Amanda Knox is at heart a "she-devil" who loved to play dangerous games, the lawyer for a man falsely accused by the American student of killing her roommate told an Italian court on Monday.
Amanda Knox, the US student convicted of murdering her British flatmate Meredith Kercher in Italy on November 2007, sits in the courtroom during her appeal trial session in Perugia Sept 23, 2011. Knox walked into a court room in Perugia on Friday for the final stages of an appeal she is hoping will allow her to walk free after nearly four years in an Italian prison. [Photo/Agencies]
"Amanda is one thing and another - that is, both Saint Maria Goretti and a satanic, diabolic she-devil given to borderline behaviour," Carlo Pacelli said, referring to a Catholic saint linked to purity, young women and rape victims.
Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are appealing their 2009 convictions for the murder of 21-year-old Briton Meredith Kercher during a drug-fuelled sexual assault in Perugia in 2007.
The student from Seattle initially accused Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba of killing Kercher, whose half-naked body was found with a deep stab wound in the throat.
Knox looked gaunt and tense as Lumumba's lawyer Pacelli branded her a "witch of deception" whose lying ways belied her fresh-faced "soap-and-water" looks.
Knox, 24, later retracted the accusation against Lumumba, saying she incriminated him under pressure from police who threatened her with 30 years in jail. Briefly arrested, Lumumba was cleared and successfully sued the American for slander.
Pacelli told the appeals court that Knox's lies destroyed his client's image in an instant, making him a "second victim" in the case. He argued the American was a liar who led a life that revolved around easy sex, drugs and booze.
"Amanda should be judged based on her personality when the crime occurred in November 2007 and at that time she was a concentrated mix of sex, drugs and alcohol," Pacelli said.
"We're not talking about the girl you're seeing today, who has been through four years of prison."
Knox stared straight ahead as Pacelli urged the jury panel of lay and professional judges to look past the American's "mask of an impostor".
"Amanda Knox loved strong emotions and dangerous games," Pacelli said. "If she had no reason to lie, why did she lie?"
Knox's father told Reuters accusations leveled by Pacelli at his daughter had been tough for her to hear.
"Whenever your daughter gets called a she-devil or Lucifer, that's over the top," Curt Knox said. "He has no idea who she is -- he's never met her, he's never talked to her and to be pulling those kinds of names out is just inappropriate."
Outside the courthours, Lumumba told Reuters he was still haunted by the false accusation of murder.
"I hope things change with time, but for now, I still keep checking my door at night to see if it is locked. It's when you get the sensation that someone wants to hurt you," he said.