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Series Concerning Meredith

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Terrible Weight On The Victim’s Family Because The Italian System Is So Very, Very Pro Defendant

Posted by Peter Quennell





The Italian prison population is proportionally perhaps the smallest in the western world.

Italy has an overall population about one-fifth that of the United States, but a prison population only about one-thirtieth the size of that in the US, below 100,000 as compared to 2.7 million.

It is true that Italy has a very low murder rate, and that most towns see no murders at all year after year. Even now outside the main cities many people still tend to leave their houses unlocked. There seems to be not that many crooks.

But even in light of this, two factors have resulted in sentences often amazingly light by international standards, with prison sentences under three years almost never served, and crooks often happily walk free.

  • The first factor is all the safeguards built into the post-WWII constitution to make sure that the kangaroo courts of the fascist era would never ever again reappear.

  • The second factor, now in the news,  is the manipulation of the justice system by the occasional politician over the years to soften the situations of their locked-up buddies. 

So prosecutors now have to jump through a large number of hoops and judge after judge has to check on their reasonableness. Mr Mignini noted this in court the other day when he said that 42 judges had come to see the case against Knox and Sollecito in essentially the same way he presented it. .

Defendants get to speak in court while not under oath whenever they want to. They get two automatic appeals, and verdict and sentence are not considered final until the Supreme Court of Cassation rules that way. The overturn rate on either level of appeal is not particularly high, but there seems a tendency for appeal courts to be more lenient than trial courts, though Cassation often does favor the rulings of the original trial courts.

Now Italian crime rates are creeping up, with the influx of drugs and immigrants, and majority opinion in Italy is that the system should definitely be a bit tougher. Various pro-victim TV shows and various books have shown that because of all the pro-defendant breaks, the toll on victims’ families can be really shocking.

We have posted on the pro-victim campaign of Barbara Benedettelli who is a prominent TV show hoster. She has just come out with a book telling of the sufferings of victims families in saddening detail.

One of the families she describes saw their baby snatched by defense witness Mario Alessi, who soon after killed the baby with a spade because it would not stop crying. Alessi and his wife are locked up now, but you would rarely see in the UK and the US the kind of suffering along the way that the family of baby Tommy went through.

Victims’ families may get some legal and social help but they often end up financially decimated and quite often in poor health. This seems to be the tragic predicament of Meredith’s family which their lawyer Francesco Maresca highlighted the other day.

“You will look Meredith’s family in the eyes only once,” Maresca said. “They could not always be here in court due to the mother’s health problems and siblings’ economic problems.”

In fact, he said, the family had trouble finding airline tickets for the verdict, which the lawyer contrasted with reports that the Knox family had a private jet ready to whisk the American student out of the country in the case of a not guilty finding. Knox’s family has denied the existence of such a plan.

John and Arline Kercher’s bills are said to to be pushing now toward $200,000 at a time in life when their earning powers are no longer at their peak and neither of them are in good health. They have to pay all of their own travel costs to and from Perugia and all of their own hotel bills, and also the fees of Mr Maresca and his team.

Kind attention has just been paid to their terrible plight and to the memory of Meredith by the Italian media, and also in the US and UK by Reuters and the Associated Press and Fox News and The Examiner.

But they deserve a great deal more.

Posted on 10/01/11 at 06:21 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer familyThe officially involvedVictims familyItalian system
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Meredith’s Sister And A Perugia Friend Share How Very Much This Funny Very Talented Girl Is Missed

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[Above: TJMK main poster ViaDellaPergola’s video tribute to Meredith, first posted soon after the trial concluded[


From Ryan Parry’s interview with Stephanie Kercher in The Daily Mail:

“As I told a friend recently, my sister would have been 26 this year and I was in tears because I can’t even begin to imagine what she would have been like at that age. I can only remember her as 21 and before that.

“She would have finished university, maybe be working and with a boyfriend and I think of all the things we would have done together.

“We used to dance around our rooms together, watching films, going shopping. All the girly things that you do.

“We grew up together and there was only two-and-a-half years between us, so we were very close. When we were at uni we would send each other emails asking how each other was getting on. We’d also share responsibility of looking after and supporting Mum, who has been ill for a long time.

“As a sister I have missed out hugely on all of that. It’s something I am never going to know.”

For Stephanie, of Coulsdon, South London, it’s the little things which get her most upset.

The two sisters used to write secret notes to one another and pass them under their bedroom doors.

She adds: “I found a lot of the notes and they would make me smile or cry depending on what kind of mood I am in. We had photos developed the other day of when we were both little. They made me grin but I also felt sad.”

Stephanie has a silver bracelet she gave Meredith on her 21st birthday as a keepsake. Another gift to her sister, a pendant, was placed in with Meredith’s body at the funeral.

“I have also kept all the cards Mez has ever given me, teddies and things that she’s brought me back from places,” she says.

From Nick Squires’s interview with Natalie Hayward in The Daily Telegraph:

“When I got to Perugia, I was depressed. I’d broken up with the man I thought I would marry. Meredith was the only one who was totally non-judgmental. That was wonderful because I was feeling lonely.”

Miss Hayward remembers one of her tutors in Perugia warning her and Miss Kercher to be careful in the Umbrian hill town, saying hidden dangers lurked amid its rowdy student bars, cobbled piazzas and medieval passageways.

“We laughed about it. We were thinking ‘What’s to worry about? This is a tiny little town and we’re from London.’ It’s horribly ironic now.

“But Perugia can secretly be a dark place. It’s quite druggie.”

As for her friend, she said: “She was clearly intelligent and worked very hard. She was always talking about her family.

“She was very friendly – I still have text messages from her in which she persuaded me to go out in the evenings. She was generous and open and had a very big heart.

“She was a very fulfilled human being. She was happy and talked about her family all the time. She had lived life to the full. That gives me a great deal of comfort.”

Posted on 09/25/11 at 09:44 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Monday, September 05, 2011

In Good Italian Meredith’s Family Remind Italy Of Who Is The Real Victim Here

Posted by Peter Quennell

Stephanie Kercher writes an open letter (two of Meredith’s family are conversant in Italian, and Meredith had been fluent on arrival in Perugia) to Judge Hellman.

She questions the very strange slant of the DNA report in which Greg Hampikian seems to have had a suspect role.

The letter is very widely quoted from in the Italian media which has been highly sympathetic to Meredith and generally left cold by the antics of Knox, Sollecito, and their entourages.

CNN carries one of the few English-language reports. Generally a good one though it omits that Rudy Guede accused Knox and Sollecito to their faces in appeal court.

No English version was issued to our knowledge, and this is our main poster Tiziano’s translation, from TGCom.

In the last week we have been anxiously awaiting and in great agitation at the opinions being spread around about the original DNA tests.  It is extremely difficult to understand how the evidence which had been acquired with care and presented at the first grade trial as valid can now risk becoming irrelevant.

How can a quantity of DNA evidence be considered of little importance when the same experts do not give precise answers on the quantity which ought to be taken into consideration?

Furthermore, it should be remembered that both the parties, the prosecution and the defence, engaged their own respective teams of scientific experts in the first level trial, in addition to the consultants of the Scientific [Police] in Rome.

The [representatives of the] defence seem to be focussed on and to base themselves heavily on these two pieces of DNA evidence, but we want to remember for a moment who this case is about: my sister, a daughter brutally taken away from us almost four years ago and still not a day goes by when we can find a little peace or to put an end to all this.

All those who read this document or who are following this case, please remember our beautiful Meredith.  Her blood mixed with other samples spread around the bathroom, along the corridor and in Filomena’s room, and also so many other bloody prints.  Remember too all the other evidence which has been presented up till today in this trial, 10,000 pages of evidence.

We still have confidence in the Perugia police and all our trust in all those people from the court and the investigations.

We ask that Appeal Court weigh up every single piece of evidence, scientific and circumstantial, together with every witness heard and that [the court] do this independently of every other source of information and [independently] of the media.

In the midst of all the frenzy created by the media, Meredith has been forgotten, she is no longer with us, yet everything that should be for her and [done] in order to understand what really happened that tragic night. 

We have not forgotten her, and we will continue our struggle in order that justice be done with the continuing support of our lawyer Francesco Maresca and of his colleagues, the Police, the Public Prosecutor, the prosecution and all those taking part in this in Italy and also all those who in all the world still think of us and of Mez.

We would like to have the possibilty of working with Universty of Perugia on a project which would offer an annual place to a student in memory of Meredith.  Meredith loved Italy and its people and wanted to immerse herself in Italian culture.  We are well aware of the impact that all this has had on the city and we think that this is an appropriate way to commemorate Meredith in the beautiful place for which she left us to come and study.

Please do not let it be that Meredith died in vain, her courage and her strength continue to struggle and we shall look for justice so that she may rest in peace.  She did not stop struggling that November 1st, and we shall not stop now.

Stephy Kercher

 

Posted on 09/05/11 at 08:12 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another Look At Meredith’s Fine School And What It Says About Her And Her Family

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for our post of April last year on Meredith’s happy schooldays as described in Paul Russell and Grahame Johnson’s Darkness Descending.

This school explains a lot about Meredith. The United Kingdom has on the whole pretty good government-run schools. But its various public schools (its name for private schools) offer real renaissance educations where almost every hour is given to yet another area of formation.

Read Plato’s extraordinary Republic on education for the principles on which all of these schools are based. Not only was Meredith exceptionally focussed, ambitious, and hard-working. She also had the great confidence and poise that comes only from excelling in a lot of pursuits.

For the fourth child in a family it was remarkable that her family saw early what she needed and put forward all they could for her to get it.

Posted on 07/10/11 at 08:14 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Token Balance In The Italian System: The Voice In The Court For The Victim

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: Francesco Maresca with the Lead Appeal Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliol and Ms Comodi]


We have often posted before on the pronounced tilt toward defendants’ rights in the Italian court system.

The Italian criminal justice system is just about the only one in Europe that has not yet adapted to the 2001 directive of the European Court that was asking for equality in criminal trials.

As we can see in this case, the system is extremely pro-defendant.

Police and prosecutors have to jump through a large number of hoops. Judge after judge combs through the evidence. Defendants can get up and talk in court at the nod of a judge without being cross-examined.

Defendants never have to take an oath to tell the truth. Judges in effect have to be part of the jury and to stake their reputation on the outcome of every case, the reasoning of which they must describe in writing.

No-one is conclusively declared guilty until two appeals have been concluded. The second appeal is to the Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome, which seems to be sitting on more appeals now than the rest of the western world put together. Just about all prison sentences of under three years are waived. 

And that is just for starters.  One outcome is a prison population proportionally less than 1/4 that of the United States.

Many Italians feel that this fairness or leniency - call it what you will - has gone way too far, and Prime Minister Berlusconi’s attempts to press the fairness or leniency even further are wildly unpopular.

We posted recently on the tireless Italian campaigner for a stronger assertion of victim’s rights Barbara Benedettelli and she has a new book out on various cases. She has also sent us some background material on the generic issue which we intend to build into a post.

Against this tsunami of systemic pro-defendant bias in Meredith’s case, we really only have the fortitude of the police and the prosecutors involved, and the systemic presence of the lawyer representing the interests of the victim and her family: Mr Francesco Maresca, who practices law in Florence.

Although his English is said to be hesitant - which means the English media don’t usually track him down for any soundbites - he seems to us to be tirelessly aggressive in the court in standing up to the many impromptu interventions of the three perps and the fireworks of their six-plus lawyers.

Here is an interview with Mr Maresca in yesterday’s Umbria Left which was kindly translated by our poster Tiziano.

The lawyer for the Kercher family: Alessi and Avielli contradicted.

“Guede confirms the presence of the accused in the house of the crime. We have heard witnesses who contradicted Mario Alessi and Luciano Aviello.” Thus said lawyer Francesco Maresca, lawyer for the family of Meredith Kercher, at the end of the hearing of the appeal trial of Raffaele Sollecitoand Amanda Knox.

“Witnesses which,” he added “we could have however done without, heard only because it was necessary from a procedural point of view.” Lawyer Maresca claimed, “Regarding Rudy Guede, this person confirmed what he wrote in the letter to his defence lawyers. And to the specific question whether it was an opinion of his, he replied ‘no, it’s what I experienced that night’.

“In my opinion Guede once again confirmed the presence of all three accused at the site of the murder that night. It seems to me the truth of a co-accused already found guilty. To me it appeared absolutely clear,” Maresca concluded.

Another one landed for Meredith by her lone ranger in the court.


Posted on 06/28/11 at 08:01 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Meredith’s Perugia #31: Naples Area Where Meredith Was So Happy On A School Visit

Posted by Peter Quennell

 

Posted on 03/19/11 at 11:57 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

New John Kercher Article: “As A Little Girl Meredith Was Funny, Clever And Extremely Self-Assured”

Posted by Peter Quennell





By Meredith’s father John in today’s Sunday Times:

To my knowledge nine books have been published about the Amanda Knox murder case, with one more on the way. There have been five television documentaries. A made-for-TV film was shown in America last month, and there are plans for a British film, possibly starring Colin Firth. The news media seem transfixed. Knox’s supporters post their views online and plan a “bowling fundraiser” next Sunday in Seattle, her home town.

There is someone missing from this obsession with “Foxy Knoxy”, as the 23-year-old student was quickly nicknamed in the press. Meredith Kercher, my daughter, was killed that night in Perugia, Italy, 3½ years ago. It’s time to tell her story — and the story of her family, for whom there are no appeals against Meredith’s death, but only a long, painful and extremely expensive emotional limbo as the Knox saga grinds its way through the Italian courts.

In December 2009 Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were sentenced to 26 years and 25 years respectively for killing Meredith. An Ivorian drifter, Rudy Guede, had already been convicted at a fast-track trial and sentenced to 30 years, reduced on appeal to 16. We attended the sentencing of Knox and Sollecito in Perugia. As Meredith’s brother, Lyle, said afterwards, it was not a moment for celebration; more one of satisfaction that some verdict had been reached. But our agony did not finish there.

We would like to be able to remember Meredith for the loving, humorous and caring person she was, rather than a murder victim. But under Italian law Knox and Sollecito have a right to two appeals: one to the court in Perugia, which is in progress, and, if that should fail, a further one to the Supreme Court in Rome.

The result of the current appeal is not expected until September. Should it go against them, then at least a year or even years could pass as the second appeal is heard. This is the stuff of nightmares, compounded by the way that Knox has been turned into a celebrity and the murder into entertainment.

I saw the trailer for the American TV film about her and was horrified by the scene that purported to depict the killing of my daughter. It was removed before broadcast but Meredith was still shown with a bloody wound in her neck. Mez, as we called her, should not be remembered by the way she died but by how she was for the 21 years of her short life.

As a little girl she was funny, clever and extremely selfassured, with a wonderful singing voice. At about five she told me she wanted to be a pop star. When a girl with whom she was meant to do a duet at junior school fell sick, Meredith performed the song alone. Other parents came up afterwards to compliment her nerve and ability.

She wasn’t a show-off. Her talents often surfaced spontaneously — such as when she picked up a toy guitar at home, stuffed a cigarette in her mouth, pulled her hair down over her face, stuck a hat on her head and did an impression of Slash from Guns N’ Roses. It was hilarious.

As she became older, she showed high academic ability, winning a place at Leeds University to study European politics and Italian. She was meant to be on a four-year course that included a year’s study at an Italian university, but she discovered that, because of a mix-up, she had been put on one with no year abroad. She was horrified and fought for months to be reinstated — successfully.

Meredith loved Italy, having been there several times with her school and a couple of times on family holidays. At the end of one exchange trip near Naples, most of the English students were in tears at having to say goodbye to the Italian families they had stayed with. Meredith, however, was smiling “because I know that I’m going to return and that, some day, I’m going to live here”.

She had a choice of three cities for her year overseas: Rome, Milan and Perugia. She chose Perugia because of its medieval quarter and the hope that it would be easier to make friends there than in a big city.

She flew out in late August 2007, checked into a family hotel for three nights and went to the University for Foreigners to look for accommodation in the town, eventually finding a room in a cottage. She rang to tell me about it, saying two Italian girls already had rooms there and an American girl would be joining them later.

Meredith had lived with Arline, her mother, since our divorce in 1997, but we had spoken every evening on the telephone and she came to dinner with me after school every week. We continued our conversations every evening when she was in Italy. She told me about her studies, the wonderful restaurants she had been to and the places she was hoping to visit.

She came back from Italy for a weekend to clean the house for her mother, who was suffering renal failure. That was the sort of person Mez was — very caring, not simply to family and friends but to strangers too. Once, working part-time in a restaurant, she saw that a female customer with a young child had had too much to drink. Meredith paid for a cab to get them home safely.

This was the person who was savagely murdered on November 1, 2007. I had spoken to Meredith that afternoon. It was Ognissanti, All Saints’ Day, a public holiday in Italy. She told me she would be out that evening but would talk to me the next day. My last words to her were: “I love you.”

The following evening her mother called, telling me that a British student had been killed in Perugia. I never dreamt that it was Meredith, and so I telephoned her number to see if she knew anything. At first I got an answering machine. After dialling a dozen times or more, I heard a ringing tone at the other end. That was a relief. I assumed that she wasn’t answering because she was in a different room.

An hour later, still getting no reply, I became worried and rang one of the national newspapers that I write for. Its foreign desk told me, after checking with Italy, that the police had found the dead girl’s mobile phones and had been in touch with people in London.

I was relieved. Whoever the poor girl was, she couldn’t be Meredith, because her family had presumably been informed. Half an hour later, however, I was told that the name going round Italy was Meredith. I was in shock. A friend drove me to Arline’s house. After a couple of hours Meredith’s picture came up on the television; by then the Foreign Office had confirmed that it was our daughter.

We flew to Italy to identify her. The press outside the morgue was crying, as were the police, and I couldn’t go in to see her. I wanted to remember her as she had always been. I had seen her only a few weeks earlier, when she had been on a shopping trip to London for winter clothes to take back to Italy. She had been so proud of her new boots. That was how I wanted to remember her.

Then the long legal process began: investigation, arrests, trials and now the appeal. The defence lawyers are contesting the DNA evidence from the alleged murder weapon, a knife found in a drawer at Sollecito’s apartment. They say the DNA samples — Meredith’s on the tip of the blade, Knox’s on the handle — are too small to be admissible as evidence. They also argue that DNA on a clasp from Meredith’s bra, found in her room six weeks after her body was discovered, could have been contaminated.

This is disputed by the top forensics team from Rome, led by Patrizia Stefanoni, an internationally respected forensic scientist. The fact that recently, in Britain, someone was convicted on 17-year-old DNA evidence is ignored by the defence.

Knox’s supporters in America, while concentrating on the DNA, do not seem to be aware of the huge body of other evidence that was given. Under Italian law a judge has to write an official report on how a verdict was reached. Judge Giancarlo Massei, who presided at the trial of Knox and Sollecito, produced a 400-page report.

It is quite revealing, showing that — although Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s genetic material were found mixed together in several locations in the bathroom — much more than the DNA evidence was responsible for the decision to convict. For example:

  • Sollecito claimed to have been working at his computer on the evening of the murder, but computer records show that it was inactive. Both Sollecito’s and Knox’s mobile phones were switched off that night.
  • A witness saw the couple several times in the vicinity of the cottage on the night of the killing, although they said they were at Sollecito’s home. Their alibis changed nine times, with Sollecito saying that he could not remember whether Knox was with him all evening. They even hinted at putting the blame on each other. Apart from Meredith, only Knox and two other flatmates, who were away at the time, had keys to the cottage.
  • Sollecito’s naked footprint was found on a bathmat in the cottage; and Knox’s footprints were found outside Meredith’s room, in the passageway and in another room, where police believe a break-in was staged. (These footprints were revealed with luminol, a chemical used by forensic investigators to detect traces of blood at crime scenes, as it glows blue in reaction with the iron in haemoglobin. It can show bloody footprints even after attempts to clean them away.) nAs for the “break-in”, the police immediately noticed that glass from a broken window was on top of clothes supposedly scattered by an intruder. The glass would have been under the clothes if the window had been broken before the room was ransacked. No valuables were taken, and a real burglar would have found far easier access to the house without breaking a window.
  • Sollecito told the police that nothing had been taken from the room supposedly broken into. But how would he know? It was used by an Italian girl, not present on the night of the killing, who had not yet checked it out for herself.
  • Knox described the position of Meredith’s body and how she had died, although she had not been able to see into Meredith’s room when the door was broken down by the police.

There are many more factors, almost 20 in all, among them the suspicion that there may have been something ritualistic about Meredith’s death. The prosecutor was criticised for mentioning this, but she was killed on the eve of the Day of the Dead, November 2. Sollecito was said to have Japanese manga comics that described the rape and killing of female vampires. Meredith had been dressed as a vampire to celebrate Hallowe’en.

In addition, the Supreme Court in Rome has recently issued its report on Guede’s appeal. Pointing out that there were more than 40 wounds on Meredith’s body, it found that he did not act alone and that two others were involved. There is also a suggestion that her body and the room were rearranged after the killing.

Guede, who admitted having been in the cottage on the night of the murder, fled the premises and went to a disco before escaping to Germany, where he was arrested. So who cleaned up the house in an attempt to remove all traces of their presence that night?

While not wanting to complain, I find it odd that the British government will not help us pay for travelling expenses to the courts in Italy, which we have had to attend on five occasions so far for the trial and appeal.

The British consul in Florence was marvellous, providing emotional support and translation facilities, and two MPs have tried to get us financial backup; but the Foreign Office says it does not pay for costs of attending court hearings abroad.

Each European Union country is supposed to provide some sort of compensation for the family of anyone from another EU nation killed on its territory; but Italy did not sign up to this, so nothing has been forthcoming from Rome. We have had to fund everything ourselves. It adds up — about £40,000 so far.

In court our lawyer demanded €21m (£18m) in compensation from the defendants, but this was a purely symbolic amount, seen in Italy as a way of demonstrating the severity of the case. Anyone assuming we received such a sum is under a misapprehension.

It is now into the fourth year since Meredith’s death, and the pressure of grief is still upon us. It has been constant torment, but the memory of Meredith will continue to stay with everyone. Leeds University planted an oak tree in her memory; and, with our family, students released balloons bearing messages for her. Her school, Old Palace in Croydon, planted a cherry tree for her. Every year, on the anniversary of her death, at Christmas Eve and on her birthday (December 28), our family and Meredith’s friends go to the cemetery to leave flowers and cards for her.

Recently I unearthed a book I wrote for Meredith. She was 14 and I was visiting her at her mother’s house. When the time came for me to leave, she suddenly asked me to tell her a bedtime story. I laughed and said I had told her one from when she two until she was 12, and I had run out of ideas. But she was insistent. So I told her I would go home, write something and read it down the telephone to her.

That’s what I did, with her as the lead character, and she loved it and wanted more. So I continued and it turned into a novel, The Strange Case of Miss Carla. I like to think that this is my tribute to a wonderful daughter.

Posted on 03/13/11 at 05:05 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

“The Strange Case of Miss Carla” John Kercher’s Brilliant Idea Of A Tribute To Meredith

Posted by Peter Quennell


These images above and below are scenes five minutes south of where Meredith grew up, where the southern edge of London becomes beautiful rural Surrey.

Meredith’s father John has now made public that he has put on paper bedtime stories including some he told Meredith at bedtime in her house just to the north of these places when she was a little girl.

The London media reports are here and here.

Meredith herself in a real sense set this book of stories in motion. John was once at her house when she was 14 years old, and as he left in the evening, she asked him to tell her a bedtime story.

He said he’d told her bedtime stories from when she was two years old until she was about 12 but for now he’d run out of ideas. But she was quite insistent. So John told her he would go home and write something and read it down the ‘phone to her; which he then did.

She loved it and wanted more, and so he continued with it for a long while until it became a 60,000 word novel. John Kercher has linked these very special stories together with a narrative that has Meredith traveling through time.

If John does try to get the book published, it would simply be submitted with no background and the publisher would not be told the connection. It would stand on its own.

Still, few stories have a way of resonating through life and on down the ages like those bedtime stories we hear in childhood.

And this seems an impressionistic, elegant, deeply moving way of keeping the thought of Meredith alive for those in the know without being remotely invasive. Quite brilliant.




Posted on 02/08/11 at 08:33 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meredith’s Perugia #29: The Very Elegant City Of Milano Just Half A Day To The North

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Posted on 01/30/11 at 09:21 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Her 25th Birthday: It So Matters To Her Family That Meredith Is Cherished And Loved Around The World

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


A few days ago John Kercher wrote this poignant piece for the UK’s Daily Mirror.

He painstakingly re-explains what the Knox conspiracy theorists still don’t seem able to read or comprehend, the precise text of the Massei Report, a report for which the Appeals Court in allowing only the barest of re-examinations has already shown huge respect.

And he again describes for her admirers around the world what a bright lively caring girl Meredith was, and how she is so much missed by her family at this season of joy for most others.

As the third anniversary of the killing of our daughter Meredith passes, there is no relief from the publicity which surrounds it.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in December 2009 of her murder and sentenced to 26 and 25 years respectively.

Under Italian law, they are entitled to two appeals – the first to the court in Perugia and, if that goes against them, then the Supreme Court in Rome.

It means we are constantly reminded of the awful details of our daughter’s death, when we’d like to concentrate on our happy memories of her.

Although the tragedy is never going to leave us. As her mother Arline once said: “It is a kind of life sentence that has been imposed on our thoughts.”

It has not been easy to cope. As her father, I cannot ever put that tragic night out of my mind. I try to concentrate on Meredith’s humour and smile, which is something we all remember her for.

But whenever I open a paper or switch on the TV there is something about the trial and the appeals. You would like to stop being reminded of the horrific details, but they are always there.

Naturally I can understand that there are constant proclamations of the convicted people’s innocence.

But it means it is almost impossible to only remember Meredith as the caring and loving person that she was.With two movies in the pipeline about the events, it only serves to make the agony worse. We’ve suffered for three years and it seems unreasonable for it to continue. The first appeal of Knox, 23, and 26-year-old Sollecito has begun and is expected to last at least until spring, since the court only tends to sit for one day per week.

As before, there are two judges and a jury of six, of which five are said to be women. Surprisingly many people seem to be unaware of many of the important facts which led to their convictions.

Under Italian law, the presiding judge at the trial, where the accused were convicted, must present a report as to the reasoning behind his and the jury’s decision to convict. Judge Massei wrote a 400-page report. A situation, I believe, you would not find in a UK or US court. It is a revealing document which many people do not seem to have read.

This report, which I have read over and over, details all of the evidence from DNA to witnesses.

The defence lawyers are insisting that DNA evidence on the said murder weapon is of such a low sample it should not be admitted. This was the knife which police found in a drawer in Sollecito’s apartment, which showed traces of DNA of Knox and of Meredith.

However, the head of ­forensics in Rome, Patrizia Stefanoni, who conducted the tests, is one of the most respected in Europe, if not the world.

It is the focus on this knife which has caused confusion. This piece of evidence is all anyone mentions. Judge Massei’s report also states a shoe print found in Meredith’s room was consistent with the size that Amanda would have worn.

Genetic mixtures, or DNA, of Knox and Meredith’s blood were found in the small bathroom in three separate locations – on a tap, a bidet and a box of cotton buds.

In some cases there was evidence that pointed to the fact some of the blood had been washed, in an attempt to clean it away. In the room of one of the Italian room-mates, Filomena Romanelli, where it is said a burglary was “staged”, a sample yielded a mixed genetic profile of Knox and the victim.

Of the samples taken almost in the middle of the corridor and in front of the door to Knox’s room gave the result: victim plus Knox. These samples were discovered after the use of luminol, which reveals bloodied footprints even after attempts to clean them.

Regarding Sollecito’s DNA on fragments of Meredith’s bra, the idea of contamination is refuted, since his DNA was not anywhere else in Meredith’s room.

As for the “burglary”, where Romanelli’s room was found in disarray, the judge determined that if a burglar entered her room from the outside, through the window almost four metres above the ground, he would need two attempts. Firstly, to scale the wall to open the shutters on the window.

He would then have had to return to ground level to collect a stone to throw at the window to break the glass. Then he would have to climb the wall again to reach through the hole to open the latch.

There was no evidence of any footmarks on the wall.

It was therefore decided that the window was broken from the inside, after the room had been ransacked. This was why the broken glass was on top of the clothes on the floor, instead of under them, where it should have been.

Also, drawers to bedside tables had not been opened and boxes where valuables might have been kept had not even been searched.

When Filomena Romanelli returned to the house and surveyed her room and looked everywhere, she declared nothing had been stolen.

However, it is said that when police first arrived at the house, before Romanelli had even arrived, Sollecito told police there had been no theft. But how could he have known?

There is more relating to Knox and Sollecito’s constantly changing alibis and witness statements relating to their whereabouts on that night.

Defence lawyers have persisted with the theory the break-in and killing was conducted by a “lone wolf”, and that the person responsible is Rudy Guede. He was sentenced at a fast-track trial to 30 years, later reduced on appeal to 16 years.

His second appeal to the Supreme Court was yesterday rejected.

Now that his conviction is upheld, he might decide to tell the truth about the night of November 1, 2007. Guede is the only one who has claimed to have been in the house on that fateful night.

This, as I have said, has been going on for three years, but Meredith is still, and always will be, in our hearts and minds.

The difference at Christmas is, for us, that she is not there, seated at the table.

But when we open our Christmas cards, it is certain that there will be a few signed from her. We always do that. We have to believe that she is still with us.

We shall toast her with a smile, and remember her voice and laugh. And, usually, on Christmas Eve we shall go to the cemetery and leave cards and small presents for her, as shall her friends.

Ultimately, however, we would like to know the truth. Meredith was such a loved person by everyone – she was someone who cared about others.

The major question of why did this happen to her is constantly on our minds. You go to the cemetery and see all of the flowers and messages which friends still leave for her, and we know that she is never going to be forgotten.

As someone recently wrote on the internet: “Meredith is cherished and loved around the world.”

Posted on 12/28/10 at 12:01 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Meditation On The State Of Play In The Search For Justice For Poor Meredith

Posted by Hopeful


I hope the Rome experts take the knife and bra clasp and find more evidence on them, clear and undeniable even to the prejudiced.  I don’t want to see Meredith’s killers walk, but with the same vehemence I desire no innocent parties to be persecuted. So should all honest people.

Rudy Guede is such a compulsive liar that he would have to be hooked up to a polygraph for me to believe him. Yet I still hope he makes more statements. Perhaps the truth can be separated like gold from the dross.

Something entirely unexpected may be the key to this case. Meredith’s followers around the world will breathe a sigh of relief when the truth is unveiled.

Mr. Kercher’s new thoughts turn towards Meredith’s December 28th birthday and the sad events that took her life in her last November (2007), and now this jangling December 2010 appeal, the ongoing debate about her killers.

The Christmas holiday is an added clash of joy versus sorrow. It’s a holiday that is surely imbued with the fondest memories of Meredith’s early years in her Christian family. It’s a holiday of great pathos and confusion for a lot of people.

It’s hard to balance the sudden shining ideal of every hope and promise in all its spiritual implications with the stampedes in malls, the greedy merchandising, its basis supposedly charity, Santa specials blasting on TV with the manger and Wise Men less in evidence, the spirit renewed by the carols, bells ringing, beauty and decorations everywhere, but the roads bristling with traffic, bad weather.

Then we come to the impossible personalities in the family who must now gather at one table, the minor frustrations of more food to prepare, cards to send, more housework to do, decorations to assemble.

Extra party giving, high expectations. Be stylish, new clothes, harder yet make sure all the children do while providing tons of toys, games and requests. Mix this with lifelong animosities in extended family or friends that one tries to forgive for at least a season, the guilt if one can’t, the sudden calls on one’s private purse to give and give sacrificially while more social events and church events jostle for one’s limited finances and strength. Alcohol is flowing.

Hey, it’s too much. So let’s stop it, less is more.

Love and salvation are the theme while the sad realities and failures of life by contrast battle in one’s mind for prominence. To complain of this state of affairs is to be called a Scrooge.

It can be very unrestful, very disturbing. Many people get sick.  Where is peace? People get blue, even without such tragedy as the Kerchers face.

Think of the long ordeal they’ve endured from November 2, 2007 until today, December 18, 2010 from the first shock with news of Meredith’s murder, then the long wait for her autopsy, the worldwide speculation that swirled around the case, the financial pressure for the Kerchers to travel to Italy and face courtroom trial in Perugia, the media frenzy with the spotlight of world press on their humble and now grieving family. What terrors.

Soon there was the necessary introduction of lawyers. They had to learn legal matters and deal with them in a foreign country and a foreign language. The trial had people’s nerves built up to a fever pitch. The GUILTY verdict came last December, now this December a pivotal appeal and later when the lumbering court case is finally over perhaps years from now there will still be the ongoing anniversary of Meredith’s funeral at every Christmas season.

At a point fairly late in life for Mr. and Mrs. Kercher they’ve had this intense and unexpected nightmare appear. Perhaps in some ways it has unexpectedly infused them with new unity and energy as a family. One day when this is all over we hope to hear that it did. Their stories can be fully told. They have been brave and suffered in silence. Let’s hope they find strength for the journey and learn to take it one day at a time, knowing things do get better with time.

Consolation to the Kerchers:

Meredith is always linked in my thoughts (and I believe others’ thoughts) with sweetness, beauty, and intelligence, with fine and noble sensitivities. She will be remembered always as a person of high honor, a bright light. She is never mixed or soiled in any way with the events that took her life. Those black marks attach only to her murderers, like a gigantic X over their faces and souls, like a gallon of black paint sloshed over their heads. CONDEMNED!!! They are not outside God’s forgiveness, but not outside man’s punishment either.

In every recollection of her, Meredith is not sullied in the least. She rose above it to become more pristine than ever.

The Kerchers might like to know that most people remember their youngest daughter not in her final hours in the midst of a crime scene but as a marvelous human being, dancing through life with a song and a smile, bringing joy and normalcy to others throughout her brief years, a superlative student, a go-getter with vigor and drive, yet always a gentle lady. To sum it up, a dignified human being with astounding qualities.

I’ve quoted this before, but an English poet said it best: “It is not growing like a tree in bulk, doth make man better be, nor standing long an oak 300 year, to fall at last a log dry, bald and sere. A lily of a day is fairer far in May. Although it die and fall that night, it was the plant and flower of light. So in proportion we just beauties see…

“AND IN SMALL MEASURE LIFE MAY PERFECT BE…”

A poem by “oh rare Ben Jonson”, apologies for any misquote of his work This poem applies to Meredith Kercher.

She was that bright lily, perfect in its own way.

Posted on 12/18/10 at 05:10 PM by HopefulClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Video Of The Last Scenes Poor Meredith Saw In Her Life Before She Arrived Home Fatefully

Posted by SomeAlibi

Also posted on our new Case Videos page. Meredith of course made this walk at night and the video gives an example of that after first showing the route. Essentially it is a z-shaped route.

North and then west, and then north again down the stairs and across the parking building, to the presumed safety of her home. 

Posted on 12/12/10 at 10:09 AM by SomeAlibiClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Meredith’s Europe #3: The City Of Brussels Where She Was Eager To Start Work

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 12/05/10 at 09:27 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

John Kercher: “Its Despicable That The Girl Jailed For Killing My Daughter Has Become a Celebrity”

Posted by Peter Quennell





Meredith’s father John passionately speaks out against the making of convicted killer Amanda Knox into a celebrity.

He is stridently critical of the utterly contemptible antics of Amanda Knox’s parents Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, and of the callous self-promotion of narcissistic limelight-seekers like Hayden Panettiere and Rocco Girlanda.

Enough is enough, he now says. His article appears in the Daily Mail.

It’s utterly despicable that the girl jailed for killing my daughter has become a celebrity

From Meredith Kercher’s father, a passionate attack on the cult of ‘Foxy Knoxy’

By John Kercher

Last week, I switched on my television to see the parents of the young woman convicted of ­taking my daughter’s life proclaiming her innocence. And, once again, I felt the pain and the anger and the raw grief resurface.

Amanda Knox was found guilty of ­killing my daughter Meredith at the house they shared in Italy three years ago. Yet since that act of horrific ­violence, Knox, it seems, has been accorded the status of a minor celebrity.

Sometimes it seems that there is no escape from her or her jaunty nickname, ‘Foxy Knoxy’ (doubly hurtful, for the way it trivialises the awfulness of her offence).

Cherished memories: John Kercher misses daughter Meredith every day

Last week, Knox’s parents were given star billing on the ITV breakfast show Daybreak, where they had free rein to profess their conviction that their daughter is not guilty.

Kurt Knox and his ex-wife Edda ­Mellas have never expressed their condolences to our family for our grievous loss. There has been no letter of sympathy; no word of regret. Instead, I have watched them repeatedly reiterate the mantra of their daughter’s innocence.

Alas, I fear there is more yet to come. Their TV appearance last week, trailed for two days as if it were some exclusive media coup, coincided with the resumption of Knox’s appeal against her conviction.

This appeal, like the initial court case, will drag on for months, while the dark tunnel between my family and our ­ability to grieve for Meredith in peace becomes ever longer.

If Knox doesn’t get the result she wants, our agony will be even more ­protracted: she may then take her case to Italy’s Supreme Court in Rome. Put simply, our ordeal could go on for years.

‘To many, Knox seems an unlikely killer. Yet to my family she is,  unequivocally, culpable’

Knox is one of three people convicted of killing my beautiful and talented daughter. It was a brutal murder. Meredith’s throat was slit, and she was stabbed to death.

Knox and her former boyfriend, ­Italian Raffaele Sollecito, are serving jail sentences of 26 and 25 years ­respectively for their heinous crime. A third person, drifter Rudy Guede, convicted with them, is also in prison.

Yet it is Knox who still exerts such a hold over the media. As a journalist myself, I know the reason why. Knox is young, attractive and female. To many, she seems an unlikely killer.

Yet to my family she is, unequivocally, culpable. As far as we are concerned, she has been ­convicted of taking our precious Meredith’s life in the most hideous and bloody way.

And the sadness is, the nature of that death too often prevents us from celebrating her life. She has become ‘Meredith Kercher, ­murder victim’, not Meredith Kercher, our lovely, intellectually curious daughter.

So, today, I’d like to redress the balance and tell you about our irredeemable loss. About the ­Merdeith we knew and loved.

Our girl was 21 when she died; a bright, sweet-natured and engaging young woman. She had been studying for a degree in European Studies and Italian at Leeds ­University when she had opted to spend some time in the medieval Italian town of Perugia, at the ­university there, improving her knowledge of the Italian language and culture.

On November 1, the third anniversary of her death, I gathered with the rest of the family in the cold, grey cemetery where she is buried. One by one, we laid bright flowers on her grave and left messages. Mine said simply, ‘I miss you’.

Along with our own handwritten notes, there were dozens from Meredith’s friends.

They write as if she’s still with us, telling her about their new jobs, their boyfriends.
They remind her of all the wonderful times they had, of the shared laughter. And like us, they hope — really, they do — that Meredith might somehow know what they have written.

None of us, you see, wants to forget her for even one second. So she is here, among us, everywhere. She lives on in the public memorials, with trees planted in her ­honour at her old school and university, and in the private ones, too.

At her home in Surrey, where she lived with her mum during the university holidays, her room remains as it always was. It is not a shrine; but neither will it ever be disturbed.

‘All we want now is the peace to be able to celebrate her life. Is that so much to ask?’

Her clothes remain in the wardrobe, her posters on the wall. Study books are piled on the table, make-up arranged beside them. It is just as she left it — and sometimes I even convince myself that one day she will return to it.

I wait to hear the cheerful cadence of her laughter. Even now, the memory of it has the power to make me smile.

People also always remember Meredith’s kindness and caring nature. She never gave the impression of being studious, but she was. She worked quietly and assiduously for her degree. But she was generous too. Several friends commented that she would lend out her lecture notes to ­anyone who asked: to her, it was second nature.

But Meredith, of course, was not perfect. Punctuality was never one of her qualities.

The last time I saw her, during a weekend trip back to London, she breezed into the Italian restaurant where I was waiting for her a full hour late. Yet when I saw her, wreathed in that famous smile, my annoy­ance instantly evaporated.

The vision of her delightedly showing me the new boots she’d bought that day is one I continue to hold dear.

The next thing we knew, we were travelling to Italy to identify her body.

And then there was the ordeal of the court case, the details of which have been picked over too often to bear repeating here.
Glamorised: Actress Hayden Panettiere is playing Knox in a new film about the events of Meredith’s death

Glamorised: Actress Hayden Panettiere is playing Knox in a new film about the events of Meredith’s death

But still, the hurt wasn’t over. I’ll share one small example.

Two years after her death, we were told that we could finally take Meredith’s possessions home with us. I expected a large suitcase full of her belongings, which we could all cherish.

Instead, I was given a small, ­battered case. Her beloved clothes had all been taken for forensic tests. Not even her treasured ­possessions were sacrosanct.

Who knew?

Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede received a total of 67 years in prison for Meredith Kercher’s murder

So we concentrate on the happy memories instead. Meredith was a Christmas baby, and as the festive season approaches, we hold in our hearts the memory of her 21st birthday, celebrated in a local Italian restaurant. None of us could have dreamed it would be her last.

Meredith meant so much to us all. Our lives have, of course, moved on, but not a minute passes when she is not in our thoughts. And the question that nags insistently at us is: ‘Why?’ Why was she taken from us prematurely and with such horrific brutality?

Like all grieving parents, we sometimes wonder what she would be doing now if she were still with us. She would have graduated with her degree from Leeds University in 2009. But, of course, we were never able to share her pride in reaching that milestone.

She was, however, awarded a posthumous degree, and her ­sister, Stephanie, collected it for her. Every student in the vast hall rose to their feet to applaud her that day. The standing ovation lasted a full minute, and my eyes brimmed with tears.

Sometimes, even now, I find it hard to believe she is not still with us. Her passing is easier to bear if I pretend she has just gone away for a while; that some day soon she will ring me — her voice ­bubbling with laughter and enthusiasm — to tell me about her ­latest adventure.

Meredith was the baby of the family, the beloved youngest child. Her mum, her siblings and I ­cherish every memory of her short life. It is her untimely and horrific death we would all prefer to obliterate from our minds.

All we want now is the peace to be able to celebrate her life. Is that so much to ask?

Posted on 12/01/10 at 11:24 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

How Her Father John Remembered Meredith On The Third Anniversary Of Her Death

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


The UK’s popular Hello! celebrity magazine published a full-page spread in memory of Meredith on 8 November. A copy was kindly sent to us by a friend.

The article included some photos of Meredith that we already have posted plus this new one above, and a moving tribute by Meredith’s father John.

John Kercher Remembers His Daughter Meredith, Who Has Come To Affect So Many


It is now three years since Meredith was taken from us in such a brutal and savage way. For such a kind, loving and caring person to suffer what she did is beyond cruel.

The three years since her passing have obviously been very painful to us and are something that is obviously going to stay with us forever. But as her sister Stephanie says, we are fortunate to have 21 years of wonderful memories of her.

On the third. anniversary .of her death in early November, we shall go to the cemetery where she is buried in South London and join many of Meredith’s friends to lay flowers and messages. Many of those friends still write notes to her, as if she were still with us all.

They remind her of the wonderful times that they spent together and share experiences with her. The messages are always left there, because they hope that, in some way, Meredith might be able to read the words.

There is still a cap on the grave, similar to one she wore when she worked as a tourist guide in London, a student job before she left to study in Italy. She took visitors around the capital each day, explaining the various sights and landmarks to them.

Everyone who Meredith ever came into contact with will never forget her and her wonderful smile. They always wanted her as a friend for life.

Even those she never met are struck by her. The Internet is full of messages from strangers around the world who comment on what a lovely person she seemed to be and always remark on her smile.

And that is what always sticks in our mind, because Meredith had a beautiful sense of humour and what some of her friends have described as “wicked one-liners”.

There are memories of Meredith everywhere. At the house in Surrey where she lived with her mother during. her holidays from the University of Leeds, her room is still as it was when she left to .go and study in the Italian city of Perugia to improve her knowledge of the language and culture.

As her mother says, it is not a shrine, but no one wants to disturb anything. Her clothes are still in the wardrobe, her posters on the wall and make-up on her table. It is sad, and you think that some day she is going to return.

You wait to bear her laugh, and whenever I think of that laugh it always makes me smile.

There is a restaurant which she sometimes worked in at weekends when she came back from Leeds, to earn some money for her university studies. They still have a photograph of her on the bar..

At her old school, there is a cherry tree planted in the gardens in her memory, and this year flowers were laid at its foot. There is also an oak tree for her in the grounds of the University of Leeds.

About 40 of her university friends and our family gathered there on the first anniversary of her passing to say prayers and release balloons with messages attached to them in to the sky.

Other trees in Yorkshire have been dedicated to her, and I once joked that soon she would have an entire forest in her name. It is the kind of joke she would have appreciated.

People also always remember Meredith’s kindness and caring nature. She never gave the impression of being studious, but she was, and she worked really hard for her degree.

Several girls have commented that they were stunned how she would often share her lecture notes with them, which most students really guard. It’s amazing that she was able to do that, because she was a notoriously bad timekeeper and was always 20 minutes late for everything.

The last time I saw her, when she had made a weekend trip back from Italy, she made an appointment to meet me at an Italian restaurant in our home town of Coulsdon, Surrey, and was an hour late.

But you could always be forgiving, the moment you saw her smile. On that last occasion 1 saw her, she was showing me some boots which she had bought in London to take back for the Italian winter.

I think that one of the saddest things was when we, as a family, traveled to Italy to give our own testimonies about Meredith to the court. After two years, we were finally told that we could take her possessions home with us.

We knew that she had some wonderful clothes, a lot of special chocolate bought at Perugia’s famous chocolate festival, and an opera calendar that she had bought for her mother’s birthday, for which she was due to travel home.

I expected this large suitcase full of her belongings, but it was sad to be presented with only a small battered case. There were hardly any clothes, most having been destroyed during forensic testing, no calendar and no chocolate. I would have kept mine forever.

She was almost a Christmas baby, born on 28 December, and I think. that she was always, as she got older, a bit peeved that no one could manage a dinner out after all the Christmas eating. We had to arrange something later in the new year for her.

But we did celebrate her 21st in a local Italian, never dreaming that it would be her last. We still celebrate her birthday and always shall. We have a meal and we raise a glass of wine to her,. and leave birthday cards for her at the cemetery.

We have to. She meant so much to us all

An American TV network is now making a film about .Amanda Knox. and the events. That’s something I find appalling.  Your imagination of the events is enough. To have it graphically portrayed would be horrible for us.

I shall never forget sitting in that courtroom in Perugia at midnight, as the sentences for Amanda and [her ex-boyfriend and co—accused] Rafael Sollecito were read out a year ago. It was solemn and the atmosphere was extremely tense.

As we said afterwards, it was not a moment for celebration for us - more one of satisfaction that justice had been done for Meredith. But still it all goes on, with the accuseds’ appeals being heard this month.

If their sentences are upheld, they have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court in Rome and that process can last years. It simply keeps up the pressure on me and all I want is for everything to be settled.

But l know that the world is never going to forget Meredith. Even in passing she has changed so many lives.


Posted on 11/20/10 at 10:55 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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