Shocked residents of Perugia took to the streets outside the court house last night to celebrate the appeal court judges' verdict that there had been no murder.
Speaking in broken English and out of sync with his own mouth, the presiding judge declared that no murder had been committed, indeed there was no evidence that Meredith Kercher ever existed. When he was later shown a picture of the alleged victim the judge said that he was sure that he had seen the very same girl alive and well and sitting in the public gallery earlier in the day.
On hearing the verdict,reacting to the shock and stress of the situation, Amanda Knox burst into tears and collapsed into the arms of her family. Concerned that this reaction could be misinterpreted in any future appeal, her lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova stressed that "I fully expect Foxy to be laughing, joking, kissing boys and performing cartwheels as soon as she has had chance to take a shower".
Speaking outside the court Knox's sister Deanna thanked everyone for their support. "I have always been convinced that there was no murder committed in this beautiful city. I praise the courage of the Italian court in upholding the constitutional right of every American to be acquitted of any crime they have committed whilst abroad. I would ask that my sister and my family now be given the peace and privacy they need to conclude negotiations for the book and film rights."
In the Ponte Cafe just out of town the Kercher family were in subdued mood. Mrs Kercher was clearly confused "Meredith ? I thought we were going on a trip to see the Leaning Tower?"
Stephanie Kercher, fiddling nervously with her bra strap, interjected "For the record, no, I am not Meredith and never have been. I distinctly recall someone called Meredith when I was a child and I've always been convinced that I had a sister. When Rupert Inthedock contacted us to say that a member of the family had been killed we had to take it very seriously, how could we just do nothing?"
"How on earth can the court now say that the murder never happened when someone has already been convicted!"
Responding to that specific point , a police officer, who did not want to be identified for health reasons said "It is rather embarrassing isn't it? It seems that someone in the department may have invented Meredith in order to put away that foreigner Rudy Guede, it's all just got out of hand"
Meanwhile as the Knox family left for Rome to catch the first available flight to anywhere, they declined a personal invitation from Prime Minister Berlusconi for a private meeting with Amanda in his chambers to show her his contrition.