Category: Concerning Meredith

Thursday, November 01, 2018

RIP Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher 28 December 1985 - 1 November 2007

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Monday, December 25, 2017

Marking The End Of Another Year During Which Justice Did Make Some Gains

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

An Italian piece (Scarlatti) by American Elaine Comparone which we used before


Meredith’s birthday comes around again on the 28th so for her family in London which now includes some grandchildren the years’ end emotions are mixed.

Her family clearly likes any ongoing notions of what she might have achieved, what others are achieving that are of her generation, moreso than an annual reminder of the days since she passed.

This post was responding to that.

We didn’t think we needed to explain the post and sure enough almost everybody did see the point. The scorching Moonlight Sonata was many peoples’ first choice.

Hence the harpsichord piece! 

Music and ballet did mean a lot for Meredith, and both could use wider audiences these days.  If there’s a video on that same theme we can add it here. Words also will do fine.


Sunday, August 06, 2017

Meredith’s Perugia #38: Popular Beaches In Italy’s Deep South She Will Never See

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

 

 


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Meredith’s Perugia #37: Aerial Perugia With High Definition Drone Photography

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Monday, October 31, 2016

Nine Years Tuesday Since The Pack Attack: The Compelling Aura Of Meredith Lives On

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Only In Italy? A Complete Orchestra - Of Women Playing Harps

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Complexity squared….

The venues are not given, but one looks like the La Scala Opera House in Milan, completely sold out. Actually, there are a few such orchestras elsewhere in Europe and in the US; in Italy they are thick on the ground.


Friday, January 01, 2016

“Happy Day” By Universita per Stranieri Students Meredith Would Surely Have Got Along With

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Buon Anno 2016! Bay Of Naples Has A Fireworks Show Like… Not Your Normal Town

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Last year the fireworks of Meredith’s home town received a lot of praise - she was born not far from that giant wheel.


Monday, December 28, 2015

In Commemoration Of Meredith On Her 30th: The Great Bach Tocata & Fugue In D Minor

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Fittingly, played by a woman. We think Meredith would have liked that.

The woman is Emà­lia Dzemjanová, and she is playing in St. Elisabeth Cathedral in Košice in eastern Slovakia where she has recorded often.

A church organ is not an instrument that many women play, perhaps because it is physically the most taxing. And the thunderous D Minor is especially taxing and both feet need to be pretty busy. The lowest notes here would all be played by Emilia’s feet.

In fact this is the only rendition on a church organ that we can find on YouTube by a woman. No harm in going where no woman has gone before, right?



Sunday, November 01, 2015

1 November 2015: Marking Eight Years That Her Presence And Promise Have Moved People

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Meredith at lower left with sister and parents; she showed quite exceptional potential

Meredith as commemorate by Stephany:

For us, this has only ever been about Meredith. She had been in Perugia for eight weeks and I had moved away from home only three weeks previously. We had stayed in touch updating each other with the exciting new things we were doing.

I had just got home from a training course when Mum called me, her voice trembling, relaying news that a 21-year-old English girl had been found under a mattress in Italy.

Trying to calm Mum down I began calling Mez on her mobile. I ended up leaving a voice message explaining what had happened, telling her to be safe and to call me as soon as she could.

I finished, as always, saying “I love you”. I even emailed her the news page so she knew what I was talking about… Little did I know I was already too late.

Dad’s was the next voice I heard. Through tears he told me the name he had been given by a newspaper was Meredith. I cannot remember what I thought ““ it was a mixture of disbelief and sheer pain. I did not know what to think or do and then my body just sunk.

When I arrived at Mum’s the pain in my chest was unbearable as I was told the few details of what had happened ““ the broken window, her door locked on the inside.

Thoughts and scenarios were racing through my head faster than I could comprehend and I collapsed into my parents’ arms, filled with the fear Meredith must have endured that night.

We stayed up all night watching the news, waiting for any concrete information. The Halloween photo of Meredith was the first to appear and I spun round to Mum and said “˜That’s not Mez! That’s not Mez, Mum!’

I was adamant it was not my little sister, but Mum stroked my hair and painfully submitted that it was.

I cried all night until I could barely see or breathe, everything just felt so empty. From the moment we received the call I knew we had to go and look after Mez.

We were told she was in a room with flowers either side of her and Mum said we had to go as soon as possible because she did not want to leave Meredith on her own. I cannot begin to imagine how my parents must have felt, I just know how numb I was and how Mum’s strength pulled us together.

We began our journey to identify her and bring her home. Arriving in Italy was surreal, everything happened so quickly. I still remember looking at Meredith lying there so still, no breath to be taken, a crisp white sheet pulled up to and over her neck.

She seemed peaceful, yet she bore a look of determination, of courage marred by defeat. It was a look that let us know how hard she had fought to be with us ““ and for that I am eternally grateful.

From that moment we knew we had to fight for her, too, not only for justice for her, but every day for ourselves, for her.

Others have given us the strength to continue since November 1, 2007 and we’d like to thank everyone around the world who has supported us and given us hope.

This is testament to a truly special sister, daughter and friend. She really did touch so many lives with her selfless compassion and loyalty, and continues to do so now.

Nothing was ever too much trouble for her. Mez never knew how effortlessly beautiful she was or how much of an impact she had on people. This was a quality of hers, which enabled her to make others laugh, help others when they needed someone, and become someone to aspire to.

She held such an incredible presence that the void she has left us with is noticeable every day. Marking the fourth anniversary of our loss, we now live without reason. No motive was found.

It is difficult to find any reason to want to hurt her and it terrifies me to think she may have left us that night not knowing either.

We still hope justice will prevail and, in the darkest times, the support given to Meredith and us as a family reminds us of why we are still here.

We are working with friends and colleagues to start a Trust Fund in Meredith’s name to help with the case and eventually support anyone else who may tragically find themselves in our position, so that her fight may continue and help others.

On November 1 at 9pm I will light a candle for my sister, may she rest in peace.


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Real Victim: Will The Cassation Report Promised Thursday Belatedly Suitably Acknowledge Her?

Posted by Slow Jane





It was a gloriously sunny early summer’s day.

I stepped out of the tube onto Tooting Broadway, with throngs of shoppers overflowing the pavements and schoolchildren milling around the bus stops in groups.

Now here at last, in Croydon Cemetery, fifteen bus stops later, I found Meredith’s grave, startling in its unexpectedness, after walking for quite a while, hopeless at following directions, having originally gone to the wrong graveyard altogether, the day before.

My heart pounded as her name suddenly leapt out at me.

The burial site is beautifully maintained, with miniature pink and red rose bushes and set in the peaceful landscaped grounds, with evergreens and lawns.

I stood for a while overcome with emotion, quite alone, with nobody in sight all around.  I said a few prayers, including one pleading that Meredith’s murderers be brought to justice.  I quietly sang Psalm 23 and pondered how this beautiful, funny, bright young student had lived a life that was all too short.

A feeling of pain - for her mother Arline and father John, and Stephanie, Lyle and John and for all her family and friends - contracted like a taut elastic band across my chest.

I recalled how at her funeral service at St John the Baptist Church many of the mourners, including sister Stephanie and friends from Leeds Uni had carried a single white rose each.

Stephanie read out a poem she wrote, ” Don’t Say Goodbye”.  Her old school friends sang as a choir the requiem,  In Paradisum.  Two hymns sung at the service, on 14th December 2007, were “˜Abide with me” and “For the Beauty of the Earth”.

Meredith’s favourite record “With or without you” by U2 (below) was played.

As I sat on a creaky bench nearby under the shade of a gnarled old tree, I scribbled down the following lines:

    I came to pay my respects

    To Meredith Kercher so dear

    To all who knew her.

    Go gently into that night

    Enforced on you by the evil,

    Those who walk in the darkness,

    And you were in their path.

    Your light shines

    And the dark has not overcome it.

 

I write this article to reflect that this is about Meredith Kercher and her family and friends, and to reclaim the memory of her purity from the soiled agenda of the ex-defendants and the cruel IIP and FOA stalkers.

Stephanie Kercher had said, in response to Knox’s demand, on the launch of her “memoir”, that she be taken to visit Meredith’s grave, that Stephanie and her family just want a safe place for Meredith to rest in peace.

I cast my mind back to the news reports that broke in November 2013 that Raffaele Sollecito had nevertheless paid a “secret visit” to the spot.  He had been in London in March 2013.  He had the grace not to include pictures of the grave on his “London” Facebook page that he may have taken.

Newspaper reports reveal he was taken there by an “English friend” and left no flowers.  The “friend” who was quick to betray Sollecito’s “secret” is speculated to be one Nigel Scott, ex-Lib Dem Councillor in Haringey, and a purported member of the Injustice in Perugia advisory board, the rather grand name of a lobby of aggressive pro-Knox advocates.

Scott put up a picture of the grave in a tweet ““ hastily taken down ““ as the news broke.  He disparagingly refers to the grave as being in “poor condition”, with a temporary headstone marker. 

His co-campaigner, Karen Pruett, maintains a Find A Grave webpage for Meredith and was forced by demand from enraged supporters of Meredith Kercher’s family to take down the picture of Meredith’s grave, most probably taken from the Daily Mail.

Notorious FOA poster Lyn Duncan - who tweets under the name of @Annella - and others, left “tributes” after the acquittal, despite one of their party, Doug Bremner Jr, having referred to the Kerchers as “Nazis” and another mocking Meredith’s grave lacking a headstone as late as 2011, when Knox was first acquitted by Hellmann, as shown in the Daily Mail.

Time has shown how Scott’s, Pruett’s and other Knox chums’ characters speak for themselves.

Meredith’s final resting place is beautiful, in a quietly understated way.  The grave adjacent is of a Liverpool supporter aged 22,  who died around about the same time as Mez, who was 21.  It is very poignant to see.

Meredith’s headstone is fashioned out of marble and reads, ” We will always love you MEREDITH SUSANNA CARA KERCHER 28th Dec. 1985 ““ 1st Nov. 2007 Forever in our thoughts, always in our hearts.”

The temporary marker, so much derided by Knox’ supporters, remains at the foot.  I left some Sweet Williams in a flower container and slowly walked away, moved and changed by the visit.




Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meredith May Not See Justice (Yet) But She Will Leave At Least Three Legacies

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Meredith’s goal in life was to help people, and she had thought of making a career in the European institutions in Brussels.

So much of human organization is messy and very hard to make better. She would have found that.  But somehow, often in a terrifying lurch, systems do sometimes tend to get better.

These better systems between them benefiting millions may all be attributed to Meredith. More than 99% of humanity can achieve in a lifetime.

1) Perugia is a safer more thriving place now

This is a repeat of our post of 9 April 2010 - there has been a mayor-change, but the broad safety and economic trends continue.

Meet Wladimiro Boccali. The mayor of Perugia.

A year ago when Mr Boccali ran for office (video above) it was in the context of a city-wide desire for prosperity, public safety, support for the police and the court system, the enhancement of Perugia’s reputation, and the clamping down on drug dealing and student excesses.

A mood that very much flowed from the shock of Meredith’s passing. A sense that certain things had gone too far.

Since then, Mr Boccali has been in the Italian national news almost daily, and he is coming to be seen as the kind of political leader Italy could really use in a turbulent future.

He is in the news again right now, because there was a riot in the main piazza of the old city by some drunks late last saturday night.

In part inspired and encouraged by good town leadership, Perugia’s economy is now one of the more thriving city economies in Italy. Perugia’s median IQ is extremely high (Perugia is probably one of the smartest cities in Europe) and a lot of very advanced research goes on there.

Perugia’s town administration does many caring things, such as the special city council meeting for Sonia Marra.

And seemingly attracted by all of this, people are moving to Perugia in droves - its population is increasing at double the national growth rate.

So. Meet the new Perugia. Meredith’s own qualities, writ large.

Since that post Perugia and the university have recognised Meredith by way of a scholarship and a one-day seminar.

2) American universities acted to stop future Knoxes

Knox behaved grossly irresponsibly in heading to Perugia under-funded, intent on drug-doing, and with zero intention of seriously studying.

The University of Washington and many others realised they could have huge liabilities if they did not distance themselves a lot from such loose cannons in future.

In October 2009 we reposted this report by Andrea Vogt which described the initiation of measures many American universities have now come to implement.

Mirroring a nationwide trend, the University of Washington is overhauling how its students and professors interface with foreign countries….

The UW study abroad experience today involves much more oversight than it did two years ago when Amanda Knox left on an unsupervised European adventure that quickly degenerated into a nightmare.

When Knox, who is on trial for murder in Italy, left her familiar U-district environs in late summer 2007, she embarked on her own independent study in Umbria with very few guidelines or institutional oversight.

She arrived in the tolerant student melange of Perugia, a vibrant college town with temptation at every turn and many paradoxes (drug deals and party plans are often made on the steps of the cathedral).

A month later, the honor student’s pub-crawling, pot-smoking college shenanigans had taken a very serious turn and she was being hauled off to the Capanne penitentiary, where she remains today, pleading her innocence as the trial and controversial accusations against her plod forward.

Once her troubles began, the university tried to offer support, but had very few official guidelines to follow for responding to the kind of complicated legal-judicial matter Knox faced.

It’s different now….

In the wake of several negative overseas episodes, officials are busy raising awareness about the positive impact the UW is having worldwide and taking steps to improve communications, regulation and emergency preparedness for its students abroad.

Compared with two years ago, international education officials are more closely tracking who, where and what study-abroad programs involve. The university has new rules:. The department chair has to sign off on the program. Insurance is required. So is a cell phone. No program money can be used to buy alcohol, just for starters.

“There’s a much more formal process now,” said Taso Lagos, a UW professor who teaches international communication and manages a study-abroad program in Greece. “With administrators that are very aware, with lines of communication open and policies in place if something happens.”...

The UW’s growing commitment to international education—- even in a budget crisis—is reflected in some developments. [UW Vice Provost for Global Affairs Stephen Hanson] was named a vice provost in January, and in the spring, the UW dedicated an entire wing of the Gerberding Hall administration building to growing an international mission and profile.

This year, a travel security and information officer is coming on board to oversee emergency response and preparedness, as is Peter Moran, a new director of international programs and exchanges who previously worked at the Fulbright Commission office in Katmandu, Nepal.

New guidelines are being put in place to streamline communications, ease financial transactions and institute mandatory training for faculty taking students abroad. The Global Support Project, a rapid-response team with one person from each branch of the central administration, takes on cross-disciplinary international challenges.

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

Universities across the country are examining how better to organize study abroad to meet blossoming demand from students (and prospective employers) for foreign experience. Many are turning to independent service providers whose business it is to contract housing, health care or niche risk management services dealing with legal, financial or public relations crises when things go haywire abroad…..

Though the university bore no responsibility for any of the events Knox became entangled in, media across the world continued to mention the University of Washington—whether it was because of character witnesses who were her college buddies, reports of wild off-campus parties Knox attended in Seattle or her studies while in prison.

3) Italy’s justice reforms will be nudged hard

Italian justice has a systemic problem, it has been made to tilt hard toward defendants over the years. That problem was described here and here and touched on in many other posts.

Polls have show that though Italians admire and trust their justice system and especially the brave people within it (over 100 have died fighting mafia) a majority would like some rebalancing toward victims and families.

Justice reforms are now on the national agenda. What happened in Rome yesterday to deny Meredith justice is stirring Italy and seems certain to impact them.’

Court days to flow continuously? Some backing off from automatic appeals? No juries at the second level? Prosecutors and judges to be allowed to speak out more? Maybe in lieu of some of those onerous sentencing reports? Limits to defendants talking without cross-examination in the courtroom?

These are not extreme, they are mainstream in the common-law system, and they would speed Italy’s up, make it fairer, and cost less (a lot less!).

***

All incredibly worthwhile. For one so young, in death Meredith may come to help millions for the better.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Did The State Department Offer Assurances To Knox She Never Would Be Extradited?

Posted by Ergon



US Sec of State Kerry (discussing Snowden) really needs extraditions to work

1. Overview

This is the first of two posts on the real source of an increasing flow of anonymous but seemingly official State Department claims that Knox’s extradition is not in the cards

2. The Current Italy/US Extradition Treaty

As repeatedly explained here by posting lawyers the Italy/US treaty is deliberately written to exclude any politics.

If either nation has arrived at a guilty verdict of someone currently in the other nation by following its own laws, then the other nation deliberately has no legal option but to extradite them to serve their term.

So far neither nation has ever refused to do what the treaty says and so far politics has never intervened. That helps both nations in pursuing other extradition cases around the world.

3. Claims By An Anonymous Source

“Will Amanda Knox Be Dragged Back to Italy in Murder Case?” This was by Nina Burleigh in a cover story in Newsweek on March 19, 2015 quoting an anonymous source.

A State Department source tells Newsweek that diplomats in both Italy and the U.S. expect an extradition request to be denied: “I don’t think either Italy or the U.S. wants a major burr under our saddle in terms of relationships between our countries, and this would be that, if the Italians pushed it.” If they do, the source adds, there “is not any way” the U.S. will arrest Knox, nor will it have her declared a fugitive.

The elected Italian government in Rome is separate from the judiciary, and traditionally the two branches do not have warm relations. “I know the Italian government was rolling its eyes” over the prospect of the case reaching this phase, the State Department source says, adding that Rome faces “a real political problem” if the judiciary requests extradition. The American diplomat predicts the Italian court won’t ask to extradite.

It seems that ever since Amanda Knox was wrongfully acquitted by the Hellmann appeals court of Perugia in 2011 we have been inundated with unsourced reports that “the United States would never extradite Amanda Knox.

Going back several years to the Daily Mail, Guardian, The Express and various American media, they all seemed to be reading from the same script:

  • She hadn’t received a fair trial.

  • American public opinion would “˜never allow her to be sent back”.

  • The Secretary of State would quietly prevail upon his counterpart in Italy to not request extradition.

And, as the final appeal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito came up to the last stretch it seemed that these same hacks were repeating the same talking points, even though much has changed since 2011.

These were the basic points, reported over and over in the main stream media till it almost seemed like a guarantee. So I have been looking for the last three years to verify the truth of that. And, who made that promise, if any were made? These were the basic parameters of my search, and I had to tune out the background noise of “˜double jeopardy” and “˜dueling extradition experts”.

Then I had to look for the “˜unnamed source” quoted in all the news reports.

These possibilities came up: 

  • WA US Senator Maria Cantwell spoke to her colleague Sen. John Kerry of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who spoke to his brother in law David Thorne, the former US Ambassador to Rome, who passed on a quiet message to the Italian Foreign minister. But would they ever speak on or off the record to reporters or like it very much if it was going to be bruited about?

  • Mid-level Friends Of Amanda Knox like Anne Bremner and Judge Heavey had received vague assurances from Senator Cantwell; somehow extrapolated as iron clad guarantee that Knox would never be extradited, never mind there has not been any precedent I can find that would apply to a similar case like this.

  • Someone in the Department of Justice and/ or State is feeding them shite.

  • The FOA are making it all up. That last was my favourite, given that they are led around by people like Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, and J. Michael Scadron.


4. My Search For The Truth

This has been an interesting journey, and as always, things seem to just come together at the last moment. It has helped that I have been watching diplomatic activity up-close all my life.

My father was in the Pakistani Foreign Service stationed in London, so, shortly after I was born, lived in the UK from age 0-3, then with the Pakistan Embassy in Tokyo from age 3-8. We were a cosmopolitan group of embassy brats going to St. Mary’s International School.

My friends were American, Iranian, Turk, Indian, East German, Canadian, New Zealand, points all over. Their parents were all diplomats and I made lifelong friends. My father could have received a posting as assistant to the ambassador to Washington D.C. after that but fate prevailed as he’d been stationed out 8 years and had to be rotated back to Pakistan.

Since that time I kept in touch with my friends and also developed this passion for International Relations and Geopolitics. Traveling to the US and other countries but also meeting over the internet, made many more friends at various levels of the State Department. Saw the changes there as respected career diplomats got replaced by interest groups and major donors to political parties. Such only went to choice postings, of course, but not second or third world countries, so I had many interesting discussions with them over the years.

The Wikileaks cables were a revelation as Embassy intercepts showed the thousand different ways diplomacy led to but also tried to prevent, war. I’d been reading them ever since they first came out so started searching for links to secret discussions with Amb. Thorne. Couldn’t find anything except what already was reported, so reporter Andrea Vogt’s FOI request find was a goldmine:

NEWLY RELEASED EMBASSY CABLES SHED LIGHT ON STATE DEPT HANDLING OF AMANDA KNOX CASE

By Andrea Vogt

FEBRUARY 13 “Newly released state department documents show the U.S. Embassy in Rome declared the Amanda Knox matter “Case Closed” in a cable to Washington just days after the American’s clamorous 2011 acquittal.  The memo reveals wishful thinking on the part of some U.S. diplomats, who were only too eager to see the thorny case come to a clean close.”

In Update March 23, 2015 posted today, Andrea Vogt says this:

In a 2011 Italian embassy cable released as part of several Freedom of Information Act requests I’ve filed on this case (first published Oct 11, 2011) [US] diplomats in Italy mistakenly thought Knox’s acquittal in 2011 would bring to a close this complex and divisive international case. Italy’s Court of Cassation would prove them wrong, overturning her Perugia acquittal and ordering a second appeal in a different venue (Florence) which ended last year with a guilty verdict.

So is a political fix being attempted or already in? See my Part Two Conclusion to be posted next.


Sunday, January 04, 2015

That Supposed Tsunami Of Leaks That Supposedly Hurt The Alleged Perps: Who REALLY Leaked?

Posted by Peter Quennell



Curt Knox spins the day in court; prosecutors are forbidden to correct him or explain “their side”

1. How The Supposed Leaks Began

On 6 November 2007 investigators into Meredith’s death thought they had caught a big break.

That was when Knox herself snapped and claimed to be an eyewitness to Meredith’s killing on the night. From 1:30 am to about noon on 6 November Knox repeated that claim and staged her huge fright of Patrick Lumumba again and again. She proved hard to shut up though police did gently try.

Three times in those ten or so hours Knox herself insisted on writing her claims down, including a claim that she did go out alone. She was repeatedly warned she should have a lawyer present first but pressed on.

False claims to have witnessed a murder are rare, but not entirely unknown - there can be fame and big bucks in it, played right.

But in Knox’s case this did not seem to apply - she snapped explosively under no pressure except that just placed upon her by Sollecito who had claimed she made him lie and she had gone out alone from Sollecito’s on the night Meredith died.

And she had to some extent implicated herself - she said she saw a crime she did not report.

On 8 November supervising magistrate Claudia Matteini reviewed police and psychology reports and what Knox and Sollecito had claimed (including Sollecito’s writing that he never wanted to see Knox again).

Judge Matteini declared them both to be bad news. She ordered them to remain locked up. Judge Ricciarelli confirmed that that was all correct.

In coming months Knox was given repeated opportunities to clear herself, to put the evil genie back in the bottle, but she failed every time. In April 2008 Cassation ruled there was plenty of prima facie evidence, and that Judge Matteini had done the right thing.

Knox herself inspired these events of 6 to 8 November. They are what caused the voracious UK media and relatively mild Italian media to get their paid snoops to Perugia fast.

All of them were lobbying to get an edge. Investigators had some difficulty performing their tasks because they were getting so many calls and being crowded in the streets.

2. Did The Police Or Prosecution Ever Leak?

The Italian rules are quite clear. Unlike the US, cases for and against the accused must be fought only in court, and when the prosecutor or judge speaks, it will mostly be in a document that has been cleared.

How many proven examples do you think there are of police and prosecutors slipping reporters leaks and tips and inside tracks to advance their case?

In fact NONE. Not one.

Among the frustrations we picked up from the excellent Italian-speaking reporters who were actually there was how under Italian rules there was so little that police and prosecutors were allowed to share.

In the UK it is also a bit like this. But in contrast in the US there would typically be daily press conferences and prosecutors (85% of them are elected in the US) appearing on the cable-news crime shows like that of Nancy Grace.

And Dr Mignini himself famously never leaks. The few things he ever says are on the record and they always prove accurate, low-key, and very fair. From 2007 right up to today he continues to maintain that Knox had no advance intention to kill. A softer line than some of the judges settled upon.

3. Did The Defenses And Families Leak?

Sure. This case must have broken all records for defense-biased leaks. Finding themselves in a vacuum of police and prosecution information and pushback, the Knox PR grew to an angry and often abusive and dishonest roar.

The sharp-elbowed Knox-Mellas presence was constantly “available” in Perugia and Burleigh and Dempsey among others got totally taken in. Ann Bremner and Judge Heavey and Paul Ciolino became more and more shrill. Heavey wrote to the president of the Italian Republic on his official letterhead. Senator Cantwell issued many unfounded claims. 

And through 2008 and 2009 one can spot increasing leaks from each defense team, often to try to advantage their client against the other two. We were offered some of those leaks, among others “the truth” about the autopsy and “the knife”.

The Perugia Shock blog by PR shill Francesco Sfarzo (now on trial in Florence for making things up, and wanted by police in the US) came to be a main conduit for defense lies and misleading information, possibly some from a disgruntled cop. 

Here is one easily proven leak from the Knox defense that was intended to hurt the police and prosecution in the case.

But putting police so overtly on the spot was a dangerous game. More often each perp and their defense team took whacks at the other two as a Rome lawyer showed here and we showed here.  In the past few posts we have been showing how many things about Rudy Guede were made up (more to come).

4. Making Things Up For Profit And Fame

In 2007 and 2008 various unsavory characters surfaced in Perugia, to try to win fame and make a buck. This quote is from our post directly below.

Christian Tramontano, who had claimed someone threatened him in his house in the dark with a knife who looked like a shot of Guede in the papers two months later, was not even called, perhaps because at a hearing in October 2008 Judge Micheli denounced him as having made things up.

Tramontano is right now a jobless bouncer, as the mafia was found to have some involvement in his club. Judge Micheli scathingly repudiated his tale as his story did not ring true - he made no police report about it at the time.

But worse, he looked like one of quite a few around Perugia (and later in the US) who were seeking global fame and big bucks from the media for “inside knowledge” and claimed close connections to one or other of the alleged perps.

Despite this Tramontano’s self-serving claims are repeated as gospel by the PR shills all over the place. Those claims appear as gospel in every one of their books.

This is from Tom Kington of the Guardian in a report posted 27 September 2008:

The trial in Italy of Rudy Guede, one of the three suspects accused of sexually assaulting and murdering British student Meredith Kercher, was thrown into disarray yesterday when a judge stopped proceedings after learning that one of the main character witnesses had allegedly tried to sell his story to Italian television.

Abuker Barro, known as Momi, a Somalian acquaintance of Guede, was due in court in Perugia yesterday to repeat claims made to investigators that he had seen Guede rifling through women’s handbags in clubs in Perugia and making aggressive advances to women when drunk.

But the judge, Paolo Micheli, blocked him from completing his testimony after lawyers for Guede showed a video of Barro meeting journalists to allegedly negotiate payment of €2,000 (£1,588) for revealing his testimony on Italian television. Micheli will ask magistrates to decide whether Barro should be prosecuted for abusing his role as a witness, which could exclude his testimony.

The incident, described by Guede’s lawyer, Walter Biscotti, as ‘an assault by the media’, follows a series of leaks to the press of evidence and even jail diaries by suspects during the investigation into the brutal slaying of Kercher, 21… [bold added]

Few real reporters were unethical or incompetent enough to accept and report biased and unconfirmed claims like Tramontano’s or Barro’s. But you can find those false claims hyped pervasively throughout the pro-Knox books as if they were gospel.

Among others Dempsey’s, Burleigh’s, Moore’s, Preston’s, Hendry’s, Waterbury’s, and Fischer’s books come to mind.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Meredith’s 29th: She Might Confidently Have Expected To Have Come Far By Now

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





A kind stranger sees it. From John Kercher’s fine book Meredith:

I had never heard of the “˜white feather’ phenomenon until some years ago. The story goes ““ or so I was told ““ that when somebody close to you dies, they occasionally send you a white feather to let you know that they are fine and thinking of you. Whether this was true or not, I could have no idea.

In the days after we were allowed to bring Meredith home and bury her, I went to the cemetery alone and, when I returned to my car, a small white feather was fluttering by the driver’s door. Soon after, I visited Meredith again ““ and again I saw a single white feather. After this, it happened on several occasions ““ but I always thought that it was simply a coincidence.

That was until, sometime later, Stephanie and I were sitting in the garden at a table, and as we talked, a pure white feather floated down and settled between us. I looked up into a clear blue sky. There were no birds. For the first time, I wondered if Meredith really was communicating with us. It was so easy to think that this was a stupid superstition, but I would not stop myself wondering if it was something more.

Then, quite recently, I had a coffee in London with one of Meredith’s friends from Perugia, Natalie Hayward. We had been talking generally and about Meredith. When we left and stood outside South Kensington Underground Station, to my amazement a white feather suddenly floated down between Natalie and myself and settled on her hand. I looked up. Once again, the sky was pure blue and there was not a bird in sight.

After Natalie left, I stood at that point for a full ten minutes, looking skywards, and not one bird appeared. Since then, I have heard and read of other people’s similar experiences. From this moment on, I like to think that, in some comforting way, Meredith truly is communicating with me. You may think me stupid or superstitious, but it is an experience I have never had before, and for every white feather I see, the feeling grows stronger.

Sometimes other people can say things better than you can yourself, because you are too close to events. This was certainly the case when a complete stranger, a middle-aged American woman whose name we do not know, wrote to us and managed to capture the entire essence of the person Meredith was. Her message, unsolicited but so appreciated, was so poignant that it made us cry. Here is what this American woman wrote about our daughter, which I am proud to publish.

    Meredith was an exceptional young woman, who was intelligent, friendly and loving, beginning the adventure of a lifetime. She emerged into the independence of young adulthood with a remarkable ability to make good on all of the advantages that life had given her: a loving family, physical beauty and vitality, intelligence, grace and wit and a desire to excel.

    Along with others, I have felt drawn to learn more about this extraordinary young woman, who did everything that she could, it seemed, to be happy, to achieve and to create goodwill among everyone that she encountered. By all accounts, she was conscientious and generous, possessing a grace and sense of responsibility unusual for her age, while retaining a youthful joy and spontaneity.

    Over time, I became aware of another, deepening aspect of her story working through me. I thought about how beautifully Meredith moved through the world: her dedication to her studies and focus on future goals; her commitment to family and the value that she placed on all relationships. These were qualities that became a touchstone for me, qualities that I aspired to strengthen in myself. I felt drawn to her radiance as a guiding force for good in my own life.

    Most of us will never enjoy, in such abundance, or with such seeming ease, the beauty, joy and success that Meredith possessed and achieved in her short life. But what Meredith knew, what Meredith was, can become a universal lesson. What Meredith, the woman and her life, can teach us, and has certainly taught me, is the value of moving in the world from a place of light and joy. Meredith has set an example, a standard that challenges and inspires us to live in the world differently. Every time that I think of her, I am reminded of this. For those of us who open ourselves to receiving the gift of her radiant beauty, she can serve as a source of inspiration, and a light toward which we can strive.

Upon reading this, I was overwhelmed. I wondered if this lady was clairvoyant, for she had somehow captured the essence of Meredith so perfectly. I could not have written anything better.

It is moments like this that make me believe that it is right that, as a family, we still vow to get justice for our Meredith ““ who, in death, has somehow changed the lives of so many people, without them having even known her. How these people are so perceptive about her, I do not know, but the fact that she has touched so many unknowns means that, in some way, she still goes on.





Saturday, November 01, 2014

Marking Seven Years Since Meredith Was Taken From Her Family And Friends

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



They all mark this date every year, we know.

Final justice for Meredith now seems very close at hand, and with measures in Italian university cities to clamp down on student drug-use and measures in American colleges to monitor students in foreign exchange schemes a lot more closely, many others will be made a little safer resulting from this sad affair.

Poster Hopeful offers the poem below and for those who only came to know about Meredith lately this group of posts may move you a lot.

Funny, kind, charismatic, ambitious to make her mark for mankind, and unstinting in hard work. We will need so many more like Meredith in probable tough times going forward. Watching over them is something we all need to do.

Sound of Seasons

Meredith, all these pleasures
You will miss as surely
As the next spring
Arrives in unfailing sequence,
The limitless seasons
Over and over like tireless waves
Rekissing the shore.

All these you miss, destroyed by death,
Your eyes unseeing
What even the smallest bird on earth
Enjoys.

Oh dearest, hearts are breaking for you,
That all your dreaming is gone,
That you seem lifeless as the stone,
Your laughing body and ambient wit
Disappeared into thin air,
Your mellow eyes with big chivalric stare
Shut to this earth,

But where where
Can we find anything to replace you
In this tired earth?
What joy or power or jewel
Would compensate
For your deft lineage stricken from the rolls
Of life?

There is an answer, a drum roll. Hear it
Announcing sound.
Sound is the purest mark of your legacy,
Sounds sounds all sorts of sounds
Unseen yet constantly around us.
If you listen closely to your own breathing
you will hear it push a little sigh
Over your hovering ears.
Whish, the wind blows wherever it pleases. Life is in the breath.

Meredith you are dancing again
In the music that we hear.
You are sound’s daughter
Splashing again in the waves
Of the Sea of Truth.

Dawn rises to stir the wind with the sun.
Your voice rustles the air
With your varied presence.
It is so sweet.
Your speech is breathing
The breath of nations,
Like air air
Entering the body
As life entered the Garden.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Meredith And Her Understanding Of The Power Of Good Thoughts

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding





“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world. (William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice)

One of the most disturbing and disheartening features of this serious case has been the influence, mob-like, of malevolent misinformation and mantras that the defence has spread among their followers.

In this season of generosity and goodwill, it would be good to remember the power, also, of good thoughts.

They, too, can gather strength - the more people think them, and share them with others. The more people hold out for reason and justice (as well as compassion where appropriate), the more a momentum will be generated, and will help reason prevail.






I have often heard fragments of this poem below quoted. It speaks of this power of good thoughts, and I found the whole poem, written by the American, Henry Van Dyke (from Pennsylvania, born 1854) :

“Thoughts Are Things” by Henry Van Dyke

I hold it true that thoughts are things;
They’re endowed with bodies and breath and wings;
And that we send them forth to fill
The world with good results, or ill.

That which we call our secret thought
Speeds forth to earth’s remotest spot,
Leaving its blessings or its woes
Like tracks behind it as it goes.

We build our future, thought by thought,
For good or ill, yet know it not.
Yet, so the universe was wrought.
Thought is another name for fate;
Choose, then, thy destiny and wait.
For love brings love and hate brings hate.”







Mrs. Mazzeo, who was Meredith ‘s teacher, remembers Meredith in Year Thirteen :

“When she was in Year Thirteen, the modern languages and music departments at the school collaborated in a cross-curricular activity called ‘Light and Dark’.

This was intended to celebrate the music and poetry of the respective languages studied at the school. The Italian department contributed with three readings from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Meredith was due to read one extract only, in Italian, from Paradiso.

But a younger girl, who was due to deliver the Purgatorio reading, had a panic attack a few minutes before she was due to read, and so was unable to participate. In a very calm way, Meredith took over this reading and read it perfectly, without any practice at all.”

Rabindranath Tagore was a prolific Indian writer, poet and musician who was born in 1861. An inclusive school he founded is now one of the great universities in India. He was very aware of the power of thought and presence:

‘The unuttered words in the vast mind of Man
Wander through space like nebulae.
Striking against the boundary of my mind,
They condense, take form,
And revolve around my study.’
(5th December 1940, Morning).

Like many Indians he seemed to have an innate appreciation of the role suffering often plays in life.  Here he wonders about suffering and pain :

‘From what workshop of suffering,
From what threshold of inflamed consciousness,
Come the darts of pain
And the bleeding wound?
Tiny is man’s body,
But how infinite his power of suffering!
In the world of Creation and Destruction,
Why does blood-red madness
Drench the earthen vessel of the body
With tears?’
(4th November 1940).

‘Nobody knows at what corner of the Universe
Is gathering every moment relentless Unforgivingness.
A fault lying hidden snaps the string
That binds all things together.
One mistake in the flash that gives the signal,
And the way for retreat is barred for ever.’
(13th November 1940)







‘Life is suffering’ is often a starting point - and one wonders - is it not precisely because of this that some of those of Indian origin will emanate a gentle strength, and go that extra mile to give and spread happiness wherever they can?

As if saying : ‘no more suffering…just for a Moment…there is already enough.’

We have another extract from John Kercher’s book, which indicates that Meredith had this quality. This is from Jayne Moore, who had employed her in the summer of 2007 :

“She was charming, because she was so unaffected and natural, and seemed to be happy all the time. She reminds me of the last few lines of a poem by Philip Larkin,.....The poem is called “Born Yesterday”, and the last lines describe
:
.... what a skilled,
Vigilant, flexible,
Unemphasised, enthralled
Catching of happiness is called.

And I think that is what Meredith showed to the people who knew her and worked with her.”

It must be with very heavy and sorrowful hearts that Meredith’s family and close friends approach the 28th December which would have been Meredith’s 28th birthday. She would have been four or five years by now into what looked like a momentous career.

We all sincerely hope that that whatever transpires at the Florence court in the New Year, knowing that Meredith has attracted the support of millions will go some way to lighten their path ahead.




Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Favorite Videos To Honor Meredith’s Nice Embracing Town Perugia At Christmas

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Meredith’s Perugia #35: A Main Draw For Her, The Exuberant Baroque And Renaissance

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Sunday, November 24, 2013

John Kercher’s Excellent Book “Meredith” On Meredith’s Friends Lloyd, Natalie, And Helen

Posted by Hopeful





Mr. Kercher’s biography of his daughter continues to charm and amaze.

It seems Meredith almost got married before she went to Italy. Her suitor was a dance teacher, named Lloyd Thomas. He was nineteen years old and they met at Leeds University on the dance floor. Mr. Thomas was teaching break-dance to the crowd and Meredith and her friends went out on the dance floor and began to dance. (p. 66)

Lloyd said, “I…thought that she looked like a movie star.” They had never spoken, but he had seen her once before, a month previously. Obviously the lovely lady had stayed in his mind. In the winter of 2006, at dance class, he struck up a conversation with her and called her later.

They decided to meet on the steps of Leeds University and began one of their many rich long talks, which later blossomed into going steady. “I was so taken with her amusing conversation,” he said. (p. 66) “After our third date, we saw each other about four evenings every week and we were always together, although she had a lot of university work to do.”

Mr. Kercher relates how Meredith was able to go with Lloyd and his parents to a hotel called Ponden House, “set in Charlotte Bronte country in West Yorkshire, for a weekend…She really loved it.” She rang Mr. Kercher to tell him how beautiful the scenery was.

Lloyd said (p. 67) that Meredith “never really spoke much about what she wanted to do when she graduated, but she had her heart set on going to Italy as part of her studies…”

About seven months into their relationship, Lloyd realized he wanted to marry Meredith. He booked a table at a Japanese restaurant in Leeds and proposed to her “with a ring that I had bought. I think that she was somewhat surprised and didn’t say yes or no. She kept the ring for a couple of days, but didn’t wear it, and then she politely returned it to me.”

(p. 67) Mr. Kercher explains that naturally things changed between Lloyd and Meredith after that decision, but that Meredith was just being practical. “Despite her obvious affection for Lloyd….She still had her current year at university to complete, a year in Italy studying, and then a further year of her degree, before she graduated. She was simply being sensible.

Yet the two of them remained friends and a couple of weeks later in January 2007, Lloyd joined our family and Meredith in an Italian restaurant in Croydon to celebrate her 21st birthday. Stephanie had arranged a special cake with a photograph of Meredith as a one-year-old superimposed on it…”.

“Who would have dared to think that this would be Meredith’s last birthday?” writes Mr. Kercher (p.67).  In retrospect, it seems appropriate that the young man who admired Meredith so much at Leeds University and wanted to marry her, should be at her final life celebration.

***

We know that Meredith a few months later in August flew to Rome, on wings of hope and dreams. She went from there to the University for Foreigners in Perugia. She settled in to her first home in Italy, the Via della Pergola cottage. Even before that while still at a Perugian hotel she was calling Mr. Kercher “enthusing to us how beautiful the city was.” As was her habit, Meredith called Mr. Kercher every evening and talked about how she was getting on. She also called her mom and sister with frequency.

(P. 69) In one call she elaborated to Mr. Kercher about the Eurochocolate Festival that stretched “from Rocca Paolina to the Carducci Gardens, Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza IV Novembre.” Meredith was fascinated by the chocolate statues and sculptures and all the candies sold at the stalls.

At the end of the festival the chocolate statues were happily broken up into pieces and given to the public. Meredith had bought some of Mr. Kercher’s favorite chocolates to give to him when she returned to England a few weeks later for Arline’s November birthday. That trip never happened, as tragedy intervened.

***

Meredith met Natalie Hayward while in Perugia. Natalie had gone to study in Perugia “because I had heard that it was beautiful and romantically old, in addition to being quite international.” (p. 70) Natalie had been studying history and Italian at the University of Sussex. She had found an apartment in Perugia with a couple of Italian girls, and began studying at the University for Foreigners where she met Meredith and Amy Frost.

Natalie said, “Because the three of us were the only English students in the class, we became known as ‘Little Britain’.”

Natalie said, “I was so encouraged by the fact that Meredith accepted me, because I wasn’t a particularly confident person. But she was always texting me to come out with her and other people and trying to include me in things, which I appreciated.”

Despite a known tendency to be late for lectures, Natalie says that Meredith “was exceptionally good at taking lecture notes. You might not have thought it, but she worked so hard. I was jokingly jealous of her note-taking. The Italian lecturers would speak so quickly and be quite complicated, but Meredith could keep up with them.”

More accolades from Natalie, (p. 71): ‘Socially, Meredith was wonderful to be with. She was always smiling and making us laugh. She was never judgemental. And she and Amy would walk miles for a low-price meal!” Mr. Kercher earlier says that Meredith asked him to check on rental rates to make sure the deposits for the Pergola cottage were a normal rate. Meredith seems to have been quite thrifty and not one to squander her resources.

After Meredith’s murder, Natalie went back to England to finish her studies there. No doubt she was desolate at the loss of this kind and tender friend who had sincerely reached out to her.

***

Helen Power was another British student who met Meredith September 1, 2007 in Perugia. Helen had finished a language course and had one day to relax in Perugia before flying back to England for a couple of weeks. Amy Frost had invited Helen Power out to dinner and Meredith met them by the fountain in the center of town.

(P.72) Helen said,  “As it was too early for us to eat, we sat outside and enjoyed some aperitivi from the cake shop on the main street. I remember that Meredith said she had forgotten to pack socks and that she hoped her dad would bring some out when he came to visit. Despite being tired from travelling, she was chatty, friendly, always smiling and making witty jokes. You only had to meet Meredith once to be struck by her beauty, quick wit, and infectious smile.”

The three girls ate a huge dinner at Il Bacio restaurant. Later in September, Helen’s mother visited Perugia and was introduced to Meredith at Piazza Italia as they waited for a minibus. She said, “Meredith made a lasting impression on me as we chatted. Not only did she show a genuine interest talking to us but she was so bubbly and full of life…I was so pleased to think that Helen had met such a delightful girl to be friends with during her Erasmus year.” (p. 73)

Meredith even noticed that Helen had gotten her hair cut and mentioned it at the Erasmus welcome meeting. Helen said, “I was surprised that Meredith had noticed. I thought that it was extremely observant of her, as she had only met me once, three weeks earlier. But that was the kind of girl she was; always making time for other people and taking note of even the smallest things.” Later they went out to dinner and dancing. Helen says, “...no one could out-dance Meredith.”  (p. 74)

Halloween night immersed in parties and excitement was the last time Helen saw her. She said (p. 75), “At the age of twenty, it never crossed my mind that it might have been the last chance to see a friend again. Those first two months were such a wonderful and happy time and, although I didn’t know Meredith for very long, I shall never forget her, and I have learnt so much from {her being} such a strong woman…I make certain that I enjoy and appreciate life and those around me and, most importantly, smile.”


Saturday, October 26, 2013

John Kercher’s Excellent Book “Meredith” On Meredith’s Employer And Her Circle Of Friends

Posted by Hopeful





Robyn Butterworth who had also been at Leeds University with Meredith, went to Perugia and roomed with Amy Frost. Often Meredith would go to their flat for lunch. She “often brought a kebab with her, which we found amusing; she loved them.”

(p. 77)  “Occasionally, we would go to see a British film at the cinema, and the one in Perugia was like an old theatre, a lovely place.” Robyn Butterworth was in some of the same Perugia University classes with Meredith.

Only a few days before her death, Robyn said that “Meredith had been talking to me during our evening phone call about a university trip to Turin, and we discussed the possibility that she might be able to see the famous Turin Shroud. Unfortunately, she discovered that the trip was fully booked, and so she was hoping to get on the next one. Meanwhile, I was urging her to go to Venice…”

(p. 78) On the first night Robyn met Meredith in Perugia, she and Meredith and Amy who already knew Meredith went out for pizza. Robyn said, “I instantly warmed to Meredith and she was really amusing…She and Amy were the witty ones….In the evenings we would sometimes go to the Merlin Bar in Via del Forno, a place which was a cross between a pizzeria and a bar.”

“Pasquale Alessi, a co-owner of Merlin’s, has said: ‘Meredith was a really nice girl. She liked to go out with her friends. But I never saw her with any problems; never saw her drunk. She always liked to go out with Sophie and Robyn, but she would watch out for them.

“She was the careful one. ‘Now we have to go home,’ she would say, ‘as we have to get up tomorrow and go to class.’”

(p.78) Sophie recalled going to the main street cafes to have a coffee or chocolate with Meredith. “Meredith loved her chocolate,” Sophie said. “There was also a kind of refectory at the University for Foreigners where you could get cheap lunches.”

Mr. Kercher begins Chapter 4 of his book with the heading “The Investigation”. He outlines how difficult it was due to the language barrier and the far distance in England to get news of what was really happening in Perugia.

Their lawyer Maresca spoke on the phone to Stephanie Kercher who understood Italian, or the family had to talk to him using his interpreter. (p.81) We were also getting fragmented details on the Internet of events as they unfolded, but these were difficult to trust and we did not know where the truth lay. At this stage, most of the web information we could find came through translations of the Italian media, particularly the newspaper “La Repubblica”.

(p. 82)  “How had Meredith died? How had she been discovered? Who was responsible?” These were the questions that our family was debating. Though we lived apart, we spoke to each other every day, if not to keep abreast of new developments, then only so that we could share our utter disbelief that this had happened. At this stage, we didn’t realize that Meredith’s housemate Amanda Knox and her boyfriend were becoming the police’s prime suspects. All we could think of was, who would have done this terrible crime and why? Meredith was the last person in the world that anyone would want to harm. Everyone loved her.”

...“Perugia…had not seen a killing for more than twenty years,” so the small town of Perugia was equally in shock.

(p.88) Sophie Purton and Robyn got a call from the police and were told to meet the police at the university. In the early confusion and aftermath of finding Meredith’s body, the police were saying the murdered girl was Welsh. Sophie, Amy, and Robyn then were driven to the police station in a plain police car. “We still didn’t know where we were going and still didn’t know what had happened to Meredith. This was about 6 o’clock in the evening. When we arrived at the police station we were put into a waiting room. That was Robyn, Sophie, and me (Amy). Then Meredith’s housemate, Laura, walked in. She was crying.” They then realized it was their friend Meredith Kercher who had been murdered.

Monica Napoleone (p.89) testified of Amanda’s behavior at the police station, ‘Amanda had complained that she was feeling tired…I told her that she could go if she wanted to, but she said that she wanted to stay and wait for Raffaele. A few minutes later, I walked past a room…and I saw Amanda doing the splits and a cartwheel.’

Monica Napoleone continued, ‘She and Sollecito had had a bizarre attitude throughout the whole time. They seemed completely indifferent to everything. They were lying down, laughing, kissing, pulling faces at each other, and writing notes to each other. They were talking to each other in low voices for the whole time. It was impossible that they were behaving like this when a dead body was in Amanda’s house.” (p.89)

(p.90) Robyn said, “I remember how Amanda kept going on about how she had found the body. It was as if she was proud to have been the one who found it….When I went into the waiting room, Amanda was talking at the top of her voice in English to everyone there.”

Later (p.92) Mr. Kercher describes how Amanda changed her stories and kept embellishing them with Patrick being the culprit and herself cowering in the kitchen. She said, “I coud hear Meredith screaming” in her written statement to police.

Amanda also said (p.92) about this scenario of her with ears covered in the kitchen: “These things seem unreal to me, like a dream. The truth is that I am unaware of the truth.” Then she goes on to say that she didn’t kill Meredith and adds, “In these flashbacks I’m having, I see Patrick as the murderer, but I do not remember for sure if I was at my house that night.”

The police then arrested Patrick Lumumba.

(p. 93)  “Back in England, this was the first big piece of news we had heard concerning the investigation…Pictures of Lumumba were being shown on television, and at our separate family homes we looked on in disbelief, not knowing whether to believe that we were seeing images of the man who killed our daughter. I spoke with Arline on the phone and neither of us could believe that we were looking at the killer. He did not look like a violent man…had short hair, ...a slightly plump face. I have never before had to question if I was looking into the eyes of a killer, and it struck me how normal he looked. He appeared to look confused when we saw film footage….I felt anger. ...Was this really the man who had taken Meredith’s life away?”

(p. 94) Lumumba told police he had never been to the house where Meredith lived. “I only saw Meredith about four times…” he said. “I had told her to come to the bar on the Friday where we could make her special mojitos”. It seems Meredith had spoken about making mojitos for the bar owner in an evening phone call to her dad. She had some bar experience and Mr. Kercher says “she could make wonderful mojitos. In fact, she knew how to make about twenty different cocktails.”

Lumumba pled with police that he was not the killer, that “It’s not true what Amanda says, that I wanted to be with (Meredith).... I shut the bar… I went home.”

“Suspicious of the conflicting stories being told to them by Sollecito and Knox, requests for their arrests…were made. Until this point, Knox and Sollecito had been regarded as ‘witnesses’....Five days after the horrific killing, Judge Claudia Matteini granted the request for their arrests…” (although they were not yet officially charged with murder but held as flight risks, while Lumumba was already being held.

The Kerchers were now being made aware that not only had Meredith been killed, but subjected to a sexual assault. (p.95) “It felt as if, with every news report or detail that was coming out of Italy, things were becoming more and more terrible. That Meredith was gone was tragedy enough…”

Two weeks later Lumumba was released by Mignini for lack of evidence. Lumumba said, (p. 97) “I believe that Ms Knox had the idea of implicating me when we had met outside the University for Foreigners…. I had been discussing with one of the university teachers whether I woud be a suitable person to act as a translator for reporters from Britain, who did not speak Italian. At this moment, I saw Amanda arriving and I asked her if she liked the idea. She said, “No” and went off smiling. Perhaps that was the moment when she decided to land me in it.”

(p. 97) “I think that Amanda wanted to derail the investigation. That’s what I think, ” said Lumumba. “she must have realised that the investigation was leading to her and thoguht that, if she mentioned me, then the investigators’ attention would shift to me.”

“I can tell you that she wants to be the centre of attention. I think that she is a person capable of doing anything to be in the spotlight.”

Lumumba said, “Amanda hated Meredith because people loved her more than Amanda. She was insanely jealous that Meredith was taking over her position as Queen Bee.” (p. 98)

(p. 99) The Kerchers begin to learn about Amanda Knox’s “double life”. Clint Van Zandt, who had been a long-serving employee of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, told NBC News’s Dennis Murphy: ‘Realise that this is a woman wearing two masks. One mask is Amanda the good girl, in a Catholic school, an athlete, does what her mother says. And then you’ve got the other mask that, when she gets to Italy, it’s “I’m going wild. I’m having fun. This is where i sow my wild oats.”

(p. 100) The double life of Raffaele Sollecito begins to reveal itself. Not only is he the quiet bespectacled student with a privileged background and prominent family with medical doctor father, but he describes himself as “sweet but sometimes absolutely crazy” on social networking sites, and posts photos of himself holding a meat cleaver. Police later find a collection of Japanese manga comics, some of which depicted acts of extreme violence. “One, which attracted particular attention, was concerned with the killing of female vampires on Halloween. It was not lost on police that Meredith had been dressed as a vampire to celebrate Halloween only one night before she was murdered, and they later went on to say that the scene they discovered at the cottage was reminiscent of the scenes depicted in Sollecito’s comics. Upon learning this, we could not help but wonder if Meredith’s murder had been premeditated….”

(p. 102) The Kerchers learn of a fourth suspect, Rudy Hermann Guede. He had arrived in Italy from the Ivory Coast in 1992 at age 5. His father had left him alone in Italy and returned to Africa when Rudy was 15. Mr. Kercher quotes the wealthy Italian, Paolo Caporali, who had taken Rudy in like an adopted son and tried to help him for years. “I thought that I could help him build a future, but I realised that I had made a mistake. He was a tremendous liar…”

Rudy fled toward Mainz, Germany when police detained him and extradited him back to Italy. It seems Rudy’s German stay along with Amanda’s German visit and Raffaele’s time in Germany as student were all scenes of foolishness and curtailed.

” All these events had been unfolding as we waited in England for the return of Meredith’s body.”  (p. 107)


Sunday, October 13, 2013

More About Meredith With Thanks To John Kercher and Stephanie

Posted by Hopeful




First, the letter in Italian from Stephanie to Judge Nencini at start of appeal.

Dear Dr Nencini,

We have talked a lot in our family in order to come to make the difficult decision not to come to Italy for the beginning of the trial. My mother is in dialysis three times a week and this has an enormous impact on her health. My father has had two strokes in the past. This period is particularly stressful for us all and we desperately want to discover the truth and find justice for Meredith, who was taken away from us so brutally and unnecessarily. We have thus decided to support each other in the family here in the UK and to follow the trial from here, keeping close contact with lawyer Francesco Maresca and his colleagues.

We are confident that the evidence will be re-examined and that all the other requests for tests will be allowed, so that all the unanswered questions may be clarified and that the Court may decide on the next actions in this tragic case. These have been the six most difficult years of our lives and we want to be able to find a conclusion and remember Meredith as the really marvellous girl who she was, rather than remembering the horror associated with her.

It is a continuous battle every single day, struggling with our emotions, happy memories and desperately sad ones, and the only way in which our pain and suffering can at least begin to to be alleviated is to come to a clearer understanding of the tragic events of November 1st, 2007. Nothing can bring back our beautiful Meredith, and we keep her in our hearts always and in our memory, but we need to know what happened and she deserves at least the dignity of the truth.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Kercher and Family

Second, more on Meredith from John Kercher’s fine book.

Italy had always been important to Meredith. Her Italian teacher from senior school, Lucia Mazzeo, remembers how much Meredith enjoyed learning Italian, right from the start of her lessons in Year Nine. She was already good at French—in fact Mrs. Mazzeo had noticed that both Stephanie and Meredith seemed to have a natural flair for languages—but Meredith had quickly shown a delight in Italian culture and language.

A year after beginning Italian, at the age of fourteen, the school organized a two-week exchange visit with Taddeo da Sessa school in the town of Sessa Aurunca, in the southern Italian region of Campania.  Built on the southwest slope of an extinct volcano, fifty miles from Naples, it is a beautiful, quintessentially Italian town, and has the ruins of a bridge with twenty-one arches and a Romanesque cathedral. The girls were to stay with Italian families whose daughters attended the Taddeo da Sessa school.”


Isn’t it wonderful how many rich experiences Meredith had in her young life? She seemed to cram a lifetime of treasures into a few years. Mr. Kercher goes on to say on Pages 50 and 51,

Mrs. Mazzeo noticed how quickly Meredith fitted in, getting on well with Italian staff and students alike. ‘They clearly feall in love with her smile, good nature and sparkling personlity,’ she told me. ‘Her sense of humour was a factor too…..

As part of this trip, and a subsequent one three years later, Meredith and her school travelled along the beautiful and picturesque Amalfi Coast. (oh, I am a bit jealous, having never seen Amalfi Coast.)  They also travelled to Monte Cassino and to Rome, where Meredith’s time management skills were put seriously to the test, fitting in visits to the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Forum and the famous Fontana di Trevi.” Yes, Meredith threw a coin in the fountain to assure a return trip to Rome!

The party of English and Italian students, with extra friends, staff and even some parents, also visited Pompeii on their final full day in Italy. Pompeii was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79….It is a powerful place for anyone to visit, and it had a special meaning for Meredith because she knew Arline had done restoration work there in her youth.” (So I’m assuming Arline worked on archaeological sites?)

The spectacular Caserta Palace, with its wonderful symmetrical gardens and 1,200 rooms, built for the Bourbon kinds in the eighteenth century, also impressed her (Meredith). Italy was everything that Meredith had expected it to be.

These exchanges were more than just sightseeing holidays: they gave the girls a real experience of Italian life. For two days on each visit, they became pupils at the Taddeo da Sessa School, where they were expected to attend lessons with their Italian partners, and even participate in sporting activities and drama presentations. Many of the girls bonded with their host families and for Meredith it was a transformative experience.


Mr. Kercher next relates Meredith’s almost precognition that Italy will have immense meaning in her life. Page 52:

Mrs. Mazzeo tells a story that I find very poignant. ‘What I shall never forget,’ she goes on, ‘was the departure day from Italy, on Meredith’s first trip to Sessa when she was fourteen years old. Almost all of the girls on the coach were crying. This was a difficult moment every year on these trips, as after being a part of someone’s family for so long, saying goodbye was not easy.

Yet we all noticed that Meredith was smiling. She didn’t seem to be sad at all. I told her that she had the right attitude. Her reply was remarkable: “After this experience,” she said, “I know that Italy is going to be a part of my life for ever. I’m not sad because I’m coming back this summer and, some day, when I’m older, I know that I am going to live here.


During the following summer Meredith went back to Italy at age 15 with a school friend. She went back to stay with the same host family, She was truly in love with Italy, and at the most impressionable age. Page 53:

When she was in Year Thirteen, the modern languages and music departments at the school collaborated in a cross-curricular activity called “Light and Dark”. This was intended to celebrate the music and poetry of the respective languages studied at the school. The Italian Department contributed with three readings from Dante’s “Divine Comedy”.

Meredith was due to read one extract only, in Italian, from “Paradiso”. But a younger girl, who was to deliver the “Purgatorio” reading, had a panic attack a few minutes before she was due to read, and so was unable to participate. In a very calm way, Meredith took over this reading and read it perfectly, without any practice at all


Later Mrs. Mazzeo lost the script of these readings, but five years later only a few weeks after Meredith’s death, she found the script and said that reading Dante’s “Paradiso” brought her comfort during the most difficult moments following Meredith’s tragedy.

It has been fun reading about Meredith’s work to promote Lynx products (she got part-time jobs to pay for schooling at Leeds and joined a couple of promotions agencies, one of which later liked her photo and got her the part in the Leontiou music video). They also got her a job at Gatwick Airport helping passengers find their gates for departure.

One day she politely asked some big rugby players to move so passengers could have access. When they ignored her she “laid into them verbally and onlookers were amused to see the musclebound sportsmen suddenly remember their manners.” (page 45)

Meredith was kind, but she was no coward.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Excerpts From John Kercher’s Fine Book “Meredith” #1 Including Her First Happy Ventures To Italy

Posted by Hopeful





This is a series we will continue throughout appeal to keep front and center who the real victim is here.

John Kercher in the foreward to his book, “Meredith”, said it had not been an easy book to write, but…“I hope it is a portrait of which she would have been proud.” Mr. Kercher has painted an excellent portrait, not only of “the enchanting, generous, kind person that Meredith really was”, but of a happy and vibrant family who showed Meredith all the joys of living during her 21 years.

Meredith’s love affair with Italy started at age 1 1/2 years old when Arline and John took her to Rimini which is north-east of Perugia on the Adriatic coast. That was the family’s first visit, and they pushed her and Stephanie through the streets in a double stroller (pushchair).

Then when Meredith was 8 years old, they returned to Rimini for another holiday and “she was much more aware of the place…. She was extremely amused at the way the Italian waiters always offered her and Stephanie the menu before the rest of us and treated them like young ladies rather than children. The waiters would often wink at us as they went about this sophisticated routine.”

Meredith was awed by real Italian pizza, “amazed at how the cooks made them in wood-fired ovens and retrieved them with long poles.”

(Page 17) “All of this must have made a big impression on her, because when she entered senior school at the age of 14, she elected to study Italian, and later went on to study the language at Leeds University.” (She also knew French.)

(Page 32) “what a happy child she had been”. She and Stephanie as children would open Christmas presents by the fireplace “in one of the living rooms in our old house in Coulsdon.” Mr. Kercher said “I would pull some ash into the fireplace and draw small footprints with my finger to show that Father Christmas’s boots had landed there as he climbed down the chimney. Meredith and Stephanie would put out a glass of sherry and a mince pie for him—” and even a carrot for the reindeer.

(Page 33) Meredith was born in London at Guy’s Hospital on a freezing cold day. Mr. Kercher driving to the hospital with the older children (ages 9, 7, and 2 at the time) found his car’s radiator frozen and had to abandon it for a train at Purley to take them to the hospital, where he warned the nurses she would be born within 20 minutes of Arline starting labor. He was right. She weighed only 4 lb. 12 oz and he could almost hold her in one hand.

Meredith loved winter “especially when it snowed and she could get her plastic sledge out and whizz down the slope in the garden, or make a snowman. Nor did she mind occasionally walking the mile uphill to school with her mother, beside three-foot snow drifts when it was impossible to drive her there. Or we would go to a large open area in Old Coulsdon called Happy Valley, a park with 1,500 acres of snow that Meredith loved to play in.”

(Snow fell in ethereal tenderness in the Kristian Leontieux music video “Some Say” as Meredith appears in the video.)

Careful to give Meredith a chance at some warm weather birthdays not possible on December 28th, her mom and dad would arrange an event for her in the summer similar to Stephanie’s birthday, so that Meredith could also invite her friends for games in the garden. They also gave Meredith a bit more birthday attention at the New Year, so as a child she wouldn’t feel overlooked due to the Christmas celebrations. What caring parents!

Meredith loved bedtime stories and Mr. Kercher would oblige. He used to make up stories every night for her and Stephanie. “One was about Meredith going to a forest where she would meet a fairy. The fairy would spin several times, then there would be a flash of light and Meredith would be transported with the fairy into an adventure.” (Page 35) Once as he started the story, Meredith’s quick humor surfaced as he asked her what would happen next. “She was sick because she was dizzy!”

“Stephanie’s own story was about being transported on a bird’s back across forests and fields. There was never any jealousy or animosity between them. They would lie there listening and giggling or adding bits to the stories. They really got on well together, and even as they grew older they would share confidences, along with clothes and cosmetics.” (Page 36)

The stories had stopped when Meredith was about 10 years old, but at age 14 she still asked for them. Mr. Kercher was living separately then and he would go back to his flat and write her a story and read it to her over the phone. He made Meredith the central character and she wanted him to do it every day. “Even when I went to Spain for a week, I would write some of it on the beach and then call her from a payphone in the evening and read it to her. Eventually, it became a 60,000-word novel, which I gave to her. It is called “The Strange Case of Miss Carla”.

Mr. Kercher’s “Miss Carla” was based on a sweet elderly neighbor lady who lived next door. Stephanie and Meredith visited her often. They adored her. Her name was Muriel Babot and she would invite them in to do jigsaw puzzles with her or visit them and bring photographs for the girls to look at. Mrs. Babot’s son-in-law Paul was a steam railway enthusiast. He lived a few miles away and he had “transformed his garden” with miniature railway tracks that ran all around it, “with proper signals and lights.

He had several trains powered by steam, and he would sit on the engine and people could sit on the back.” Several times a year he would open it up to the public and invite other enthusiasts to bring their engines to put on his tracks. Mr. Kercher says, “We were always invited, and Stephanie and Meredith loved riding around the garden.” (Page 37)

“In the novel Miss Carla is quite a mystical character, and she travels through time, becoming younger as Meredith becomes older.” (Page 37)

As a child Meredith went to junior school at Keston in Old Couldsdon and then to the Old Palace of John Whitgift School in Croydon. She went on to Leeds University in Yorkshire and became an Erasmus scholar, then brushed up her Italian at Perugia’s University of Foreigners and then enrolled at the University of Perugia.

A two month happy beginning then ended in calamity, but I prefer the chapters in Mr. Kercher’s book that detail all the happy days, such as his taking a 15-year-old Meredith to shop at Selfridge’s on Oxford Street in London and laughing at himself for expecting her shopping spree to take only an hour. She shopped her heart out for four full hours while he finally waited on a chair, and after a respite for lunch, she wanted to return to shop for few more minutes which turned into another hour. It was her day and she loved all the beautiful fashions.

(Page 43) Mr. Kercher recounts another fruitful shopping spree when he took Meredith and Stephanie on the Eurostar to the French town of Lille. Meredith was about 14 and they lunched at a cafe when the girls discovered some clothes shops that sent them into serious retail therapy. They sent dad to the ATM to fund their whirlwind of buying and they all laughed when they had to pile all the coats, skirts, and shopping bags into a supermarket trolley to rush back to catch the Eurostar barely in time to return to England. He says they were all “laughing our heads off”.

Good times, good times! How refreshing to hear of the Kercher family’s good times! John Kercher has done the world a big favor by recounting them for us, and this excerpt is just a tip of the iceberg of Meredith’s many happy moments with a loving family.

The family loved the coast and Meredith did, too. “And as we were only a short drive from Brighton it was a place we visited regularly. Sometimes we had a picnic on the beach but at other times we would go to a restaurant that specialised in fish ‘n’ chips. Then there were the Lanes, a maze of narrow streets like a kasbah, filled with cafes, bistros and antiques shops. She was always fascinated by this place, and I often picture her there.”

*************

To help the hard-pressed family there is a link to the Meredith Fund in our left column


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Meredith’s Perugia #34: Startling Sights Of Italy As Selected By Video Editor Alessandro Belotti

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Exhausted yet?!!  Another in our video series of what Meredith could and should have seen. Same with everybody here if they possibly can.

We have had some readers curious as to the point of this series - until they themselves got to go there. THEN they saw what Meredith was forever stopped from seeing, and they started really watching.

Amateur editor Alessando Belotti put this YouTube together.  Italians have produced far more of these proud, adulatory videos than any other nationaility, go online and you can track down thousands.

Italian are lucky that they have so much to work with - huge history, culture and scenery; fashion, cars, food and wines, mountains, plains, and a coastline that is one of the longest in the world.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Meredith’s Perugia #12: A Colorful Event Right Now That Meredith Might Have Loved

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





The flowering of the sunflowers. Il girasoli.

They are flowering right now all around Perugia, and especially to the west in Tuscany.

If you are not pre-warned and happen suddenly on one of these fields, you can drive right off the road, the visual impact is so great!

Meredith missed ever seeing this beautiful sight, sad to say. But many of the foreign students from the university towns do go out to see.


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The City Of Perugia And Perugia University Award The First-Ever Meredith Kercher Scholarship

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Image above: Stephanie Kercher and Olivia Taylor with, center, the interpreter]


This post carried the announcement of the fellowship kindly created to honor the memory of Meredith.

Now the award today of the fellowship is widely reported in Italy where Meredith is still widely regarded as one of their onw with her fluent Italian, caring persona, and Mediterranean good looks.

This report is from the Gazzetta del Sud.

Perugia, June 4 - A British student on Tuesday received the first scholarship honouring Meredith Kercher from a fund set up in her name by the Umbrian city of Perugia and the university she was studying at when she was murdered in 2007.

“Meredith’s murder is a wound that will never be healed in the hearts of Perugians where Mez will always be, along with a sense of impotence at not having been able to defend her,” Mayor Wladimiro Boccali said.

Meredith’s elder sister Stephanie was on hand to see the honour go to London student Olivia Taylor at a ceremony with the mayor and the head of Perugia’s famous University for Foreigners.

“It’s the first time I’ve been here for a happy event,” Stephanie Kercher said [she speaks good Italian.] “Now I want to study to remember Meredith,” said Taylor, whose grant will help her learn Italian at the university attended by thousands of foreign students.

This, one of the many reports in Italian, is from Umbria 24.

“Without truth there can be no forgiveness, it is difficult to even talk about forgiveness when there is no truth” an excited Stephanie Kercher said, in Perugia this morning in the City during the delivery of the scholarship in honor of her sister Meredith, who was killed in Perugia in 2007.

She was speaking of the legal proceedings of Amanda and Raffaele. “It’s the first time I have come to Perugia for a happy event” said Stephanie, accompanied by the lawyers Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna. “I’m happy for Olivia, who will be here in Perugia, and I’m glad for a moment of happy memories of Meredith. “

The scholarship in memory of Meredith Kercher went to a London girl named Olivia Taylor, who had already arrived in Perugia to follow a two-month course of Italian at the University for Foreigners of Perugia at which Meredith Kercher studied. At the ceremony for the delivery of the award was the mayor of Perugia, Wladimiro Boccali, the rector of the University for Foreigners, Giovanni Paciullo, and the university president, Maurizio Oliviero. The award is for a two-month course in Italian contributed by the University for Foreigners, plus the outward journey and return to London which are paid for by the town, and accommodation in a university residence.

“Mez is forever in our hearts” the mayor said during the ceremony. “The murder of Meredith has left a wound that will never heal. Meredith will always be in the hearts of Perugians who have a sense of her powerlessness against her attackers and of her not being able to defend herself. I also want to thank the Kercher family for the dignity shown during all this tragedy and the kind words they have for our city”...

“I do not know exactly what to expect from the new legal process” said Stephanie. “We are still waiting for answers to questions that have not had any.” As for the book of Amanda Knox, when asked if she had read it, Stephanie Kercher said: “No, I have not read the book of Amanda Knox, and I do not read these books.”

The young Olivia Taylor hopes that this scholarship in honor of Meredith is “a matter of comfort for her family”.

Thank you, Olivia Taylor, for competing for and accepting the scholarship. If yoiu follow in the footsteps of Meredith you will go far, and the world will see a real difference.

There’s a note below the video on the context.



The images below are from the court sessions in October 2008 when Guede was sentenced and AK and RS sent to trial. This was the first time since Meredith’s funeral in Croydon that the family appeared in public, and the second time in Perugia.

Harrassment of the family by the Knox-Mellas PR shills and demonization of the prosecution and police were heading for a crescendo, putting great pressure on Meredith’s family. You can see some tension in their faces although as usual their stoicism was pretty amazing.

Curt Knox and Edda Mellas were in Perugia for those hearings, but they lurked uphill of the courthouse during the court sessions so that, as they admitted, they did not have to look Meredith’s family in the eyes.

TJMK came online a month or two before those hearings, essentially to help represent Meredith and her family in face of the horrific PR effort to disappear them and to bend by illegal means the trial or first appeal outcome.

This is the first time ever for a member of Meredith’s family to be in Perugia without a Knox, Mellas or Sollecito present and seeking the limelight.












Monday, April 15, 2013

Barbie Nadeau Interviews Meredith’s Mother On Her Continuing Hope For The Full Truth

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





From Barbie Nadeau’s interview with Arline by phone in the Daily Beast.

“It is always distressing to hear and read about the murder,” Arline told me by phone from England, where she lives. “We have to brace ourselves for another round of this nightmare.”

And yet, while at some level she is dreading the revival of the spectacle surrounding the case, she is also glad the pursuit of the truth is continuing. “We want justice for Meredith,” she told me. “We don’t want anyone who is innocent to go to jail, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions that seem to have been ignored in the last trial.”

Arline is invariably stoic, patient, and nice. But the outcome of the annulled appeal in 2011 which we now know was bent was a tremendous shock.

[After the 2009 trial Arline] Kercher went back to London to begin that painful journey. But that process was disrupted when Knox and Sollecito’s convictions were overturned on October 3, 2011. Kercher was back in the courtroom again that night. When the not-guilty verdicts were read, tears streamed down her face.

Now Kercher will have to wait once more. There will be at least two more verdicts before the nightmare is over””one by a new appellate court, which will reconsider the case, and another by Italy’s high court, which must sign off on the appellate court decision, or send it back to trial once again. As the next chapter of the case unfolds, she will have to relive the media show that tends to focus on Knox as the main character and her daughter as a bit player. She will again hear the gruesome details of her daughter’s horrible death. She doesn’t know how she will handle another cycle of trials, or if she will attend the next one.

The unfeeling Judge Hellmann spread the anulled appeal over a full year in 2011 with sessions only about every second Saturday to suit defense lawyer Giulia Bongiorno and her baby.

He did not give a second thought to the immense travel and cost difficulties of the Kerchers.  The new appeal could and should fit in a space of two weeks. Chief decider once Cassation sets the ground rules (due in writing any time in the next few weeks) will be Fabio Massimo Drago.

Dr Drago (at center below) is Tuscany’s chief judge.



Monday, March 25, 2013

After Bizarre Hellmann Outcome Hard Questions That Meredith’s Family Now Face

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Stepahnie Kercher at end of first appeal in late 2011 with Meredith’s second brother Lyle]


Judge Massei came out with a clear scenario for Meredith’s death after trial in 2009.

Judge Hellmann attempted to pick it apart but left no sensible scenario in its place. That is the toughest and legally most crucial argument of today’s prosecution appeal: that the 2011 appeal judges attempted to run a whole new trial - but essentially only listened to the defense.

In this context as Tom Kington reports the Kercher family lawyer in Perugia Dr Francesco Maresca has made this series of comments:

Francesco Maresca, a lawyer representing the Kerchers, claimed the acquittals of Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito were “defective” and “lacked transparency”, adding he was pushing for a retrial.

The appeal court rejected key evidence against Miss Knox and Mr Sollecito after ordering new expert analysis of traces of DNA found on a knife belonging to Mr Sollecito, and on Miss Kercher’s bra strap.

“There are many parts of the judge’s ruling that are defective,” said Mr Maresca. “For example, why did they only review those two bits of evidence? What about the blood in Miss Kercher’s bathroom and traces in the rest of the house?”

Mr Maresca also suggested the appeal court judge had buckled under pressure from supporters of Miss Knox in the US.

“There was a lot of external pressure and the judge showed a will from the start to acquit,” he said.

Dr Maresca also passes on a statement from Meredith’s sister Stephanie:

“We all still miss Meredith terribly… Unfortunately nothing will bring her back.”  Miss Kercher said her family continued to receive support from around the world and had set up a Meredith Kercher Fund to help pay their legal fees, adding the fund could be turned into a charity foundation when the case concludes in Italy.

“A beautiful young girl, my little sister, was taken from us far too soon in such a brutal way with too many unexplained factors,” she said.


Sunday, March 03, 2013

Meredith’s Europe #4: Despite Tough Times, An Often Whimsical Continent

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Sunday, February 03, 2013

Meredith’s Perugia #33: A Great Look Around Her Chosen Italy By Helicopter

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


 


Friday, December 28, 2012

Meredith’s 27th Birthday: Dramatic Ballet Dancing That As A Dancer Herself She Might Have Liked

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



A dance of driving passion and frustration. From John Neumeier’s Lady Of The Camelias. The music is by Frederic Chopin.

The dancers are Sue Jin Kang and Marijn Rademaker of the Stuttgart Ballet, the originating company. It was first performed in 1978, and is regularly offered now by the American Ballet Theater in New York.

The lady in fact is dying (of TB) but her suitor does not know that - she cannot bear to tell him and break his heart - and though he sees that she adores him, he cannot figure out why she won’t say yes.

There’d have been few dancers half a century ago who could hit this extreme physical and artistic peak. One of the most demanding pas de deux ever created, and demanding was what Meredith always liked.

And as you will increasingly see, it sure takes one bold girl…


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Meredith’s Perugia #32: The Historical And Cultural Center Of Perugia

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Everybody here knows that the center of Perugia is a walled plateau. If you’ve not yet been there, though, it might surprise you how high up it is.

Its great height really explains its existence. Above the mosquitoes and marauding bands. Its great height does not always come out in these videos. At a guess it is 1500 feet up. To get up there involves long fun zig-zaggy climbs up from the railway station area to the west or from the football stadium area to the south.

Hardly anyone arrives from the east or the north. To the east behind the court there is a long rather steep drop down and few roads could be built at the lowest levels. Perugia ends rather abruptly down there.

To the north below the sweeping view from Meredith’s window the two winding roads to the bottom of the deep valley through groves of olive trees and fig trees drop down for a very long time. It is difficult to build on those slopes. Perugia also ends rather abruptly down there.

Perugia is right at the center of the Apennnine mountains, which are slowly sinking and dividing out.  Perugia is strangely protected though. This makes it one of the most original old cities in Italy, one of the few where the tolls from natural forces have always been low and the ancient artistry remains.

Meredith knew all of this long before she got there. It was a place she was bound to love, and would have remained attached to for life.


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Increasingly Being Voiced That, In A Turbulent World, People Like Meredith Are Really Very Precious

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





The heartwarming outpouring over Meredith on the fifth anniversary of her cruel death suggest that her mark on the world will last.

Not that this would have made any difference to our pursuit of justice for Meredith, but we have long known that she was a high achiever with outstanding accomplishments already, and that her eyes were set on the European institutions in Brussels.

Meredith really hit the ground running in Perugia. She had dreamed of it for a long time.

She bonded immediately with her two nice Italian flaltmates, who were both working in town, and soon with the neighbors downstairs. Within days she had an “instant crowd’ of the girls from Leeds and other UK universities.

She liked the house, liked the clubs, liked walking Perugia, liked the culture and the fun festivals in Perugia. Her first encounters with her new boyfriend downstairs, an Italian musician, were said to be shy and sweet.

And she was focused and already working her tail off. She had won a well-funded Erasmus grant and although she wanted to work a little, she had no worries about money.

She arrived with an excellent command of Italian after two years of hard study at the European Studies school in Leeds, and at the Università  per Stranieri she was clearly going to excel.

She was also studying politics and economics at the main university, which was very close, and she seemed set to go very far. her eyes were already on the powerful international bodies in Brussels.

Judge Massei’s report is a brilliant piece of work by an amazing legal talent (Judge Massei is the top judge in Perugia and Umbria) and one gets the sense that he hit such a high plane as he was writing it as a tribute to Meredith. She deserved this, nothing less.

His report is now making many people say to themselves “how could this have happened?”  And also, what might have been”¦

We first received an in-depth portrait of Meredith in the excellent Darkness Descending by Paul Russell and Graham Johnson with Luciano Garofano. These paragraphs below are from our longer excerpt in 2010. 

When Meredith turned seven years old in 1992, Britain was in the grip of a recession. Croydon, however, still remained an unusually busy suburb of London. The town was a hectic meld of mini-skyscrapers, retail parks and giant housing estates, the rumble of the London A roads and M25 motorway never far away in the background.

Meredith was a busy, active child from an early age. She .went to ballet, liked reading, and was generally known for her all-round vitality. When she took up karate, unlike many kids, she stuck to it. By her early teens, she had attained her third belt.

Meredith inherited her father’s flair for the written word. At school she wrote poetry and her fiction compositions were highly thought of. But mostly, Meredith was known for her bubbly personality, and her sense of humour - she had an imaginative sense of the ridiculous, according to her family.

Meredith may have been educated at a £10,000-a-year private school but she wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her mother and father sacrificed almost all of their income and savings to give their youngest daughter, as well as her older siblings, the best education they could get…

Arline put her social life on hold. John chose to work instead of taking annual leave. His haymaking years iri Fleet Street were dedicated solely to putting his kids through school and university. He did well to keep the whole show on the road on a single freelancer’s wage, not only paying his own expenses in Croydon but also contributing to the upkeep of Arline and the kids at the old home a few miles south in Coulsdon.

[Below: a recent class at Meredith’s K-12 girls’ school in south London] 

Italians learned more about Meredith when one of her Perugiia friends, Samantha Rodenhurst, spoke on camera about their brief but affecting acquaintance in the Italian-TV report summarized here.

In 2010 and 2011 in British newspapers, Meredith’s father John wrote of Meredith here and here and here and finally in a long-awaited long-form book version here (US) and here (UK) and here (Italy).

Now in 2012 Meredith’s sister Stephanie (see the post below) and several more of Meredith’s friends have opened up to share the Meredith that they knew. This is from Monique Rivelland who was with Meredith at university both in Perugia and in Leeds.

[On arrival in Perugia] I set myself the task of learning to cook Italian dishes and once I had perfected the art of a good risotto I invited the girls over for dinner.

We sat around our table by the wooden shutters drinking local red wines, feeling wonderfully grown up.

We probed Meredith about an Italian boy she had started dating from the apartment below hers.

She was behaving coyly but she was the first of any of us to find romance, so we were intrigued.

The next week it was Halloween and two friends held a party.

I went as a black cat with an Afro and bow tie and we laughed all evening “” mostly at the food, which was disastrous.

The risotto looked more like rice pudding and Meredith was giggling as she held out a tray of burnt witch-shaped biscuits she had made.

That was the last time I saw her.

Monique writes of Meredith’s friends attending her funeral, and of the journey Monique has been making in the five years since, which seems to us similar to what some other friends of Meredith’s say they too have been through.

We know that Meredith, who was awarded a posthumous degree from the University of Leeds in 2009, accepted for her by Stephanie, was a lover of schools and learning.

She helped tutor her friends at the Old Palace School of John Whitgift in Croydon. Their motto is The end crowns the work.  She encouraged the other students by her serious example but she also helped push them with their homework and tests, and volunteered from a generous heart. Both her south London school and Leeds University have offered commemorative services in past years.

The city of Perugia has on several occasions offered tributes to Meredith in ways that sound like Perugia wants to adopt Mez and make her an official Italian citizen, or a beloved unofficial citizen. The energetic and compassionate mayor Wladimiro Boccali and the city council now go further with a two-month fellowship with full travel and accomodation to be offered annually to British students for a language course at Meredith’s language school. 

“I think Meredith should be considered one of us” Mr Boccali said.

[Below: click for a view of the complete notice of the Meredith fellowship Perugia offers]

And a commemoration mass for Meredith was held in Perugia Cathedral last Thursday. As Andrea Vogt reports:

The archbishop of Perugia Gualtiero Bassetti said Kercher will never be forgotten in the small hilltop city of Umbria calling her murder “a wound in the conscience of the religious and civic community which has not yet healed.” Bassetti said Kercher will “be in my prayers” for the Nov. 1 “ Day of the Dead,” which is marked in connection with Italy’s Nov. 2 “All Saints Day” honoring the deceased. He urged Perugians to pray for her as well.

Perugia’s prayers for Meredith are a reminder for all those who followed the divisive case ““ no matter who they thought was guilty or innocent -  to pause for a moment to reflect on the promising, well-liked young woman who died so tragically and prematurely five years ago today, in a city still haunted by her memory.

And may the fine principles that Meredith passionately stood for continue to be so passionately espoused.


[Below: the interior of the cathdral of Perugia where a mass was offered last thursday]


Monday, November 05, 2012

Suggested Memorial Videos From Followers Of Meredith And Her Case In Several Countries In Europe

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Gocce Di Memoria by Giorgia

A song for someone much missed. In English Drops of Memory also known as Le Mie Stanze Vuote or My Empty Rooms


Canzone Per Un’Amica by Francesco Guccini


You’ll Never Walk Alone by André Rieu and soloists


Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess by pianist Elena Kuschnerova


Hallelujah Lyrics by Kate Voegele


And Perugia in the mist - posted several times in the past


Friday, November 02, 2012

Among Those Videos Suggested To Be Added To Our Memorial Videos Page

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Sov Gott (Sleep Well, in Swedish) by the American singer Jewel

 


Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Requiem That The Choir Of Meredith’s School, Old Palace School, Sang For Her

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

The Gregorian chant In Paradisum. This is the version by the English boys’ choral group The Choirboys which is many people’s favorite

 


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Invitation To Nominate Musical Videos On The Fifth Anniversary Of Meredith’s Passing

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Above: the Kristian Leontiou musical video “Some Say” featuring Meredith which we first posted 40 months ago,

The first of November is the fifth anniversary. Nominations of any new videos for our Memorial Videos page would be welcome, perhaps with a few words to her family explaining why Meredith’s memory still moves you.


UK Cosmpolitan Magazine Rightly Names Stephanie Kercher As A Woman Of The Year

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





We posted Stephanie’s Open Letter about herself and Meredith back in November 2011.

This much deserved award is widely reported in the UK. Good interview by Rosie Mullender in Cosmopolitan and she indicates that another longer one is to come.

When we met near our offices, I was nervous ““ Meredith’s death would obviously be a devastating subject to talk about, and I wasn’t sure how Stephanie would deal with being asked about what happened.

But as soon as I met her, I relaxed. Stephanie is warm, open and friendly, and her face lights up every time she talks about her sister. As she told me all the wonderful things she remembered about Meredith ““ her smile, her laugh, the way she’d help anyone with anything ““ she couldn’t help laughing herself.

And good photos and another report in the Daily Mail.

Celebrating the ‘resilience and strength’ she has shown in supporting her family, the 29-year-old will receive the Ultimate Editor’s Choice accolade at the event, which celebrates the year’s most inspirational figures.

Cosmopolitan editor Louise Court said: ‘Since the death of her sister, Meredith, five years ago, Stephanie remains an inspiring figure of strength and support…

‘Most impressive of all is her single-minded desire to ensure her sister isn’t forgotten and to make sure her personality shines through any projects she undertakes…

‘A devoted daughter and sister who has shown extraordinary courage and love in the most difficult circumstances, Stephanie is fully deserving of her award and we are delighted to celebrate with her tonight.’

Stephanie will receive her award at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday evening, with the likes of Jessica Ennis, Kimberley Walsh and Alesha Dixon also set to be in attendance.

[Below: Stephanie Kercher leaves Perugia Dec 2009 after trial when family was relieved to think it was all over]

[Below;Stephanie at the press conference before the disputed Hellmann-Zanetti appeal verdict]


Saturday, September 01, 2012

My Rock Tribute To Meredith And Her Family And How It Came To Be

Posted by Timo Rusanen



Meredith’s message seems to me one of universal love, of getting along to help to make the whole planet better. As with others I know of mixed race, she seems to have been extremely smart, very ambitious in a broad selfless sense, upbeat and positive and funny, and I would imagine a very fair and loyal person to get to know. It seems to me she was a popular and charismatic leader, without ever really trying.

What is so interesting to me is that her life and adventurous and positive attitude are becoming something of a universal beam of hope. See the female voice that comes through in the book “Meredith” that Mr. Kercher wrote. Her life and intentions have become something of a universal good example and should become more-so as the years move on.  Maybe there will be more movies and books and poems and songs inspired by her, as well as websites like this which for the support of victims and their families and friends are so badly needed now.

I hope that no-one has been made scared now to go abroad or mix with others for any reason if they do want to go. Meredith followed her life adventure and loved travel and mingling with people not necessarily like herself, and so should we all.

I have sung and played rock music since my teens. I started playing the guitar and began to sing at an early age. I once had a high school rock band in the United States when I was a student there. I now have a band in Europe here and we continue to cut records.

I have lived outside Finland for most of my life. It turned out that I have something of a gift for languages and speak a few very well. My M.A.degree is in English philology, literature and philosophy, and I also did American studies while living in Berlin, at the John F. Kennedy Institute of the Free University of Berlin.

I have lived in the United States which I love. I was at high-school near Cincinatti there. I found New York City is great fun and has a certain kind of European feel to it. Los Angeles has another feel to it, more like the wild wide America of the west, yet at the same time it is on the Pacific coast where you can feel closer to Hawaii and Japan. Many Mexicans are there too. Hola, que pasa?! Funny people, Mexicans, I found them nice. People seemed mostly friendly in Los Angeles and the House of Blues is a great venue for rock music, I saw a great concert there.

My so-called American parents are not living anymore but I was close to them and I communicated with them until shortly before they sadly passed away, within some 4 years of each other. My own mother also passed away just before that, and two other relatives also passed away then. We had 3 funerals in 4 months at the time when my mother died, so I know about sadness and loss.

While I was there at school a friend of mine was shot to death by his so-called friends. Shot as if it was a sort of pass-time, just fun because they had the gun. I went to the funeral, and it was surreal and sad beyond words. There he was in the open coffin and we his school-friends were there grieving, trying to understand. Meredith’s funeral must have been extremely sad as well. Nothing is sadder than the funeral of a very promising young person who died an unnatural death.

I have lived in Germany. If you want to take care of some work matter fast, do it with Germans. But don’t work with them for a longer time, you may never understand German logic! Overall Germans are almost surprisingly polite and nice. Hard working people. They achieve a great deal.

I was also in England. London is a great dream-like city of the world. Meredith got to know it very well well herself, not only growing up there but in her tourist-guide job in the historical parts of the city. If you go to London you can encounter smart funny people not unlike her.

I was also in France. The French are great people and very nice. They certainly know fashion and fragrances. Life seems to be lighter in France. The French seem to float upon life, it’s like there’s only one life so c’est la vie! The French smile a lot. They seem very aware of little things too, like how to make even their mundane experiences interesting or nice. The Parisian arrogance seems to make Paris what it is and some people seem to belong totally to Paris, it is hard to imagine them somewhere else. If you meet French people in their homes, they really make you feel at home.

Have you ever seen Paris from the Eiffel Tower at night in the summer in warm weather? The lights of the city from there? Try it, its awesome! It’s almost an aeroplane-like view. Paris has an ancient Europe touch to it, there are some ultra modern things and yet at the same time you can feel something from the Middle Ages in parts of Paris.

Also I was in Sweden. I used to know many Swedish-speaking people so I know Swedish rather well. I have worked in Stockholm for a while years ago and played some music there. Swedes are nice people for sure.

I was also in Italy. I would love to see Rome again. Everyone I know loves Italy and Rome. Years ago I went to Rome, Milan, Venice, Naples, and the deep south of Italy too. I met Italians who invited me into their home to eat spaghetti and it was noisy and fun. I have never yet been to Perugia though. To me Italy is mystical and even mythical. There was an Italian TV series called “Il segno del comando” a long time ago playing in Europe. I watched it and it made Italy seem very exciting. Someone ought to make a great movie on the basis of that TV series. I can see why Meredith loved Italy. The Italian way of life is really cool and nice.

I was in Somalia in north Africa on and off for a long time. My parents worked in Somalia for 10 years. Somalia had been a colony of Italy, so I met some Italians there while I was visiting. Also some Italian girls with their families there, they were great fun and very pretty. Some Somalis know the Italian language. The war in Somalia ended all development work there. Canadians, Belgians, Dutch, English, Americans, etc, were all working there, as well as Scandinavians. Sadly, they all went away when the war began.

I helped my father to build a school for crippled children with some Canadians in Mogadishu which is the capital of Somalia, People were doing great work there and were disappointed, the Scandinavians especially disappointed, when the war ended those good projects. I played a gig there with Somali African musicians outside a city in a desert bush area. The dance-hall was like from some movie.  There were ostriches running around there by the hall, long white curtains in the wind by high open windows and doors in that clean nice dance hall. Hundreds of people were there. One of the nicest gigs I ever played.

Meredith could well have worked in Somalia later in some task, supposing the war ever ends some day.Had Meredith lived, she could have helped a lot organize the recovery. The Italian language is still needed in Somalia a bit in that work, and her education might have been suited in general for some vital task there in development work.

I met people from India and Pakistan though I have not yet traveled there. They have a lot to teach us over-busy Europeans and Americans. Indian and Pakistani people have ancient wisdom and cultures and despite appearances from affair they are naturally peaceful people. If you meet them in Europe, they stand out for their calm. Indian and Pakistani women are among the most beautiful women in the world, their women do tend to be. Meredith was said to be very eye-catching in a way that her photos dont quite convey.

I found it very fulfilling making this track above. I cant do too much to make it all come right, but I can do this. I think about making more records, it’s easy to plan but to make a record is hard, another thing. I am not looking for a recording deal due to my other career, but if a record label VIP liked my stuff, my songs in general and the Meredith songs, I would of course not say no. This song was made in the studio of Gerald Klöpfer. He owns his own coolly-decorated recording studio. If I get the chance to travel to his studio again and if Gerald has the time, I would go back there and work more. Gerald is pretty good in his craft.

I have always been strongly averse to violence, by anyone against anyone for any reason. I will go to the refresher course of the army in Scandinavia if they call me, as the army is about protection and existing as a frontline unit of a society, not about violence as such. But think of this: Suppose there was a war, any war in any country, and nobody went to fight in such a war. No armies would be needed anymore. Violence is not good for anything.

A long time ago in Scandinavia some guys in a certain city tried to beat up myself and my band members using baseball bats. Police had to line-up as a sort of passage-way for us to get out of the dance-hall after the gig and into a car. It remains unclear why that happened. Maybe there was some kind of jealousy about our band being the ones asked to play.

During my student days in Finland I was attacked in my student dormitory room. Two guys came at me with kitchen knives, after they knocked on my door. I had never seen them before, and they tried to stab me with the kitchen knives. I fought them off. Police could not have done anything, I think, so I did not report it though maybe I should have anyway. The attack was planned by an ex-girlfriend, it seems she and her new boyfriend planned it and sent the guys, organized them, and paid them. The attack was a bit similar to the way that the knife attack on Meredith happened.

I still worry over the ex-girfriend, she actually swore that she will kill me in one way or other. I happen to know this for sure as she told me at the end of our relationship: “You will not live a long time.” She tried to stop my outside activities and slow my whole life, even my music playing. I suspect it all started because the love went bad and she wished she had gone earlier into a relationship with another guy and it seemed to her too late then. I should have ended it before all this happened but I did not get the picture right away.

I love to be with women, they are so cool and wonderful to be with usually, they are simply heavenly to share the world with. It always amazes me that people try to win by hurting each other mentally or physically. It always amazes me how people have to prove themselves and feel better than others due to envy, violence, or mental or physical cruelty. If people have to live together in dormitories, sometimes they will get into arguments about trivial matters and act foolish. The badness of some people always amazes me and upsets me when I think about it.

Marriages fail, friends betray you, your girlfriend betrays you, you might have to end a relationship because it has gone bad, it can not be repaired. People then act hurtfully far too often. But then on some other days you meet good people and that makes you feel quite alright. While Meredit’s death was a shock, I saw right away how such cruel things can happen even between university students in thier home. We do not yet know exactly what happened and I feel sad for her and for her family for still not knowing about it all.

Your friends pull you down, often your friends pull you down. Sometimes strangers too. We shouldn’t let them.  People say we have to help others, we do have to help others, but first and foremost we must take care of ourselves. To make our own journey. Sometimes you also meet people who radiate goodness, there are also good people in the world. Those people can make you feel there is a good purpose. Meredith had a good purpose: universal love and being positive and making a difference in the world. Isn’t that something we are supposed to remember every day in our lives?

Meredit’s message of all of us getting along and working for all is growing now in the world, and hopefully it will go on forever. We should remember her family always. They worked hard to help her become what she was, and we should send them our good thoughts and blessings. Only they know the true pain of it and how much was lost to the world.

Don’t ever forget Meredith or what happened to her here. As her sister Stephanie mentioned, the true victim of the incident has already been forgotten sometimes. Her legacy matters, and here I have tried to play my part.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Meredith Would Have Been So Proud Of The Beautiful Smart High Achieving Olympics In Her Home Town

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



So we are being told by those who knew her.

She would have been so proud, with the sheer diversity oif the show, with more nations than ever winning medals even though so many of them are on shoestring budgets, with the UK medal count third in the golds and fourth overall.

With all the women athletes on the tv screen seemingly for more than half of the time - the first Olympics where men and women had an equal number of events. And with audiences that went wild with applause over great performances quite regardless of where they were from.

She would have been so impressed with the amazingly smooth management, the diversity of venues picked in part for their sheer beauty, and the giant high-tech disco that was the Olympic Arena in the awesome opening and closing ceremonies.

And she would have laughed too. The British as usual were very funny. Meredith had a much exercised sense of humor. She would have seriously cracked up at the secret agent queen.

We could see where Meredith was born, in many of the aerial shots of London - in the lively cultural neighborhood right behind the London Eye, the giant ferris wheel on the south bank - before her family moved south to outer London. 

Asking around what would have appealed the most to her, we are told: “Of the events probably the gymnastics and the Tai Kwon Do, and also the equestrian events. And of the music at the closing, probably the Spice Girls and Brian May of Queen”.

No good video yet of Brian May and the late Freddie Mercury (whose origins also were in exotic India), but take it away, Spice Girls! Top: the UK TV version. And here: German TV with sharp sound.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Meredith’s Leeds #3: Where The High-Achieving Meredith Spent Several Very Happy Years

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


There are many more videos about Leeds University posted here. Meredith posthumously received a degree from this fine university (collected for her by Stephanie) which is generally rated as on a par with the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London and at least as serious. When she arrived in Perugia she hit a flying start and was already near-fluent in Italian.

 


Monday, May 21, 2012

My Review Of John Kercher’s Great Book “Meredith”

Posted by Jeffski1




Having just recently finished reading the excellent book by John Kercher “Meredith” i felt compelled to write a review.

From the start as John describer’s the first phone call he received while in a bank, that a young English woman in Perugia had been found murdered, to the desperate hours waiting for information regarding the identity of the victim, to the realisation that it was in fact Meredith, you can feel the pain and the despair in his words.

This book takes you on an emotional roller coaster of a ride, from laughter at some of the antics Meredith got up to as a child, to the chilling account of her brutal murder, then again on to the many personnel messages that John prints at the end of the book.

Messages from complete strangers to the family, a heart warming message the family received from a American woman, that will leave you in tears. And the many accounts of the lasting impression Meredith has left on all who had the pleasure to meet her.

You read for yourself how very close Meredith was to her whole family, that she worried constantly about her mother Arline’s health, that she kept in daily contact with her mother, how very close she was to her sister Stephanie, and that smile, that beautiful smile that we have all come to recognise and be ever so familiar with.

The bubbly out going personality, the witty intelligent young woman that John so proudly describes. It is so very very hard to understand, as John puts it, how anyone could do harm to such a person.

One of the things i found quite heart-warming and funny was that Meredith was always running late. As John puts it it was her trademark, when reading this you can imagine her running around in a mad rush.

The book covers quite extensively the trial, the verdict and also the appeal. You get a true feeling of all the pain, the agony, and the difficulties the family had, not only with there unbearable loss, but also their failing health, the long painful trips to Italy for the court hearings, John lays it all out.

It is a testament to the family’s steely determination for justice for Meredith, what they have had to endure over the last 4+ years. It is at times heart breaking to read, but also you will be so pleased to read thing’s about Meredith that have never been printed before.

Thank you, Mr Kercher.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Touched Me In John Kercher’s Excellent And Very Moving Book “Meredith”

Posted by Cardiol MD




Meredith

Our daughter’s murder and the heartbreaking quest for the truth

[Kindle Edition] John Kercher (Author)

Meredith Kercher was tragically murdered in November 2007, in Perugia, Italy. Since then, her murder and the subsequent trial have been a source of constant intrigue and media speculation all around the world, with the spotlight famously focusing on the accused, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Now, Meredith’s father John speaks out for the first time and tells the world about the beautiful daughter he and his family so tragically lost.

This book is a celebration of Meredith’s life. It is also a father’s story of losing a beloved daughter, and the first account of the torment the family have suffered and their ongoing quest for justice.

About the Author:  John Kercher has been a full time professional writer and journalist for more than thirty years, during which time he has published several thousand articles and interviews for the British and overseas newspaper and magazine markets. He is the author of The Film Biography of Warren Beatty and has written 24 children’s annuals and edited several magazines. He holds a BSc degree in Sociology from London University and lives in Surrey.



Look at that subtitle!  John Kercher is a wordsmith paterfamilias thrust into marshaling words to convey feelings ““ emotions ““ thoughts ““ experiences for which there are no adequate words.

A subtext, which Mr.Kercher addresses only briefly, is the opposing army recruited to marshal words of obfuscation, using bias, distortion, innuendo, deceit, imagined reasons-to-doubt, sheer-blind-ignorance, and outright lies to protect the obviously guilty from the foreseeable consequences of their criminal recklessness.

Key points that Mr. Kercher does address in detail are quoted below, using his balanced, descriptive, objective, fact-based, evidence-based, non-argumentative words.  To me his book is the very model of what such a family should convey in its heartbreaking quest for the truth. 

I have selected to highlight below the parts which to me were most moving. Others may choose differently and I hope they will, in the comments and their own reviews.

I have referenced the quotes by their Kindle-Location-Numbers, but the Chapter-Sources should be the same as those of a Print-Version:

1.    Learning that “It was the DNA found on and in Meredith’s body that convinced Italian police of Guede’s complicity in her killing. However, Guede’s lawyer at the time, Vittorio Lombardo, was quoted as saying: “˜We know about the DNA, “¦ But it does not mean that he is the killer.’  (Chapter 4 The Investigation: Kindle Location 1468-1469)

The author is establishing his tone of objectivity.

2.    Learning at Guede’s fast-track trial under Judge Micheli’ (which included a “pre-trial” of Knox & Sollecito), what a crucial part Meredith’s, Amanda Knox’s, Sollecito’s, and Guede’s DNA, and Footprints, played in the evidence surrounding Meredith’s murder. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 1816-1834)

The author shows that his thinking is fact-based, in spite of the emotional-price.

3.    Learning the evidence presented to Judge Micheli of the staged break-in of Filomena Romanelli’s room, where Meredith’s blood was found to have been cleaned-up. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 1834-1846)

Evidence-based, too.

4.    Being told of Judge Micheli’s receipt during Guede’s fast-track trial, of 10,000 pages of evidence, including the finding of Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 1959-1982)

The author reminds the reader of the enormous amount of information-in-evidence available to the Court, but apparently not available outside the Court.

5.    Hearing Judge Micheli’s announcement in Italian (which the family had to have painfully translated for them) ruling that Guede was “guilty of complicity in Meredith’s murder,” and that Knox and Sollecito would stand trial on charges of Meredith’s murder and sexual violation. (Chapter 6 Suspects: Kindle Locations 2009-2015)

The author reminds the reader of the foreign-language dimension of the family’s ordeal; note the carefully-quoted phrase “guilty of complicity”.

6.    Not attending the Perugia Trial of Knox & Sollecito, before a jury including Judge Massei, beginning in early 2009, because of its projected length, in the Italian language, which they would not completely understand, and would be too distressed-by if they could completely understand.  (Chapter 7 The Trial: Kindle Locations 2137-2148)

A reeinforcing reminder to the reader of the foreign-language, distant country dimensions of the familys’ plights.

7.    Learning indirectly of the overwhelming evidence against Knox & Sollecito introduced at their trial, including only, but also both, Meredith’s and Knox’s DNA on the alleged murder-knife. This cumulative evidence rested “˜not only on the DNA evidence and the alleged break-in, but also on the conflicting alibis of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, which had changed on several occasions.’ (Chapter 7 The Trial: Kindle Locations 2149-2647)

Note the persistent use of “alleged”, “conflicting”, and “changed”. If both Amanda’s blood, and Meredith’s blood were found on the knife, but only their blood, the Author leaves it to the imagination of the reader the shock to come when Hellmann announces his imagined-reasons-to-doubt.

8.    Testifying at the trial: Asked whether Meredith would have fought-back against her attackers Stephanie said: “˜Absolutely. One hundred and ten per cent. Mez had a strong personality and, physically, she was very strong”¦She fought for her place here and she would have fought to the end.’  (Chapter 7 The Trial: Kindle Locations 2525-2550)

John Kercher wrote that, in response to a question he was asked about Meredith:  “˜I also mentioned that when she was seventeen years old she had trained in karate for a year, obtaining her third belt and that if attacked she would definitely have fought back’, and,

“˜They asked me about whether she and Amanda had got on well, and I told the court that Meredith had often complained about Amanda Knox’s hygiene habits. At this point I looked towards Amanda, but once more there was no eye contact between us.’

The author quotes Stephanie’s testimony literally, but paraphrases his own with neutral words such as “mentioned”, and “told”. “often” is an understandable stretch, staircase-wit would substitute “repeatedly”, and “there was no eye contact” is powerfully descriptive.

9.    Not understanding the Verdict and Sentence when Judge Massei delivered his pronouncement “in an Italian I could not understand” but seeing the reactions of Sollecito, Knox, and her parents’ look of disbelief. (Chapter 8 The Verdict: Kindle Locations 2801-2805)

Still descriptive, and very powerful!

10.  Understanding from the interpreter sent by the British Embassy in Rome that the Massei Court had found Knox & Sollecito guilty of murdering their beloved Meredith and sentenced them to prison. (Chapter 8 The Verdict: Kindle Locations 2805-2810)

The author reminds reader how constantly the familys’ awarenesses are at second-hand.

11.  Reaching times for relief (KL 1731), exhaustion (KL 2831), for closure (KL 3728), and even for satisfaction, but not for elation (KL 2815), triumph or celebration(KL 2853).

Such balance!

12.  Reactions to the FOAK campaign from Seattle, the MSM one-sidedness, distortions and blind ignorance; the minor-celebrity status accorded-to Knox; internal family matters.  (Chapter 9 The Appeal: Kindle Locations 2946-3166)

Eminently-reasonable human-reactions.

13. Positive reaction-to, and understanding-of, Massei Report.  (Chapter 9 The Appeal: Kindle Locations 3167-3300)

Factual.

14.  Following from England the Appeal Proceedings before Judges Hellmann, Zanetti, and a 6-person jury. (Chapters 9&10: Kindle Locations 2946-3563)

Reminder of Family’s arms-length status.

15.  Reacting to Hellmann’s pronouncement that Knox & Sollecito were innocent, acquitted of Meredith’s murder, and walked free. (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Locations 3567-3573):

“I found the assertion that there had not been a simulated break-in astounding”¦”

16. (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Location 3632)

Human reaction.

17. ” Ever since the terrible day we learned of her death, my family and I have been convinced that more than one person had to have been present to overpower her.”  (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Location 3646)

Reminds the reader the family were convinced of this from the very beginning.

“For Judge Hellmann to refer to Knox and Sollecito as “˜two good youngsters’ sounds more like a defence summing-up, I thought “˜two youngsters’ would have been sufficient. (Chapter 10 Our Hope for Justice: Kindle Location 3656)

Judge Hellman completely forgot about the real victim.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Good Review Of “Meredith” By Ryan Parry In Today’s Edition Of The UK Mirror

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Click the image above for Ryan Parry’s full review. Excerpts here:

1. On Not Ever Wanting To Let Go

When heartbroken John Kercher wakes, he is greeted by a framed photo of his beloved daughter Meredith.

“It’s my favourite picture of Mez,” John says. “She has such a beautiful smile. It’s the first thing I see when I get up every day.”

The photo was taken a year before Meredith left for university in the Italian city of Perugia.

“When I see the photo it makes me smile, but also sad,” says John.

“I always think, why did it happen? Here’s this beautiful young woman ““ and I’m not just talking about looks ““ why would anyone want to kill her?”

2. On Why John Felt He Had To Write The Book

A book that John has written about Meredith was published on Thursday.

It details the painful court hearings but the main focus is the daughter he misses desperately.

“People have forgotten that a young girl has died,” he says.

Leeds University student Meredith ““ who was in Italy on an exchange programme ““ sparkles into life in the book.

John recalls the tiny baby who weighed just 4lbs 12oz. “I could practically hold her in one hand,” he says.

The dad adds: “People ask me, why when I talk about Meredith I always smile. It’s because she was always so witty and laughing.”

3.. And On The Highly Controversial Interim Appeal Verdict

“We’re still trying to make sense of it. It’s not as if someone broke in and killed her, there was no robbery or real motive,” John says.

He does not believe Guede acted alone. “Meredith had 47 bruises. Two knives were meant to have been used. Meredith did karate, for goodness’ sake.”

He adds: “We would never want innocent people put in prison.

“But when you’re presented with that whole body of evidence, by forensic investigators, and it is just overturned without question, it is very hard.”

The Supreme Court in Italy is now examining whether it was right to acquit Knox and Sollecito, with a decision not expected until the autumn.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Good Review Of “Meredith” By Barbie Nadeau In Tina Brown’s Influential “Daily Beast”

Posted by Peter Quennell





Click the image above for Barbie Nadeau’s full review. Excerpts here:

John Kercher writes in an easy, somewhat apologetic first-person voice, tucking in details about why Meredith chose to study in Perugia and how during a class trip in high school she decided she would one day live in Italy, a country she fell in love with as a young child when the Kerchers vacationed there.

He gives new details about Meredith that the press who followed the case never uncovered, including how Meredith’s former boyfriend Lloyd proposed to her in a Japanese restaurant shortly before she left for Perugia. She declined, but kept the ring for a few days before giving it back.

He also pays homage to each of Meredith’s close friends, both those from her hometown and those in Perugia, and describes in painful detail what it was like to read the cards on the flowers left in tribute both in Italy and England after her death.

But Meredith is more than memoriam; it is also a valuable textbook on the details of the criminal trial. Considering that he is writing about the murder trial of his daughter, Kercher manages to be surprisingly dispassionate when it comes to the evidentiary facts of the case….

In one of the book’s most heart-wrenching scenes, he describes the surreal night Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the murder and how the courtroom was silent when the judge read the guilty verdict. “I looked towards Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollectio: gone was the confidence and smile that Knox had displayed throughout the pretrial and trial.

Then, as the judge delivered his pronouncement, in an Italian I could not understand, I watched her collapsing forward. I saw her parents’ look of disbelief.”

Kercher also walks the reader through what their family considered the even more painful and confusing events that followed the guilty verdict, and how the American press and some British outlets embraced Knox’s claims of innocence during the appeal, sacrificing Meredith’s memory in the process.

Meredith’s name, he points out, was frequently left out of news stories, which became more and more focused on Knox during the appellate process. For the Kercher family, which had just begun their closure with the guilty verdicts, the process of retrying the case and reliving those painful details of their daughter’s murder all over again in the appeal was almost too much to bear.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Excerpts From Lucy Bannerman’s Interview With Meredith’s Father In Today’s UK Times

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





1. On First Impressions

I had never cried during an interview, until I met John Kercher. He presses a polite kiss to the cheek when we meet, smiling as he shakes my hand, before quickly apologising for wincing in pain.

His back has been giving him trouble “” he thinks he might have put it out when he sneezed. Still, his manner is warm and engaging and, despite having suffered a stroke three years ago, there is only a slight hint of unsteadiness as we pick a table and order some drinks in the bland lounge of a Croydon hotel.


2. On Rudy Guede Plus… Who?

Rudy Guede, the Ivorian drifter who is the only one who admits being at the scene, and whose murder conviction still stands, is in jail, having had his sentence reduced to only 16 years in a fast-track trial.

Today, Mr Kercher refuses to believe that Guede was the sole killer.

“One person could not have done it.” Of that much, he is certain. “She had 47 bruises. Two different knives were meant to have been used. Meredith did karate, for goodness’ sake.”

Remove Knox and Sollecito, and the only theory left is that Guede was helped by other, as-yet-unknown, accomplices. Which leaves Mr Kercher with even more questions.

“Then why is there not evidence of these other people?” he asks.

The past six months have passed in limbo. He has used the time to write a book that is, in one sense, his attempt to lay out the vast and tangled body of evidence, detailed in 10,000 pages in the original trial, which was overturned by an appeal judge last October.

“As we have always said, we would never want innocent people put in prison. But when you’re presented with that whole body of evidence, by forensic investigators, and it is just overturned, without question “” without question “” it is very difficult.”


3.. On Why John Was Inspired To Write

Ultimately the book is a heartbroken father’s tribute to his daughter. She sparkles through the pages, thanks to anecdotes from friends and family, first loves and flatmates; from the teachers who taught her and even the boy who once proposed. It is instantly clear, and not at all surprising, that Meredith was never short of admirers.

Her father was encouraged to write the book, not just by those who loved the 21-year-old student, but also by strangers.

“I looked on the internet and saw there were so many people saying, “˜We love her smile, she seemed like such a beautiful person, but we don’t really know anything about her’.

“So, I wanted to give people a flavour of what she was like, of her witty one-liners, her kindness.”

He remembers the baby girl who, though not premature, was born at just 4lbs 12oz “” “she was so small I could practically hold her in one hand” “” and the teenager with appalling time-keeping.

He talks fondly of the London bus tour guide, whose tours would always end with a top deck of applause, and the girl who first fell in love with Italy on a school exchange.

“Her teacher told me how, at the end of the exchange, all the other girls were crying on the coach as they said goodbye, except Meredith, who had a big smile on her face. She said she wasn’t upset, because she knew she was going to come back and live here.”


4. On The Hellman Court Not Examing All Evidence

A lack of motive and unreliable forensic evidence led to Knox and Sollecito being cleared by a jury. Much of the case centred on disputed DNA evidence on a kitchen knife and a clasp from Meredith’s bloodied bra.

“That DNA evidence was rejected, but what about all the rest of it?” asks Mr Kercher, for whom so many questions remain unanswered.

“Knox and Sollecito changed their alibi, I think, nine times.”

He does not agree that someone broke into the cottage, as the defence claimed. He believes it was staged. “How could one judge turn around and say the break-in wasn’t staged, when another judge spent eight pages in his original report explaining that it was?

“It doesn’t make sense.”

What does he think happened?

“No idea,” he replies, flatly.

Does he believe Amanda Knox killed Meredith?

He sighs. “Look into my eyes.”

They are full of tears.

“Guess. I don’t want to be vindictive. All I know is that there’s no other evidence of any other people being in that flat at that time.”


5. On Those Profiteering From Meredith’s Death

One thing he makes plain: the Kerchers have never profited from their daughter’s murder. He is disgusted by those who have.

They have turned down countless lucrative media offers.

Any proceeds from the book will go to a foundation they are setting up in Meredith’s name. They are considering whether it might support bereaved relatives who find themselves, like they did, embroiled in financially draining legal procedures overseas.


6. On How Family Life Carries On

He split from Meredith’s mother, Arline, ten years before the murder, and lives on his own in a flat five miles from the former family home. Kidney problems mean that Arline must rely on dialysis three times a week. She and John are on amicable terms.

Meredith’s eldest brother, also John, works in electronics, and is father to his own family. Her other brother, Lyle, works in advertising, while Stephanie, the beautiful sister she so closely resembles, has a career in marketing.

He is not a religious man, Kercher says. But over the past few years he has taken great comfort in what he calls “the white feather phenomenon”.

“I had never heard of it before. But it’s meant to represent the deceased person. It first happened when Stephanie and I were sitting in the garden one summer, and an absolutely white feather landed between us. I looked up. There was not a bird in the sky.”

It happened again after meeting up with a friend of Meredith’s while he was collecting anecdotes for the book.

“We were just saying goodbye in South Kensington when a white feather floated down and landed on her hand. It was really weird. It was so perfect. I actually waited another 10, 12 minutes, after the girl had gone, looking up at the sky.” He laughs at himself for being so superstitious.

“I often look at photographs and say to her, “˜send me a white feather’.”


7. On John’s Continuing Journalist Career

Mr Kercher still works as a freelance journalist. Despite all the heartache, he remains good company, apparently enjoying talking about life as a journalist, sharing anecdotes about the famous people he has interviewed and the book of quotations he has compiled.

“Do you ever get lonely?” he asks, suddenly. The question seems to hang uncomfortably for a moment, before we move on to happier topics, such as the nine times that he ran the London Marathon, his love of jazz and the 70th birthday he will be celebrating later this year.

As the interview draws to a close, he says he has no plans for the rest of the day but to keep writing. “You work to occupy the mind.

“You just carry on. You can’t do anything. You have no influence over events. It’s very difficult.”


John Kerchers Book “Meredith” Is Published In London; US + Italian Publishers Eager To Follow

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Above: Meredith’s birthplace. Southwark, on the south bank of the Thames. She very much reflected this spirit.

John Kercher’s book is available from today in the UK and on Amazon Kindle via the links at the top of the page here. We will be posting some excerpts and reviews. We would welcome submissions from anyone waiting for a good opportunity to to do their part. We are all volunteers here.

First glance at the Kindle version suggests this fine book was highly worth the wait and it will become definitive. A huge presence. It shows what a rising star of a woman was cut down, the victim of an arrogant cruel deed by people not even half of her stature.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

In Daily Mail, John Kercher Explains The Context of His Book “Meredith” Available From Next Friday

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





This article below from the Daily Mail is only John Kercher’s fourth in over four years. His others are reposted in this series here.

In light of one of David Marriott’s negative campaigns already begun, it seems useful for us to frame it here.

In the UK, Meredith’s family have very rarely granted any interviews, and then only to book-writers they felt could be fair. In Italy, they have spoken up only in conjunction with key court milestones, and in one interview with John and Arline on national TV.

They have discouraged others who knew Meredith from speaking up because they felt Italian justice would unaided produce an outcome that was universally seen to be legitimate and fair, and an eventual book remembering the Meredith they knew would be their last word.

This book was not exactly rushed out for tactical reasons, as some of the misled media have implied.

The book was one of two John Kercher wrote three years ago, and he resisted book-agent and publisher requests to make much or most of the book on Meredith about the events in Perugia.

Even now, there is little mention of those events. The book is about what the title says it is about - about the high-achieving daughter and sister that was Meredith - and it is said to be superb.

Meredith’s family welcomed the trial verdict from Judge Massei in December 2009 and commiserated with the families of those found guilty.

They then experienced the periodic harsh quirkiness of the Italian system in seeing cursorily overturned late in 2011 what had seemed to just about every competent lawyer a legally extremely sound result back in late 2009.

Italy is perhaps the only country in the world that automatically makes available two appeal levels, the first of which can involve another jury.

Those second juries too often seem anxious to flaunt their chops, and many in Italy want them abolished. Often strikingly unfamiliar with the details of the evidence and most of the key witnesses, they too often advance a body of tortured reasoning as to why the first jury got it so wrong.

The Italian Supreme Court is known to greatly dislike this “jury wars” tendency, and for the illegal assuming of excessive scope (the scope of appeals is set out in Italian judicial code) a long series of appeal verdicts have been partially or fully thrown out and the cases referred back down to the lower court.

The formidable chief prosecutor for Umbria, Dr Galati, was previously a highly effective deputy chief prosecutor with the Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome.

His criminal-case experience is almost the exact opposite of Judge Hellman’s. While Judge Hellman is one of the least experienced in criminal cases (his normal beat is business and civil law) Dr Galati is one of the most experienced. He really does know how to do effective Supreme Court appeals, in sharp contrast to the present Sollecito-Mellas-Knox teams.

Dr Galati has filed a prosecution appeal with that same Supreme Court (translation due here soon) which targeted various ways in which he considers the first-appeal court to have got the evidence and the witnesses seriously wrong. Even more formidably:

  • He specifically appeals against what he considers the illegal very broad scope adopted by Judge Hellman against judicial code on the precise lines the Supreme Court doesn’t like.

  • And he specifically appeals against what he considers to be the illegal appointment by Judge Hellman of Conti and Vecchiotti as independent consultants at the first appeal stage.

If such a review was really needed, he reasons, the place for it was at trial - where the defenses, by then very seriously floundering, asked for it only very late in 2009. But they had already had months of opportunity to bring in even more DNA experts of their own - having already failed to show up to observe any of the key forensic tests in the police labs.

Dr Galati will probably like John Kerchers book on Meredith as much as anyone if and when he ever gets to read it. But in this coming third phase there has almost never been any sign that the Italian police, prosecution and judiciary here are doing anything except what the law requires and meeting their usual impressive norm.

Since the Hellman verdict, there’s been much more tracking of the squalid and offensive Knox PR campaign in Perugia and Rome. The idea being falaciously put around in the US and UK, that John Kercher or the family lawyer Francesco Maresca are somehow driving the bus, is considered by Italian lawyers to be ludicrous, and offensive to the Italian courts and Dr Galati in the extreme.

Meredith and her family are very greatly liked and admired in Italy - and it is because of an ABSENCE of manipulation and PR that the legal system is going the extra mile.

On “Meredith” by John Kercher in the Daily Mail. 

My daughter Meredith, aged 21, was murdered on November 1, 2007 in her bedroom in Perugia, Italy, where she was studying at the city’s University For Foreigners.

In the days that followed, one of her housemates, an American girl named Amanda Knox, a young Italian man named Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede, a Perugia resident originally from the Ivory Coast, were arrested on suspicion of her murder.

While Guede remains imprisoned for taking my daughter’s life, last October Knox and Sollecito had their convictions quashed on appeal.

My family and I now find ourselves in a limbo that, I suspect, might never end, wondering exactly what happened in those last moments of Meredith’s life, and how convictions that seemed to offer all the terrible answers two years ago have been so emphatically overturned.

With Knox and Sollecito now free, we find that we are still waiting for justice for our daughter and sister, and have to face up to the possibility that we might never have a satisfactory picture of what unfolded in Perugia on that terrible November night.

Despite everything that has happened since, it still seems as though nobody knows anything about the real Meredith.

The media’s glare throughout the trial and appeal process has been fixed almost entirely on Amanda Knox. Books have been written about her and there has even been a television film focusing on her. It has seemed as if Meredith has been all but forgotten.

In writing this book, I hope to go some way towards redressing the balance, for Meredith was a beautiful, intelligent and caring girl whom everyone loved, and her story deserves to be told.

My hope is that I can share with the world something of the wonderful girl who was our daughter and sister. I hope our telling the world about the enchanting, generous, kind person that Meredith was can help those whose lives she touched.

I also hope this book might help to keep Meredith’s case in the spotlight, and, in some small way, to keep alive the hope that we might yet know the truth about her death.

November 1, 2007, and I am in my local bank in Croydon, South London, when Meredith telephones from Perugia. It is 2.15pm, an unusual time for Meredith to call as we usually speak in the evenings.

But today she does not have to go to university, where she is studying European politics and Italian, as it is a public holiday in Italy.

The call is costing her money, so we don’t have a chance to say much.

I tell her I’ll call her when I get home, but she is going out for dinner with some English friends, so instead we arrange to speak tomorrow.

The next day comes and I find myself at home when Meredith’s mother, Arline, rings. It is 5pm and she has seen on the news that a female British student has been found murdered in Perugia.

I have been divorced from Arline for ten years, and she is living in Old Coulsdon, Surrey. I am worried, but I tell myself that there are many British students studying in Perugia.

Immediately, I call Meredith but all I hear is an automated message. For the next half-an-hour I try her number at least a dozen times, but every time the call goes through to the message.

Then suddenly, after what feels like an age of trying, her mobile starts to ring. I feel some relief and, for the first time, I am confident that my daughter is fine.

Yet, the phone rings on and on, and still there is no answer.

I have to get some information, so I call the foreign desk of a national newspaper. Having worked as a freelance journalist for Fleet Street newspapers and national magazines, it seems the logical thing to do. A man tells me that they have only sketchy details, but if I call back in an hour they might know more.

When I do, I am told by one of the foreign desk editors that Italian police have found the British girl’s mobile phone, and that they have been in touch with people in London.

Again, my hopes rise because this must mean that, whoever this unfortunate girl is, her family and the British police must have been notified.

I have not yet contacted our other children ““ Meredith’s older sister Stephanie, and brothers Lyle and John ““ because I do not want to worry them unduly.

For the next 30 minutes I sit by the phone, trying not to feel so apprehensive. Then the phone rings.

The call is from a young woman on the newspaper’s foreign desk. Hesitantly, she tells me they have a name for the victim. Though I ask for it, she is reluctant to tell me. She seems nervous herself and I have to persuade her to release the name. I shall never forget her words.

“˜The name going round Italy,’ she says, “˜is Meredith.’

I drop the phone. I do not believe it. There has to be a mistake. I refuse to let the facts sink in.

I repeat it over and over to myself: “˜Not beautiful Meredith .”‰.”‰. Not beautiful Meredith .”‰.”‰.’

Numb with shock, I cannot even cry.

I arrive at Arline’s house within an hour. Stephanie, John and Lyle are there already. By now Arline has spoken to the Foreign Office. Officials have confirmed the worst. The dead girl is Meredith.

Everyone is crying. At 9pm, my daughter’s picture is on the news. I stare at it, registering its familiarity but unable to react.

It is as though my feelings have been folded up and removed from me, leaving my mind free to have pointlessly logical thoughts. I can’t say how I passed the night, except I don’t think I slept.

Nothing can prepare you for what it is like to have to travel to a foreign country to identify the body of your daughter. Meredith had told me how beautiful Perugia was.

Now, a little more than two months since she had first moved to the city, we were approaching it for the first time, and she was never coming home.

We met the Italian police at a roundabout, and they gave us an escort to the morgue. They did not speak English but consulate staff acted as our translators.

As we climbed up the steep roads, however, our talk petered out and we all felt the incongruity of the beautiful scenery and our purpose for being there.

There was a large number of officials inside the morgue, including the Chief of Police and the head of the homicide squad. Many of them were close to tears.

It was time to see my daughter. But I could not face going in. The brutal reality of having to see what had been done to Meredith had not really hit home. A small man from the mortuary approached Arline and Stephanie and, leaving me behind, they went through the doors. I could go no further.

For me, it would have put a full stop to my memories. I had seen her only a couple of weeks before when she had flown back to London to buy some winter clothes.

We had met for a coffee at a small Italian restaurant in Croydon, a place where we met often.

We would talk about books and music; the Italian film she had been to see to improve her language; the occasional dance she had been to with her new English friends and the wonderful pizzas she was eating.

On this occasion, Meredith was almost an hour late (this wasn’t unusual).

When she arrived, she talked eagerly about Perugia.

She said she was trying to buy a duvet for her bed, but nobody seemed to know where she could find one. I remember her saying she was determined to track one down. That this should be the duvet beneath which her body would be found is something that will always haunt me.

She had been laughing and was happy. It was the last time I had seen her and I wanted that to be the memory that I held in my mind for ever.

In the morgue, standing over her body, Arline had said: “˜Your father’s come all this way out here to see you, but doesn’t feel he can.’

Then she had smiled, for the last time, at our daughter.

“˜But,’ she had whispered, “˜you know what your father’s like .”‰.”‰.”‰



Caption: Water babies: Meredith, left, aged ten, and her older sister Stephanie enjoying a day at the beach

The news that Amanda Knox was being held for the murder sent shockwaves through our family.

Arline could not comprehend that Meredith’s own housemate might have been involved in this terrible crime.

“˜Amanda? Amanda?’ she kept repeating, in a state of utter disbelief.

We knew Meredith had not got on with Knox. Meredith had expressed irritation to us and to her friends in Perugia at Knox’s personal habits, because she frequently failed to flush the lavatory and Meredith had concerns over how Knox would “˜bring strange men back to the house’, but the idea that this irritation could lead to murder seemed preposterous.

We knew so little of the American girl and absolutely nothing of her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, whom Meredith had never mentioned.

The alibis of Knox and Sollecito kept changing.

At first, Knox claimed to have been at Sollecito’s flat all evening on the night of the murder.

Then Sollecito claimed that she had left his place at about 9pm and had not returned until 1am, during which time he had been on the internet.

Knox then changed her story to say that she had been at the cottage at the time that Meredith was killed.

It was during these first days of questioning that Knox claimed that Diya “˜Patrick’ Lumumba, the owner of a local bar called Le Chic, was the murderer.

Lumumba, of Congolese origin, had been living legally in Italy since 1988, running the bar where Knox had a part-time job.

Back in England, this was the first big piece of news we had heard. Pictures of Lumumba were shown on television, but I spoke to Arline on the telephone and neither of us could believe that we were looking at the killer.

Two weeks later, the chief prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, asked for Lumumba’s release, saying: “˜There are no longer any serious indications linking him to the crime.’

Lumumba was later quoted as saying: “˜I think that Amanda wanted to derail the investigation…

‘Amanda hated Meredith because people loved her more than Amanda. She was insanely jealous that Meredith was taking over her position as Queen Bee.’

Things became even more distressing. Although we knew Meredith had been killed by a knife wound to her throat, we had not realised it had been preceded by a sexual assault.

The post-mortem had revealed bruising on her lips and gums consistent with her face being crushed on the ground to hold her still. How could anyone do this to her, we asked ourselves? Why had she been singled out for this kind of treatment?

We tried to get our bearings by finding out more about Amanda Knox. I read that she was aged 20 and had been born in Seattle, the daughter of a retail executive and a primary-school teacher.

After only a few years, her parents divorced and Amanda went to Seattle Preparatory School, described as a strict Jesuit institution. Later, she attended Washington University.

Raffaele Sollecito remained a somewhat quiet, bespectacled figure. At the time of his arrest, he was aged 23. The son of a prominent urologist from Giovinazzo in southern Italy, he had led a privileged life. He described himself on a social networking site as being “˜sweet, but sometimes absolutely crazy’.

Sollecito appeared in pictures posted on the internet wielding a meat cleaver. It emerged that he was passionate about collecting knives.

After the murder, police searched his flat and discovered a collection of Japanese manga comics, some of which depicted acts of extreme violence.

One which attracted particular attention was concerned with the killing of female vampires at Halloween. It was not lost on police that Meredith had been dressed as a vampire to celebrate Halloween only one night before she was murdered.

Police later went on to say that the scene they discovered at the cottage was reminiscent of the scenes depicted in Sollecito’s comics.

A short while before Patrick Lumumba was released, the investigation took another decisive turn.

The police identified a bloodied fingerprint on Meredith’s pillow that belonged to one Rudy Hermann Guede, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast who had already been arrested for petty theft and drug dealing.

DNA taken from his toothbrush matched DNA found on and inside Meredith’s body.

This seemed to tie Guede to the scene of Meredith’s murder. Witnesses had already described a man of African origin fleeing the cottage on the night of the murder, later to be seen washing clothes in a launderette.

Guede had arrived in Italy from the Ivory Coast in 1992, aged five, with his father. When Guede was 15 his father had returned to Africa.

Extradited from Germany where he had been lying low, Guede was now concerned that Knox and Sollecito might attempt to pin the blame solely on him, so his defence team requested that he be tried on his own by a single presiding judge.

This “˜fast-track trial’ would take place during pre-trial hearings.

The request was granted. Armed with 10,000 pages of documentation, the judge, Paulo Micheli, heard evidence from forensics experts regarding the various DNA findings, Sollecito’s DNA having been discovered on Meredith’s bra clasp, and a bloodied footprint having been revealed as belonging to the young Italian man.

There was also the presentation of evidence that Knox’s bloodied footprints had been found in the cottage’s hallway and bathroom; that her DNA had been found in blood mixed with Meredith’s in the bathroom; and that her DNA had been shown to be on a knife handle, with Meredith’s on the blade ““ a knife that police had found at Sollecito’s apartment and which, the prosecution claimed, had been removed from the scene of the crime.

Judge Micheli also heard Knox’s and Sollecito’s defence teams attempting to refute much of the evidence, specifically the DNA evidence, which they blamed on contamination and poor forensics procedures.

This was to be a major contention in this pre-trial, the main trial and, later, the first appeal.

Regrettably, a key piece of evidence ““ the bra clasp ““ was not retrieved from the crime scene until 47 days after the murder because it had been hidden from view.

On October 28, 2008, Arline, Stephanie, Lyle and I returned to Perugia to hear the verdict on Guede.

After a nerve-racking wait, we were called to the court at 9pm. Photographers jostled at the entrance and we were guided in, individually, by police escorts.

I felt almost light-headed with lack of sleep; looking at Arline, Stephanie and Lyle, I saw the same strain on their faces. There was a tense silence.

Amanda Knox sat with her lawyers, as did Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede with theirs. They had been brought in under armed guard. Judge Micheli entered and everyone rose to their feet.

The chief of homicide, Monica Napoleoni, stood at my side, ready to convey the verdict.

As the judge began his statement, Ms Napoleoni looked at me, squeezing my hand, then concentrated on what the judge was saying. It was in Italian, so we had no idea what was being said.

The judge had been deliberating for 12 hours about his decision. This was the moment.

Suddenly, Ms Napoleoni turned to look at me and squeezed my hand again, nodding emphatically.

Rudy Guede had been found guilty of complicity in Meredith’s murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Knox and Sollecito had been indicted on charges of murder and sexual violence and would stand trial.

I did not know what to feel. It was certainly not relief because I knew that this was only the beginning.

After this, we would have to go through the main trial. I can only say that we were not elated ““ but we were satisfied that justice was progressing in the right direction.

It was not a moment any of us could relish. In our hearts, all we wanted to know was what had happened to Meredith and why she had to be taken so cruelly away.

As her sister Stephanie said at Meredith’s memorial service: “˜Anyone who was fortunate enough to have known her would testify that she was one of the most caring people you could ever meet.

‘Nothing was too much for her. She was a loyal daughter, sister and friend.’

It is not only our family and her friends who have lost her. So has the world.

I Will Always Love You, she sang in her haunting voice

During those days following Meredith’s death, I would immerse myself in photographs and lose myself in memories of her jokes, her wicked one-liners and her laughter.

Then recently while cleaning my home, I came across a shoebox containing roll after roll of undeveloped film. They have since been developed and I have seen that wonderful smile once again. In one picture I particularly love, Meredith is opening her Christmas presents by the fireplace.

On Christmas Eve I would pull some ash into the fireplace and draw small footprints to show that Father Christmas’s boots had landed there.

Meredith was due on December 25, 1985. But, as was to be the pattern of her life, she was late, and it was on December 28 that Arline was taken to Guy’s Hospital in London.

I set out in the car with John, Lyle and Stephanie to drive the 18 miles to the hospital. The weather was freezing and after about ten minutes, there was a rattling sound coming from under the car bonnet. I discovered the water in the radiator had turned to ice. We abandoned the car and dashed to the nearest station, Purley, to continue our journey by train.

I like to think that it was because of the season she was born in that Meredith loved winter, especially when it snowed and she could get out her plastic sledge.

In October 1987, when Meredith was nearly two, a 120mph hurricane came through Old Coulsdon. Arline and I huddled on the upstairs landing with the four children. That night, an 80ft tree slammed across the back of the house, a long branch smashing through the girls’ bedroom window. It was a fortunate escape.

Meredith liked going to the coast and we visited Brighton regularly. Sometimes we had a picnic on the beach. Then there were the Lanes, a maze of narrow streets filled with cafes, bistros and antiques shops. She was fascinated by this place and I often picture her there.

In 1997, Arline and I agreed to divorce, and I moved into a flat in Croydon.

During that first week of living apart, I came home to find Meredith had left a message on my answering machine, singing Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You.

Her voice was beautiful and haunting, and I think I cried on hearing it. I kept it there, playing it several times every day until the telephone service provider deleted it.

Meredith would come for dinner every Friday after school. I would cook and then we would watch videos of the hit comedy series Friends.

She also loved clothes, so one day I took her to Selfridges in Oxford Street. I thought she might like to spend half an hour there. How stupid of me! I should have taken a packed lunch. A more fruitful shopping spree was when Meredith, then 14, Stephanie and I travelled on Eurostar to Lille.

We had a wonderful lunch and then the girls discovered some clothes shops. I had to visit a cash machine a couple of times to pay for all their purchases.

Some memories, however, brought me back to Meredith’s final night. I could not help thinking of the hours Meredith had spent practising karate, and how she must have fought back on the night she was murdered.

Against one person, we were all certain, Meredith could have held her own.

Did stress cause my stroke?

During the summer of 2009, I suffered a stroke. I’d had bouts of dizziness, which my doctor thought might be attributable to an ear condition, but then in July, I was hit with the stroke.

I was in hospital for several days and had double vision for weeks afterwards.

I will never know whether the stress of Meredith’s death and the subsequent trial affected my health, but it made me question how many more times I could make the trip to Perugia, and how much more of the chaos I was able to bear.

How the Foreign Office let us down

We were surprised at the lack of financial help available from the British Government as we dealt with the aftermath of Meredith’s death.

We had received tremendous support from the British Consulate in Florence,  which arranged translation facilities and made transport arrangements, but despite our pleas, we did not receive any financial support from the Foreign Office.

A number of MPs campaigned on our behalf for some contribution towards our flights, but their efforts were to no avail.

Indeed, it seemed this was a policy decision, one that did not affect just us, but anybody who had suffered an ordeal such as ours. This lack of help was despite the fact that we were obliged to provide testimonies in court.

Nor could we expect any help from the Italian government. Before Meredith was murdered, EU states had said they would sign an agreement to compensate the families of foreign nationals who were victims of a violent crime committed in their country.

However, of all the states, Italy failed to sign the agreement in time.

Financially we were alone and it made the business of attending the trial, and seeking justice for Meredith, all the more problematic.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

Meredith’s Perugia #33: Calabria In Deep South Gradually Climbs Back Up In Tbe World

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



The “toe” of Italy. To the west is haunting Sicily, and to the east is lively Salento.

All of these areas are increasingly becoming tourist hotspots as they have the hottest sun and least crowds and their history is pretty interesting. The further back in history you go the rainier and greener and more prosperous these provinces were. Once they were very well off.

They were also being given special economic boosts courtesy of the European Community - at least uintil “austerity” became the mantra of the day and their special programs had to be cut back.

In the 20th century maybe a higher proportion of the population from the Calabria province moved to the US than from any other. Pity. Scarce talent.




Sunday, April 01, 2012

Meredith’s Perugia #32: Why Italy Is so Attractive To So Many Smart Students Like Meredith

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Over 100 of these for Italy and its various cities are online; some are promotional, some personal, reflecting happy memories; Meredith was there with the EC’s Erasmus scheme.




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