Amanda Knox has said the decision by judges to reinstate her murder conviction for the death of British student Meredith Kercher “hit me like a train”.
Knox, who stayed in her native US for the trial, vowed to “never go willingly” back to Italy, where she was sentenced to 28 years and six months and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was jailed for 25 years.
She told American television network ABC’s Good Morning America: “It hit me like a train. I didn’t expect this to happen. They found me innocent before. How could they?” She added: “I’m going to fight this to the very end.”
Sollecito was held by police near Italy’s border with Slovenia and Austria at around 1am yesterday.
He was found by officers with his current girlfriend at a hotel in Venzone, about 24 miles from the border, and was taken to a police station in Udine. He is expected to be freed later with a stamp in his passport forbidding him from leaving the country.
Miss Kercher’s brother, Lyle, called for Knox to be extradited from the US. Mr Kercher told a press conference in Florence: “If somebody is found guilty and convicted of a murder, and if an extradition law exists between those two countries, then I don’t see why they wouldn’t.
“I imagine it would set a difficult precedent if a country such as the US didn’t choose to go along with laws that they themselves uphold when extraditing convicted criminals from other countries.
“It probably leaves them in a strange position not to.”
But Knox insisted: “I will never go willingly back to the place... I’m going to fight this to the very end. It’s not right and it’s not fair.”
She said she had initially planned to wait for her lawyers to inform her of yesterday’s verdict, but she found an Italian television station online to hear the news because she said she “couldn’t help myself”.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” she recalled. “My whole family was there and I was listening and I’m the only one who knows Italian and I’m trying to listen and then tell them.”
She went on: “This is an experience that I have to testify to, that really horrible things can happen and you have to stand up for yourself.”
The 26-year-old told Good Morning America host Robin Roberts that she has sent a letter to her lawyer which is addressed to Miss Kercher’s family.
“It’s in the mail. Mainly I just want them to know that I really understand that this is incredibly difficult, that they’ve also been on this never-ending thing and, when the case has been messed up so much, like, a verdict is no longer consolation for them,” she said. But the victim’s sister, Stephanie, said her family did not want to read the letter.
She also revealed that they did not want to meet Knox, telling reporters at the Florence press conference: “It’s not something that we would want to do at the moment and I can’t say that we ever will.”
She said the family was still on a “journey for the truth” and admitted they were coming to terms with the possibility of never knowing what had happened to Meredith.
“You can’t ever really get to a point where you just start to remember Meredith solely because it is following the case, coming over to Italy and everything associated with it.
“But the verdict has been upheld this time so we hope that... obviously, come the end of the trial, we are nearer the truth and an end so that we can just start to remember Meredith for who she was and draw a line under it, as it were.”
Ms Kercher, a 21-year-old Leeds University exchange student from Coulsdon, Surrey, was found with her throat slashed in the bedroom of the house she shared with Knox in Perugia, in November 2007.
Knox and Sollecito were originally found guilty of murder in 2009. They were cleared nearly two years later – but the appeal court ordered a fresh trial last March.
Prosecutors claimed that Miss Kercher was the victim of a drug-fuelled sex game gone wrong, but the defendants have consistently protested their innocence and claim they were not in the apartment on the night she died.
Rudy Guede, a drug dealer, is serving a 16-year sentence over the death.