Amanda Knox, 35, and Raffaele Sollecito, 38, looked happy and carefree as they were reunited. The pair were twice cleared of the murder of the student in 2007.
Beaming as they pose arm-in-arm, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito enjoy a special moment 15 years after they were arrested following the grisly murder of British girl Meredith Kercher.
Looking happy and carefree, the former couple explored the picturesque town of Gubbio which they had planned to visit on November 2, 2007 – the day Leeds university student Meredith, 21, was found in her bedroom with her throat cut and signs of sexual assault.
Just four days later the lovers were arrested together with a man who ran a local bar.
American Knox, then 20, and Italian Sollecito, then 23, were both TWICE convicted of the murder and TWICE cleared before their convictions were FINALLY annulled by Italy’s supreme court in 2015.
In an exclusive interview on the eve of the 15th anniversary of Meredith’s brutal death, Sollecito spoke of his happiness at being reunited with Knox 10 years after they last met in the US.
He said: “It was so nice. It was the nicest.”
Knox, 35, and Sollecito, 38, had planned on November 2, 2007 to visit the old town of Gubbio 35 miles from the house in the city of Perugia, central Italy, that Amanda then shared with Meredith.
Sollecito, now a computer engineer in Milan, northern Italy, said: “We had been planning to go there on the day Meredith’s body was found. We had been planning that trip because obviously we didn’t know what had happened to her and we had free time that day.
“That was the plan before the discovery of the murder of Meredith.”
Despite the horror in Perugia, Sollecito was happy to revisit with Knox. He said: “There was also something very light about it, Knox saying ‘Why don’t we go back to Gubbio?’ She was saying we can go after all this time with her family and I could see they were planning a lot to do there.
“It was bitter-sweet to go back as we were supposed to go there in such different circumstances, but it was just nice for us to be able to talk about something that wasn’t the case.”
Smiling as he remembered the trip this summer, he continued: “She was around Milan and Perugia. It was so nice, it was the nicest.”
Meredith, of Coulsdon, South London, had been in Perugia for three months on a student exchange from Leeds university when she was found dead with 47 stab wounds after a sex assault.
In a case that caused a worldwide media storm, Knox, from Seattle, and Sollecito, of Milan, spent four years in prison and were twice convicted and twice acquitted.
Experts told Italy’s appeal court in 2011 that forensic scientists who helped convict Knox made glaring errors.
Genetic evidence was tainted by a dirty glove and failure to wear protective caps.
But in 2013, Italy’s highest court ordered a new trial.
Knox stayed in the US. She and Sollecito were found guilty.
They were finally acquitted for good in 2015 when the judges said there were stunning flaws in the investigation, including a lack of DNA.
Despite not seeing Knox for 10 years, Sollecito has kept in touch.
Referring to regular online WhatsApp exchanges which can be related to their trials, he said: “It’s very bitter to talk about this stuff.
“Over the past 15 years the investigation hasn’t wanted to realise our innocence and it is very bitter that we are still talking about it in this way.”
He was delighted to see Ms Knox in person and meet her baby daughter Eureka and husband Christopher.
He said: “We stayed with some friends of Amanda’s from the US and we all had dinner together and went sightseeing.
“We were talking about our lives and our families. I talked a lot with Amanda’s mum and played with her daughter Eureka, who is so sweet.”
Sollecito claims the stain on his reputation since his conviction has prevented him from getting jobs and making new friends.
He said: “It has been very hard for me. “I have had so many problems getting jobs, with big companies looking me up online and reading about the investigation. But I am just a normal engineer.
“I had a weird experience with a girl who said, ‘I think you’re guilty’.
“She wanted to date me because of that, can you imagine? She was disappointed when I said I wasn’t guilty. It was shocking for me. I was curious to know what was going through her head and I was just trying to prove that wasn’t true, I wasn’t the person that she expected.”
The local bar owner was freed without charge. Another student, Rudy Guede, then 20, was convicted of the murder and released in 2020 after serving a 16-year sentence.
But the tragic impact of Meredith’s death goes on.
Her dad, freelance journalist John Kercher, 77, died in 2020 after being found in the road with broken bones near his Croydon home.
A coroner was unable to conclude whether it was a hit-and-run. Meredith’s mum Arlene died the same year.
Speaking on the 10th anniversary of her death, Meredith’s sister Stephanie said: “Rudy Guede was convicted on the basis that he did not act alone. However, with no one else on trial or convicted it does of course raise questions for us as a family and anyone following the case.”
Sollecito asked his lawyer to pass a letter of condolence to Meredith’s family but did not hear back.
He said: “In the early days of the trial, I wrote her parents a letter saying I was confident that it would be clarified with me and Amanda, that I felt bad for what happened, to wish them well and for the truth to come out about the case.
“I was very, very positive, I was confident. But I was wrong.”
September 20, 2007: Amanda Knox moves into the Perugia cottage, Via della Pergola 7, already occupied by Meredith and two Italian women in the upstairs apartment.
October 25, 2007: Knox meets Sollecito at a classical music concert she attends with Meredith.
November 1, 2007: Meredith is murdered.
November 2, 2007: Meredith’s body is found in a pool of blood in her bedroom in the Perugia house with her throat cut.
November 6, 2007: Knox, Sollecito and bar owner Diya “Patrick” Lumumba are arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit manslaughter and sexual violence.
November 20, 2007: Rudy Guede, a 20-year-old student, is arrested. Lumumba is released from prison without charge.
October 28, 2008: Guede is found guilty of murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison and Knox and Sollecito are ordered to stand trial for murder.
December 4, 2009: Knox and Sollecito are convicted, with Knox sentenced to 26 years for murder, sexual assault and slander and Sollecito receiving a 25-year sentence for murder and sexual assault.
November 24, 2010: Appeals trial for Knox and Sollecito opens in Perugia.
October 3, 2011: Appeals court clears Knox and Sollecito of murder and frees them.
July 2012: Knox and Sollecito meet during his book tour of the US in New York and Seattle.
March 26, 2013: Italy’s highest court overturns the acquittal and orders a new trial.
September 30,2013: Florence appeals court opens second trial of Knox and Sollecito.
January 30, 2014: Knox and Sollecito’s murder convictions are upheld with Knox sentenced to 28.5 years and Sollecito to 25. Lawyers say they will take case to Italy’s highest appeals court.
March 27, 2015: The convictions are both annulled, with no further retrial ordered.
November 21, 2021 : Guede finishes his sentence and is released after his 30-year jail term was cut to 16 years.
June 18, 2022 : Knox and Sollecito visit Gubbio – the first time they have met in person for 10 years.