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Fresh hope? Amanda Knox arriving at court in Perugia, Italy, last month. Five prisoners including a convicted  Mafia mobster  will testify that she and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are innocent of murder

Mobster Luciano Aviello, a convicted Naples Mafia police informer and five cons serving prison sentences will testify for Amanda Knox as part of her appeal case, it  emerged today.

The prisoners will be escorted under heavy armed guard from various jails after a judge granted defence requests that they be heard as vital witnesses who will say foxy knoxy is innocent

Knox, 23, was jailed 18 months ago for the brutal murder of British student Meredith Kercher, 21, who was found semi-naked with her throat cut in her bedroom in the house they shared. 

Knox is serving 26 years for the murder, along with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito who was sentenced to 25 years.

But in recent months there has been growing doubts over the strength of their convictions.

DNA evidence presented at the original trial has been questioned and the motive is also in doubt, with prosecutors switching between a sex crime, theft, a domestic row between Knox and Meredith or all three.

The five witnesses will testify that Knox and Sollecito are innocent of the murder – with mobster Luciano Aviello insisting that it was his on-the-run brother Antonio who committed the crime.

In a series of letters to the court from Vercelli jail, near Turin, Aviello has claimed his brother murdered Meredith after she disturbed him during a break in at the house in Perugia.