Murder suspect 'seen waving knife'

AMANDA Knox, the American student accused of murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher, was seen waving a knife above her head outside their apartment, a court heard yesterday.

Albanian witness Hekuran Kokomani was frequently interrupted by Judge Giancarlo Massei as he provided often incoherent testimony yesterday.

Kokomani said he recalled seeing Knox's former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Ivory Coast national Rudy Hermann Guede in front of the apartment in the university town of Perugia, Italy, where Kercher lived.

Although described by prosecutors as a key witness, Kokomani could not specify if he saw the three together the night in November 2007 when Leeds University student Kercher was stabbed to death in her bedroom.

Earlier, a prosecution witness testified he saw the two suspects accused of killing Kercher in a basketball court near the site of the murder at the time the victim is believed to have died.

Homeless Antonio Curatolo said that Knox and Sollecito were "chatting, at times animatedly" from about 9.30pm to "shortly before midnight".

The witness said the basketball court is a few dozen yards away from the apartment where Kercher was killed.

Kercher, 21, is believed to have died between 9pm and 11pm on November 1, 2007, based on the postmortem examination and the accounts of friends with whom she had eaten dinner that night, court documents say.

Knox and Sollecito are accused of murdering Kercher. Both deny the charges.

Prosecutors allege that Kercher was killed during what began as a sex game, with Sollecito holding her by the shoulders from behind while Knox touched her with the point of a knife. They say Guede tried to sexually assault Kercher and then Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.

Guede was convicted of murder in a separate trial last year and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Sollecito, 25, has maintained he was at his own apartment on the night of the murder, watching a movie on his computer, though one witness testified earlier in the trial there was no sign he used it during the time when Kercher was killed.

Knox has insisted she was not in her apartment during the slaying.

A second witness testified today that he saw Knox, Sollecito, Guede and Kercher walk out of the apartment that the Briton was sharing with Knox on October 30, 2007, two days before the killing.

Fabio Gioffredi said he was "99% sure" he saw Guede. "They were all dressed in dark clothes, except for Amanda, who was wearing a red coat, with big buttons, 60s-style," Gioffredi said.

Sollecito denied ever meeting Guede and told the court his defence will show evidence he was not with them that night.