping her with chats about religion and politics.
He said: “Amanda and I talk every week – she’s like my granddaughter.
“In England it’s difficult for people to believe she’s
innocent due to the pain they feel for Meredith. Because Meredith’s family is suffering it doesn’t mean Amanda is guilty.”
The acquittal of Knox and Sollecito in 2011 was based on insufficient DNA evidence. This decision was overturned after judges said the ruling was full of “deficiencies, contradictions and illogical conclusions”.
The new verdicts must be approved by the Supreme Court after which, it is believed, the Italians will submit a request for the extradition of Knox.
Because a treaty exists between the two countries, the US would be obliged to arrest Knox. But she has said she will only go back to Italy “kicking and screaming”.
Last week Meredith’s brother Lyle joined calls for Knox to be put behind bars while she fights a return to Italy.
He said: “She should be locked up while the process goes on.
“I don’t understand why a convicted criminal is not in custody.”