Amanda Knox sobs during speech on return to Italy, accuses media of building false story

Amanda Knox broke down in tears during a criminal justice festival in Italy on Saturday as she accused the media of depicting her as guilty, despite her proven innocence.

Her appearance at a panel discussion titled “Trial by Media” marks the first time she's been to Italy since being cleared in 2011 of the slaying of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

“I'm afraid today. Now, I'm afraid of being harassed, mocked, stuck, and I'm afraid that new accusations will be addressed to me just because I come here to say my version of the facts. But above all, I fear I will lack the courage,” she said.

“I'm afraid today. Now, I'm afraid of being harassed, mocked, stuck, and I'm afraid that new accusations will be addressed to me just because I come here to say my version of the facts. But above all, I fear I will lack the courage.”

— Amanda Knox

AMANDA KNOX'S RETURN TO ITALY SLAMMED AS 'INAPPROPRIATE' BY SLAIN BRITISH STUDENT'S FAMILY LAWYER

Struggling to contain her tears, she said the media depicted her “as cunning, psychopath, drugged wh---. Guilty” and fabricated “false and baseless story, which fueled people’s fantasies.”

Her appearance at the festival was criticized by the lawyer for Kercher's family, who said Knox's invitation to the Italian Criminal Justice Festival was “inappropriate” and “a mistake,” adding that “lawyers for both parts should have been involved.”

Amanda Knox gets emotional as she speaks at a Criminal Justice Festival at the University of Modena, Italy, Saturday, June 15, 2019. Knox, a former American exchange student who became the focus of a sensational murder case, arrived in Italy Thursday for the first time since an appeals court acquitted her in 2011 in the slaying of her British roommate.

Amanda Knox gets emotional as she speaks at a Criminal Justice Festival at the University of Modena, Italy, Saturday, June 15, 2019. Knox, a former American exchange student who became the focus of a sensational murder case, arrived in Italy Thursday for the first time since an appeals court acquitted her in 2011 in the slaying of her British roommate. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

During the panel, Knox admitted that she remains a controversial figure even though she was cleared of the murder charges.

“I know that despite my acquittal issued by the Court of Cassation, I remain a controversial figure in the presence of public opinion, above all and especially here in Italy,” she said.

“A lot of people think I'm crazy to come here. I was told that I was not safe, that I will be attacked in the streets, that I will be falsely accused and sent back to prison and that even if I return to Seattle, it will have been all in vain, it will not have been useful to anything.”

“A lot of people think I'm crazy to come here. I was told that I was not safe, that I will be attacked in the streets, that I will be falsely accused and sent back to prison and that even if I return to Seattle, it will have been all in vain, it will not have been useful to anything.”

— Amanda Knox

AMANDA KNOX TO RETURN TO ITALY FOR 1ST TIME SINCE ACQUITTAL FOR 'TRIAL BY MEDIA' EVENT

The brutal 2007 slaying of the British woman, whose body was found under a blanket in her locked room with her throat slit, attracted international attention especially after Knox became the target of the accusations.

Knox was definitively acquitted by Italy’s highest court in 2015, following a series of flip-flop rulings by the courts, including a lower court conviction, with a 26-year prison sentence, that was overruled in 2011.

Amanda Knox gets emotional as she speaks at a Criminal Justice Festival at the University of Modena, Italy, Saturday, June 15, 2019. Knox, a former American exchange student who became the focus of a sensational murder case, arrived in Italy Thursday for the first time since an appeals court acquitted her in 2011 in the slaying of her British roommate.

Amanda Knox gets emotional as she speaks at a Criminal Justice Festival at the University of Modena, Italy, Saturday, June 15, 2019. Knox, a former American exchange student who became the focus of a sensational murder case, arrived in Italy Thursday for the first time since an appeals court acquitted her in 2011 in the slaying of her British roommate. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Knox’s slander conviction and three-year sentence for having wrongly accused a Congolese bar owner, however, remained intact.

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She spent in total four years in jail, including during the investigation, before her 2011 acquittal freed her to return to her native Seattle, where she has lived since.

Rudy Guede, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast, is serving a 16-year sentence for Kercher’s murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.