Amanda Knox has written an emotional tribute to “my closest friend” Meredith Kercher, marking 10 years since the Briton was murdered in Italy.
Ms Kercher, a 21-year-old exchange student from London, was stabbed to death in the Perugia flat she shared with Ms Knox on 1 November 2007.
Ms Knox and then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of her murder in 2009, but two years later both were acquitted following a successful appeal.
In a tribute written to mark a decade since the murder, Ms Knox recalls spending time with Ms Kercher but says many of her memories are distant “because I have to dig through a decade of suffering just to reach them”.
The 30-year-old American says her recollections are “buried beneath the horrific autopsy photos and crime scene footage I saw”, as well as “the false accusations I fought” and “years of wrongful imprisonment I endured”.
Writing in the Westside Seattle newspaper, Ms Knox said the Briton “was my closest friend in a new and exciting time”.
She added: “I’ve never been allowed to mourn her. There are some people who believe I have no right to mourn Meredith.
“They believe that I had something to do with her murder – I didn’t – or that Meredith has been forgotten in the wake of my own struggle for justice – she hasn’t.
“Either way, they feel that Meredith and I are inextricably linked, so it’s simply not fair that I haven’t lost everything, as she has. They are wrong.”
Prosecutors alleged that Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito carried out the killing with small-time drug dealer Rudy Guede, who was convicted of murder and given a 30-year jail term in October 2008.
Following years of judicial reviews after their release, Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were exonerated in March 2015 when Italy’s top criminal court decided there was a lack of biological evidence against them.
Addressing her imprisonment, Ms Knox writes: “I hate it that my memories of her are buried beneath the years of suffering Raffaele and I endured in the wake of her murder.
“And it’s depressing to know that mourning her comes at the price of being criticised for anything I say or don’t say today.
“But most depressing of all is that Meredith isn’t here, when she deserves to be. She is painfully missed by everyone who loved her. I miss her, and I’m grateful for the memories of our time together.”