Headsup: The first 8 episodes of the RAI/HBO production "My Brilliant Friend" about a supreme alpha-girl and her "moon" of a best friend airing in 60-plus countries are proving amazingly endearing. So many colorful elements of evolving post WWII Italy on display. Yes, some violence too, but peanuts compared to say New York in that era. A real must-see.

Series Great reporting

Friday, December 19, 2008

Meredith Dateline Documentary: New Standard For All Others?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger images]

We think so. We think other TV networks would be foolhardy to now step back from NBC’s very high standard.

This is the Dateline documentary reviewed here by Skeptical Bystander on Monday. Now we have been through it almost frame by frame, and we continue to be impressed.

NBC clearly gave this one a big budget. It filled the entire hour. Meredith was very much respected in the script and the images of her. NBC flew camera teams to Seattle and Perugia, along with the precise, well-informed reporter, Dennis Murphy. The photography and the production values were excellent. There were a number of new images, and new tape-recordings of Amanda Knox. And the three consultants - Richard Owen, Clint van Zandt, and Theodore Simon - were all really on top of the case.

Now for our take on what it all means.

Richard Owen is the Rome correspondent for the London Times, with many Perugia stories to his name. Clint van Zandt is a much-in-demand crime analyst, formerly with the FBI. And Theodore Simon is a Philadelphia defense lawyer, who has defended Americans in foreign trouble and commented before on the case.

These are what they regard as the strengths of the prosecution’s case.  Meredith was known to have not liked Knox bringing strange men to the house, and to have had other differences. The several defendant alibis do not coincide. The Knox murder accusation against Lumumba not only did not help, it hurt. The break-in theory is very dubious. Knox and Sollecito kissing outside, the underwear purchase, and other post-crime behavior, all look very fishy.

The DNA on the hidden knife is very compelling. As Clint Van Zandt put it, the knife, the DNA, and its hiding make a nice prosecution package. The bleaching of the house and the footprints showing up under luminol, if linked to anyone, could almost be conclusive by themselves. As could the blood drops on the bathroom drain. The witchcraft angle as a motive, van Zandt remarked, was almost a bridge too far, but the prosecutor does have to attempt to offer a theory of how these otherwise normal kids could commit the murder.  Theodore Simon thinks the prosecutors evidence made public so far is daunting. The defense could argue a faked robbery, and a moved body, and contamination, but eventually it could become like whack-a-mole, and all of their arguments could lose force.

Only old and very familiar arguments were advanced for the defense case. Dennis Murphy noted that for a year now, Europeans have been sold a sexy heartless icon. Knox’s father said her first alibi/confession was “all but water-boarded out of a terrified young woman” and the prosecutors had been heartless, feeding one juicy morsel after another to a voracious tabloid press. He claimed the knife was found in the knives draw in Sollecito’s kitchen (not our understanding) and the DNA on the blade could be that of half the people in Italy (nor is that). And all the evidence at the crime scene had been contaminated by careless police work. The hostility of the Knox-Mellas couple for the prosecutor shone through. And an old clip showed Anne Bremner remarking (of the wrong apartment) “thou shalt not destroy evidence at a crime scene, and this appears to be the case here”.

Recordings are heard, some in Amanda Knox’s voice, and some in others, of her claims about her arrest and interrogation. Also of her dreams and denials as recorded in her diary in her first weeks in jail, when she was clearly feeling betrayed by Sollecito - this is the diary she later handed to prosecutors.

Criticisms? We have some. An image of the duvet with Meredith’s foot showing is used repeatedly. The NBC take on the case was not up-to-the-minute, and some of the clips and claims seemed old. No psychological angles were explored. The documentary did not mention the independent expert verification of the forensic evidence, or the caution of the Italian legal system, or the dozen judges who have verified the impact of the evidence. And it did not mention that most of the 10,000 pages of evidence have still only been seen by a very few.

But it finished well. Dennis Murphy remarked that we should remember the prosecutor has already convicted Guede with his sex-game argument. And that the Guede judge said the other two are implicated, which does not bode well for them at trial. And that courthouse observers, including Theodore Simon, are predicting an uphill fight for the defense.

If you click on them, all of these screen-captures open up larger in Acrobat.

Below: Dateline’s reporter Dennis Murphy in Perugia

Below: The two nice images of Meredith used repeatedly


Below: Reporter Dennis Murphy in the early-on Seattle segment

Below: Two shots of World Cup, now out of business, where Knox last worked


Below: One of the entrance gates of the University of Washington

Below: Seemingly resigned friends of Knox, giving personal testimonials

Below: Reporter Dennis Murphy at the gate of Meredith’s house

Below: Two fresh images of Perugia, representative of the many used


Below: Richard Owen, the London Times Rome correspondent

Below: Clint van Zandt, the former FBI profiler and evidence analyst

Below: Theodore Simon, the defence lawyer for Americans in foreign trouble

Below: Patrick Lumumba, looking happy and relaxed, with Dennis Murphy

Below: Zack Nowack, an American, who felt Amanda Knox was too impulsive

Below: Three new shots of Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito, and Amanda Knox



Below: The biological parents of Knox trudging along, seemingly resignedly

Below: A computer image of the bedroom - even here, Meredith’s foot shows

Below: Filomena’s broken window; not considered a feasible break-in route

Below: Murphy and Van Zandt discussing the possible murder weapon

Below: The Perugia police chief demonstrates the fatal stab with a knife

Below: Meredith’s and Knox’s unexplained blood on the bidet drain

Below: Murphy and van Zandt discuss the seemingly damning footprints

Below: The Knox rape short story, perhaps indicative of an attraction to violence

Below: Knox and Sollecito happily buying lingerie together in Bubbles

Below: One claimed inflammatory European headline (it seems true)

Below: Transcript of a Knox recording complaining about interrogation

Below: Murphy describing the Knox-Mellas hostility toward the prosecutor

Below: Murphy and van Zandt look at disputed police break-in downstairs

Below: The Japanese manga comic that might have influenced Sollecito

Below: A woman’s voice reading from Knox’s early 2008 prison diary

Below: Fresh image of Capanne jail, with the Perugia heights in background

Posted on 12/19/08 at 01:02 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Concerning MeredithHer memoryNews media & moviesGreat reporting
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Monday, December 15, 2008

US NBC TV’s Fair And Factual “Mystery of Meredith’s Murder”

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





The consensus here is that the NBC Dateline presentation a few days ago was the most balanced US media treatment of the case to date.

One of the first US network presentation, by CBS on its 48 Hours program, was particularly bad and the word is out now that CBS is wrapping up its second attempt. Maybe the CBS producer will take a page from the Dateline book - or at least lose Paul the plaintive PI this time around.

Dateline did an especially good job of cutting through the fog created by the media storm over this case since the first arrests were made on November 6, 2007.

Dateline also did a good job of laying out the basics in an objective and comprehensive manner for people with no prior knowledge. There just were a couple of factual errors—for example, that DNA was found on a tampon. In fact, the swab used to obtain such samples is called a “tampone” in Italian.

The Dateline program drew on some collaborative work by the posters on the PMF forum and predecessors. Here is the pleased observation of Kermit, a major contributor there and here.

A word of congratulations to all of us, the descendants of Steve Huff’s boards. What a surprise I had as I watched the Dateline show and saw, on the projected screen behind the presenters, our measurement analysis of the Double DNA knife.

It was obviously ours, as it came out of a discussion on the original board… concerning the length of the knife. At the time of that discussion in the spring, I dug up a Matrix screen shot of the knife (easily identifiable by the red “Matrix” tag in the upper lift. Since the ILE ruler didn’t go the whole length of the knife, I doubled it, then marked 17.5 cm length that I estimated the knife blade to be.

And now NBC has used that item. Such material, along with translations and analysis you just won’t find [other than on these forums]

The crack former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt, very widely respected here in the U.S., was the anchor crime analyst on the piece. Mr Van Zandt still thoughtfully interacts with people who post comments on his own excellent blog and he had this to say there of his role:

This case has been challenged by the family, friends and supporters of Knox, some who have spoken to me to provide their version of what happened and why Amanda is innocent.  As seen on the Dateline special, Knox’s family states what they believe as truth, although, of course, they were not there. 

I have received a ton of e-mail this past year with criticism for either supporting Knox or trying to convict her.  Neither, of course, is true.  Like many of you, I only want to see justice done for Meredith and want those responsible for her death held responsible the part they played in her death.

Another excellent blog, the Eclectic Chapbook, has been offering commentary on this case within its usual eclectic mix of posts on crime and literature from the outset.  No comments - or comment deletions, unlike the notorious Seattle PI reader’s blog which was a front for a secret book till we blew its cover. Just an excellent, straightforward presentation of the facts and the plot twists.

In reviewing the Dateline program, Eclectic Chapbook caustically remarks that NBC did not escape the PR-driven parent trap, and it played into the fiction that Amanda’s parents are what the PMF commenter DLW has referred to as a modern-day Ozzie and Harriet, the American TV icons of married bliss.

I have only one criticism of the show. One segment included an appearance by Amanda Knox’s biological parents together. I was very offended by it. I felt it was a deliberate attempt to mislead and deceive the public, because their joint appearance misrepresents the household and home environment from which Amanda Knox emerged before she traveled to Perugia.

From what I understand, Knox came out of a blended family. Each of her parents has remarried to other spouses. Amanda Knox’s home environment consisted of her biological mother and sister, plus her mother’s new spouse. This new spouse never appeared on the show at all, which I found very weird. I presume Knox may have some step-siblings, too, in addition to her natural sister.

The joint appearance by Amanda Knox’s biological parents came off as a sham, a charade and a fraud. It was an insult to the intelligence of the American Public. Blended families are not so unusual these days. I’m sure the American Public can cope with the issue

Early on, it was apparently decided that Knox’s biological parents made a better team in the role of parents on television and in press interviews, even though Curt Knox and Edda Mellas got divorced nearly twenty years ago (Amanda Knox is 21) and both have since married again.

They do sometimes look like strangers thrown together by fate. Which, come to think of it, is pretty close to reality..

Posted on 12/15/08 at 05:01 PM by Skeptical BystanderClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesGreat reporting
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Monday, December 01, 2008

Why Prominent Knox Supporter Judge Heavey Faces An Uphill Task

Posted by Peter Quennell

Judge Michael Heavey is a Superior Court judge in King County, Washington State, whose daughter was at school with Amanda Knox.

He is said to be popular and fair and someone you might want to have on your side in a fight. We wonder, however, if he is receiving the best possible advice on the case.

Last week Judge Heavey was quoted by the Seattle PI’s Levi Pulkkinen as saying:

“It borders on the diabolical… To me, it just shows [prosecutors] don’t care whether she’s guilty or innocent. They just believe Amanda needs to be convicted…”

Heavey [contends] Guede killed Kercher while Knox was staying the night at Sollecito’s home. [He views] Knox’s contradictory statements to police—claims that she “heard Meredith screaming” as she was killed—as the products of a rough overnight interrogation by Italian police…”

“When you have a heinous crime and a demonized defendant, with very little evidence, you can get a bad conviction. I haven’t been sure of too much in my life, but I’m totally convinced that she’s innocent.”

Here are just some of the problems that are now undercutting an adversarial stance against the Italian investigators, prosecutors and judges.

  • Most of the 10,000 pages of evidence (now being added-to by new witnesses) have not yet been publicly revealed. They will finally emerge during the trial which will start in Perugia on 16 January. Much of the forensic and other evidence has been independently verified by experts unconnected to the investigation
  • .
  • No single piece of the evidence already in the public domain has ever conclusively been found to be falsified. Several US experts have a rather hapless record in their attempts to demonstrate that the police and prosecutors got it all wrong. None seem to have made any recent statements on cable news or in the newspapers that they still stand by their original claims.

  • The defense lawyers who have actually been through the evidence seem to have become a lot more taciturn, and none of them - not one - has subsequently claimed that this is a railroading, or a frame-up, or the fabrication of a prosecutor desperate for a conviction.  (As a precaution against precisely this, there are actually two prosecutors)

  • Only a small part of the evidence - the autopsy, the bedroom evidence, and the neighbor who heard a scream in the night and then people running - was sufficient to result in a 30-year sentence for Rudy Guede. The judge in his case, in explaining the judgment, remarked that it was impossible for Guede to have acted alone in the murder of Meredith, in part due to the huge number of wounds on the body.

  • The additional evidence that did not even need to be taken into account in Guede’s case apparently includes computer and mobile phone activities, statements of a large number of other witness, a knife that may be the murder weapon found in Sollecito’s kitchen, post-crime defendant statements and behaviors, and the statements of those close to the defendants at the time.

  • And there might have been even more evidence. It appears that the crime scene may have been manipulated after the murder to make it look like a sole-perpetrator crime. Finger-prints, footprints, other marks, and blood evidence seem to have been removed - although much still shows up under luminol. It seems to indicate three perpetrators at the crime scene.

  • Amanda Knox actually placed herself under suspicion in her very first encounter with the police. She changed her alibi several times subsequently, apparently attempting to coincide it with Sollecito’s. The notion that she was forced into a confession after hours and hours of questioning is now generally discredited, and her own lawyers have not claimed this or lodged any complaint.

  • Amanda Knox indicated not only in an interview statement, later disqualified, but also in a written statement, still in evidence, that Patrick Lumumba was the murderer. Lumumba, her kindly employer, was in fact at the bar he owned that night, and in view of the harm done by this apparent frame-up attempt, the prosecution has charged Amanda Knox with slander.

The biggest problem of all for those claiming a frame-up or an over-zealous rush to prosecution is the extreme caution of the Italian system. The Italian judicial review process prior to trial seems to be at least three or four times more elaborate, careful, cautious, and fair to a suspect than, for example, normal U.S. processes.

The evidence in the case has already made it through a number of hoops. And repeatedly the various judges in what is a very extensive process, after days of reading and careful consideration, have verified that the evidence against the defendants is, in fact, very strong.

It is still possible that everybody has got it terribly wrong. But so far, nobody seems to be coming anywhere close to that scenario.

Posted on 12/01/08 at 08:40 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedNews media & moviesGreat reportingThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas teamHeavey, Bremner
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Now Our Website Is The Subject Of A Russian Wire Service Story

Posted by Peter Quennell

This story has just been posted on the NewsRu-dot-com website. Meaning it will be picked up by other media in Russia.

Welcome to new readers from that great country. True Justice for Meredith is already read in about 20 countries. These are today’s readers to noon NYC time.

The Russian piece seems essentially a fair take on what we are about. If we read it right, though, it does seem to suggest we have questions about the investigation by the Italian authorities.

Actually, no. That is not us.

Readers of our site here can see that we continue to think that the Italian investigative and judicial processes have been fair and exemplary. Our evidence posts below essentially only go to show that they seem to have it right.

It has been the contempt heaped upon those processes over the past year in some arms of the media that has been our special inspiration here.

That and Meredith. The one and the only victim in this case.

Posted on 11/12/08 at 01:04 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesGreat reportingMedia news
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Kerchers’ Hometown Paper Profiles Our Site

Posted by The Editor

This story has just been posted on the Croydon Guardian website.

Thank you, Croydon Guardian of south London. We are honored that this first media mention was right there where Meredith’s family lives.

And where the great sadness and loss and sense of wrong we also feel lingers on.

The one amendment we might offer to the story is this. We don’t see a conspiracy of the media to misreport as such.

But we do think there was something of a herd-mentality media rush-to-judgment here that was pretty light on the facts.

And that some misreporting continues, right up to today. Just scroll down below and you will see it.

The tide seems to be turning, though, and a rebalancing of the coverage is perhaps now in progress.

Meredith was the real victim here. And her much-suffering family in south London. The last media holdouts should take note.

Posted on 11/11/08 at 01:39 PM by The EditorClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: News media & moviesGreat reporting
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Next-Day Press: Newsweek Seems To Think “Friends Of Amanda” Is Radioactive

Posted by Peter Quennell




Above: Seattle’s media-lawyer Anne Bremner. Referred to in Newsweek’s excellent piece on the Italian reactions she seems to have stirred.

Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that the overzealous freelance defense team in the United States, which has taken up Knox’s cause with fervor, have not helped the defendant—and might even have hurt her standing in the Italian courts.

The Friends of Amanda campaign, led by Seattle lawyer Anne Bremner, has infuriated prosecuting and defense attorneys alike by helping focus extensive coverage by major American news networks on the alleged ineptitude of the Italian investigators and antiquated Italian legal system.

Bremner infuriated Perugian prosecutor Mignini by taking swipes at the work of Italian police on NBC, enumerating ways in which prosecutors may have inadvertently contaminated DNA evidence.

Lawyers for both sides of the case quickly pointed out, however, that Bremner was basing her comments on video footage of an apartment below the crime scene, not the actual crime scene itself.

Further alienating the Italians, Seattle judge Michael Heavey wrote a damning letter to Italy’s justice minister about the potential for injustice against Knox, prompting one lawyer to warn that the Americans would have to send the military to get Amanda out of Italy.

“We are being condemned by a group over nine-thousand kilometers away, without knowing the intricacies of the case or the complexities of Italian judicial terminology,” prosecutor Mignini told reporters outside the Perugian courthouse last week. “I am shocked and scandalized by this attitude. It is the first time I have come across such presumption and superficiality.”

Bremner’s comments, like those made earlier in the investigation by New York attorney Joseph Tacopina, have tended to contradict the strategy of Knox’s lawyers and have even put Knox’s lead attorney Luciano Ghirga on the defensive.

“American lawyers do not represent anyone here,” said Ghirga outside the courthouse in Perugia, “and have never represented anyone here.”

The interference has also angered Knox’s family, who have publicly distanced themselves from those in Seattle. “I have faith in my Italian lawyers,” says Curt Knox. “And I dissociate myself from other initiatives on behalf of my daughter.”

Ooops! With friends like this, seriously, who needs enemies?

Posted on 10/29/08 at 10:02 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxThe officially involvedHoaxers from 2007Knox-Mellas teamHeavey, BremnerNews media & moviesGreat reporting
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Next-Day Press: A Good Take By Andrea Vogt For Hearst’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Posted by Peter Quennell



PERUGIA, Italy—A little more than a month from now, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito will stand trial for murder in an Italian courtroom. For Americans following the case, it’ll seem a little strange.

The trial is expected to be open to the public—in stark contrast with the series of closed-door hearings held over the past year just to get to this point.

Under Italian law, Knox and Sollecito could be held in prison for several years during the trial and appeals, if any, but this case is likely to take only months to play out because there’s already been an unusual amount of trial preparation, according to legal observers.

Unlike a typical criminal trial in the United States, the Italian version is longer—often taking months to get to a verdict.

Until two decades ago, the trial process here was similar to that of France, but recent reforms have brought the system closer to what might be expected in an American trial.

There are usually six civilian jurors and two judges, one of whom serves as the “president” of the jury and helps manage the procedural elements of the trial. All of the jurors, including the judges, are chosen randomly.

Although it’s a sensational case, Knox and Sollecito will probably be tried in Perugia, a central Italian city with a population of about 340,000. A change of venue to another city jurisdiction is seldom granted.

The capital of the region of Umbria, Perugia is known for its high-profile jazz festival each summer, its chocolate fair in the fall and as a magnet for international students. But the influx of foreign students and tourists belies how the real Perugia operates, many say.

“It is a paradoxical city,” said veteran Italian journalist Meo Ponte, who is covering the case for the Italian daily La Republica and lived several years in Perugia before transferring to Turin.

“It has the dimension of a small town,” he said, “but because of its large student population, it also has the openness of a large, cosmopolitan city.”

Posted on 10/29/08 at 10:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Justice systemsItalian systemTrials 2008 & 2009Prelim hearingsMicheli trial etcMassei prosecutionNews media & moviesGreat reporting
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More On The Evil That Was Rained Down On Lumumba

Posted by Peter Quennell



The Tom Kington Interview

Tom Kington of the UK Observer interviews Patrick Lumumba.

Diya Lumumba, 39, was at last week’s first pre-trial hearing in Perugia at which Knox, 21, appeared in public for the first time since her arrest last year. ‘Why did she accuse me?’ he asked. ‘The black is always the killer in films, and I am convinced that is why she named me as her way of derailing the investigation.’

It was November last year when Knox, by then in custody, implicated Lumumba in the killing, telling police he entered Miss Kercher’s bedroom in their shared house on the night of 1 November, while she covered her ears in the kitchen… Police raided Lumumba’s home and arrested him in front of his Polish wife Aleksandra and baby son Davide, saying only: ‘You know what you did.’ Investigators leaked an allegation that Lumumba had entered the isolated house outside Perugia’s medieval walls to ‘possess’ Miss Kercher…

Click here for more

Posted on 09/23/08 at 10:29 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxThe officially involvedEvidence & witnessesPat LumumbaNews media & moviesGreat reporting
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Monday, September 08, 2008

Knox & Sollecito Teams Form Truce To Dump ALL Blame On Rudy Guede?

Posted by Peter Quennell




This is from a surprising report from the Guardian’s Tom Kington in Rome:

Claims have been made of a pact between Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24. It is alleged their lawyers have agreed to work together to blame the murder on Rudy Guede, 21, a part-time gardener from the Ivory Coast and the third accused.

Now, Guede’s lawyers are threatening to call for a separate trial for him alone - well away from the legal teams of the other two whom they fear could prejudice his case.

It is a pact, says Guede’s lawyer Walter Biscotti, that can be traced back to July when Sollecito sent Knox a bouquet of yellow flowers on her 21st birthday which both celebrated in prison.

‘There is a clear desire to make Rudy the guilty party, and it’s clear they will try anything,’ Biscotti said.

All three accused deny murder. Knox, or Foxy Knoxy, as she was known at her Seattle high school, shared a flat with Meredith, from Coulsdon, south London, who was studying in the city as part of her degree at Leeds University.

Knox has attracted headlines through a leaked prison diary in which she detailed her sexual escapades and a Facebook page on which she wrote about rape and fantasy. She has also speculated Sollecito, her then boyfriend, could have been responsible.

Knox’s lawyers maintain that bloodstains in the flat and DNA on a knife found at Sollecito’s flat cannot put her at the murder scene.

Sollecito’s lawyers will also question whether his DNA, found on the back of Meredith’s bloodied bra, is conclusive proof of his involvement. He and Knox claim that they were at his flat when the murder took place.

Guede, who fled to Germany after the murder, is the only suspect who has admitted to being in Kercher’s bedroom on the night she died. He states that they were planning to have sex - though he denies rape and murder. He has stated he was using the bathroom when she was killed, claiming Knox and Sollecito had rushed past him as he emerged.

Sensing a campaign against his client, Biscotti may press for the hearings to be separated in the hope Guede will be cleared quickly. It could involve a fast-track trial behind closed doors and a verdict as early as mid-October.

This could mean that Guede is convicted before a decision is made on whether Knox and Sollecito even stand trial.

‘There was a tacit agreement to just work on the defence of your own client,’ said Biscotti of the other legal teams. ‘But it looks like this is finished.’

He points to a recent briefing by one of Sollecito’s lawyers, Giulia Buongiorno, an MP and high-profile lawyer who has previously defended former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti against Mafia charges, who told journalists that there had been just one killer.

The Kerchers’ lawyer, Francesco Maresca, said: ‘We are holding out for a trial of the other two, even if Rudy is found guilty.’


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Key Media Reports: 3 November 2007 Kate Mansey Interview

Posted by Administrator

Published in the Sunday Mirror 4/11/2007

MURDERED IN ITALY. MEREDITH, 21
Friend tells how he broke down door
Kate Mansey In Perugia, Italy 4/11/2007

A friend of murdered British student Meredith Kercher told last night how he discovered her body in her blood-spattered bedroom.

Raffaele Sollecito, 23, relived the horror of finding the body of the pretty brunette who died when her killer broke into her home and cut her throat as she lay in her bed.

“It is something I never hope to see again,” he said. “There was blood everywhere and I couldn’t take it all in.

“My girlfriend was her flatmate and she was crying and screaming, ‘How could anyone do this?’”

Meredith, 21, who had been studying in Perugia, Italy since August, was murdered the day after a Halloween fancy dress party at the city’s British-themed Merlin Pub on Wednesday.

On Thursday she posted happy snaps of herself in fancy dress on the internet and in the evening had returned home alone after watching a film at a friend’s house.

But her flatmates - two Italian girls and one American - had all stayed out for the night, so the gruesome discovery wasn’t made until the next day.

Raffaele had spent the night at his own house on the other side of the city with his girlfriend, Meredith’s American flatmate Amanda Knox, 22.

He said: “It was a normal night. Meredith had gone out with one of her English friends and Amanda and I went to party with one of my friends.

“The next day, around lunchtime, Amanda went back to their apartment to have a shower.”

As Amanda, from Washington DC, stepped into house [sic B] she could tell there was something terribly wrong.

Raffaele said: “When she arrived the front door was wide open. She thought it was weird, but thought maybe someone was in the house and had left it ajar.

“But when she went into the bathroom she saw spots of blood all over the bath and sink. That’s when she started getting really afraid and ran back to my place because she didn’t want to go into the house alone. So I agreed to go back with her. When we walked in together, I knew straight away it was wrong. It was really eerily silent and the bathroom was speckled with blood like someone had flicked it around, just little spots.

“We went into the bedroom of Philomena (another flatmate who was away) and it had been ransacked, like someone had been looking for something. But when we tried Meredith’s room, the door was locked. She never normally locked her bedroom door and that really made us frightened.”

Their panic grew as they desperately banged on her door.

Raffaele said: “I tried to knock it down. I thought maybe she was ill… I made a dent, but I wasn’t strong enough on my own so I called the police.”

When police arrived they knocked the door down straightaway and Raffaele followed them into the room.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “It was hard to tell it was Meredith at first but Amanda started crying and screaming. I dragged her away because I didn’t want her to see it, it was so horrible.

“It seems her killer came through the window because it was smashed and there was glass all over the place. It was so sinister because other parts of the house were just as normal.”

Raffaele, a computer science student, said Meredith had recently started seeing an Italian neighbour called Giacamo [sic B] who lived in the apartment beneath the girls.

He said: “Meredith was always smiling and happy. She was really popular and it’s horrible that someone would want to hurt her.”


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