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Saturday, September 14, 2013

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

Posted by Hopeful





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 09/14/13 at 10:17 PM by Hopeful. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, November 01, 2012

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

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

Posted on 11/01/12 at 10:37 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



So we are being told by those who knew her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 08/15/12 at 08:51 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


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

Posted on 05/26/12 at 07:24 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, December 31, 2011

How Meredith’s London Typically Celebrates Its New Year’s Eve

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Happy days. Meredith was born in London, and spent 20 of her 22 years here (read from the bottom post upward). Including 20 New Years’ Eves.

Posted on 12/31/11 at 06:25 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Meredith’s England: How Italy’s LA7 TV Captured It One Year Ago

Posted by Peter Quennell

A repeat of Main Poster Nicki’s post one year ago on LA7’s kind caring pro-Meredith documentary, unfortunately aired only in Italian. No US or UK network has captured Meredith’s story in English yet in a documentary or a film, though we know several would now really like to try, if Meredith’s family choose to say yes.

Below: Very moving scene from Meredith’s funeral, as her coffin is brought to Croydon Parish Church

Below: Croydon Parish Church (St John the Baptist) where 400 attended Meredith’s funeral mid-Dec 2007

Below: Reverend Colin Boswell conducted Meredith’s funeral service, and tells of pain at its long delay

“It was a very sad day, sad because of her horrible death, for the pain her family were experiencing at that time - pain they are still feeling right now. The family had to wait for six weeks before they could bury her, she was only 21 years old. Her family showed great strength and courage. We gathered together here in the church. There were many friends from school, teachers, university companions, friends, neighbours. We tried to play down our sadness as much as we could, to reflect upon the goodness of her life, her beauty; trying thus to concentrate on the positive characteristics of Meredith and of her existence which we had shared.”

Below: One of several shots of the Kercher family in Perugia, their only direct presences here

Stephanie: “Mez was so important for so many people for her spontaneous, smiling and altruistic personality. We are trying to understand with great difficulty why she was taken away in such a cruel way.”

Below: Several images of Meredith appear late - documentary could have used fresh images in first part

Below: Image from a segment on Meredith’s starring in a music video, linked at top-right here

Below: One of many intensely moving segments on Meredith’s Perugia friend Samantha Rodenhurst

“I’d only known her for five weeks, but when you are in a foreign land, you become friends very quickly. You depend on each other for so many things, emotional support, language support, advice, information. We became close rather quickly, even though we didn’t ever have the opportunity to know more about each other’s pasts. I think at first she reminded me of the friends I used to have at home… In fact we became good friends at once.”

Below: Start of a long segment on University of Leeds where Meredith’s activities were described

Below: One of various scenes at the University tending to show women students Meredith’s age

Below: First of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

Yes especially in the beginning it was talked about a lot. But now it’s almost disappeared. I don’t think it was excessive; I think the media concentrated just on some aspects, just the ones they thought would make interesting news, like the war in Afghanistan, the news which create a sensation they keep showing. But probably they don’t report the whole story. I think that in the case of Meredith they concentrated on just a few things exaggerating them, leaving out others. And now, for the family, it’s been going on for too long. They’re going back over the same things.

Below: Second of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

She is remembered here. Services have been held and there is a memorial to her. There is much sadness.

Below: Third of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

It’s think that for the family it’s been going on for far too long. The media can’t just talk about it the same way they did in the beginning.

Below: Fourth of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

Our media pass very quickly from one thing to another. Sometimes they are very mistaken: perhaps they don’t give some things the attention and depth that they really deserve.

Below: Another intensely moving segment on Meredith’s Perugia friend Samantha Rodenhurst

“Horrible -  it was a horrible, terrifying moment.  I was in a complete state of shock I couldn’t feel anything - I think that when you are in such a state it’s almost impossible to feel anything. I didn’t cry much that evening; I was in too much shock.  I couldn’t do anything.”

“After the funeral service, we planted a tree at the school: a symbolic place where people can come to remember her and pray for her.”

Below: Storefront sign in Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith lived till she was 18

Below: Wider shot of Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith lived till she was 18

Below: A cafe in Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith often ate out

Below: The owner of the cafe describes often serving Meredith cheeseburgers and chips

She was always a very striking girl - a very beautiful girl.  Now it’s a been quite a while, because she went off to college.  She used to come here once a week, sometimes with her family.  She would order a cheeseburger with chips and a milkshake.

Below: The newsroom of the Croydon Guardian which has provided the best coverage in the UK

Below: Croydon Guardian reporter Kirsty Whalley who we have praised here for her outstanding articles

“Meredith’s background is solid, very proper middle-upper class. She was a girl from a very good family. Meredith’s family is reserved and their friends are acting according to the family’s wishes: no publicity. The family was surprised by the number of people attending the funeral, friends, neighbors, and former classmates. They like to remember her happy smile, because she was a happy person. She went to Croydon Old Palace School, very exclusive, prestigious and very expensive, where she made many friends.  She loved to write and loved the media; and certainly she wanted to travel and to have experiences of new places. Her brother gave an address in her honour in which he said he wanted to always remember her so jovial, happy, always ready to make people laugh; that he wanted to remember her smile.”

Below: The entrance to the church, Croydon Parish (St John the Baptist) where Meredith’s funeral was held

Below: The floral arrangement at the funeral of Meredith (Mez) put together by her friends

Below: One of the several intensely moving images of the cemetery where Meredith hopefully lies in peace

Below: Another of several intensely moving images of the cemetery where Meredith hopefully lies in peace

Below: The final of many images of Meredith in the documentary which rises to linger in full-screen

Below: Three images of the conclusion of the dcumentary, for which a translation is provided above

Merdith Kercher was killed in Peruga on 1 November 2007. Amanda Knox e Raffaele Sollecito were arrested on November 6th 2007. They have been charged with voluntary murder and sexual violence.


The verdict of the Court of Cassazione is expected by December 2009. The Ivorian citizen Rudy Guede has already been sentenced to 30 years by the GUP of Perugia in a fast track trial.


Patrick Lumumba, accused by Amanda Knox, was cleared of all charges after two weeks of detention in the Perugia jail.

Posted on 10/31/10 at 12:14 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Meredith’s Early Days In Croydon, South London, And How Special She Was To Family And Friends

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





The photos here are of Meredith’s school - Old Palace School, the private school on two campuses in the Croydon area.

In American terms, this is a kindergarten-to-12th grade (K-12) all-girls school, so it was the only school that Meredith ever attended. It has an outstanding reputation.

Meredith would have worn that same green uniform that you can see in some of the shots.

Meredith was not actually born in the very lively borough of Croydon. She was born about 8 miles north, in Southwark (scroll down here) on the south bank of the Thames - which is if anything even livelier.

Her family moved south to the Coulsdon part of Croydon, and she spent almost all of her first 18 years here, after which, she headed to Leeds.

Meredith’s family’s very strong emphasis on education and excellence in general had already paid off for Meredith in two impressive ways.

  • Meredith was admitted to the very hard-to-get-into Leeds University which is often rated fourth in the UK after Oxford, Cambridge, and London.

  • And she won one of Europe’s much competed-for Erasmus scholarship which assured she was very well-funded in Perugia.

In June of last year, her father, John, said that Meredith’s emerging aim on graduation was to head for the international organizations in Brussels. Brussels of course is where the European Community has its headquarters, and there are probably more international bodies located there than in any other city in the world. (Geneva would probably come second.)

if Meredith made it to Brussels, she could have become a real mover and shaker.. Earthling seems to have had it just right in this post last November.


The UK writers Paul Russell and Johnson had access to Meredith’s family and friends in writing their generally very good book Darkness Descending.

Here below they describe how really special Meredith was to her family and to her friends. 


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


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

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

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


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

For all four children the fees climbed into the £100,000s over the years. In effect, John and Arline Kercher gave up the family’s material aspirations - the dream of owning a well-kept, well-appointed house in a smart part of London, nice cars, expensive foreign holidays, a fat pension to look forward to, a comfortable inheritance to pass on ...

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

Arline was too busy being a full-time mum of four to go back to work. Following their divorce, both of them lived in reduced circumstances in order to give Meredith more than they could really afford.

But both teachers and schoolfriends alike say Meredith benefited immensely from the school’s renowned approach of concentrating totally on the individual and supporting pupils to a degree that the state sector educators can only dream of.

A family friend, who knew Meredith when she was in her early teens, said:

    Meredith was the kind of girl who could have coped going to the local comprehensive. She wasn’t a snob at all. She was very much heads down when it came to school and homework, a can-do, resourceful type of person. No moaning or skiving off She wasn’t laid back, by any means. However, I don’t think she would have turned out as wellrounded and confident as she was, if she’d gone off to any old school.

    I think John was very proud that he’d taken the decision to send his girls to a good one. Everything revolved around education in the family. That was pardy down to Arline. She wasn’t pushy but she realized the value of qualifications, especially coming from Pakistan, where families want their kids to do well. I got the impression it was a case of: ‘If we give our kids a good education, that’s the best we can do for them.’


Though the Kerchers didn’t have much money, neighbours remember the house as being full of life. It only had three bedrooms between four kids and one adult, but it was one of those homes where friends always came to play, because it was welcoming and exciting. Family friends said that Meredith and Stephanie were always going to parties when they were kids rather than playing out in the street.

The Old Palace School in Croydon is a rarefied oasis in a gnarl of urban sprawl. Meredith’s creativity was allowed to bloom in an atmosphere of learning, where pupils are encouraged to be independent whilst being somewhat protected from the outside world.

One former pupil, who graduated from university just before Meredith moved to Perugia, said:

    I’m not surprised she chose to study abroad. A lot of girls would be put off, but she was quietly capable all along. You learn to be like that at the OPS [Old Palace School]. The school prides itself on churning out self-contained women who can stand on their own two feet, especially when they move into the outside world. It’s not like Rodean or somewhere totally up there. But Mez was like that in Years Eight and Nine.

The Elizabethan buildings, standing in the shadow of Croydon Parish Church, are home to perfectly manicured gardens, an indoor swimming pool and five state-of-the-art IT suites. The high walls and intercommed security gates cut the school off from the local area, a run-down mix of high-density terraced houses and flats, of closed-down pubs and a High Street dominated by charity shops, pound stores and cheap fast-food restaurants.


Though the school has a strong religious tradition - founded by an archbishop, supported by a Christian foundation and for 600 years the summer residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury - Meredith wasn’t particularly committed. One of the school’s mottos is ‘For the Church and People of God’. But she did help out with fundraising for the Catholic charity Caritas, through the school’s long-established links with international aid programmes.

Curiously, one of the suspects later accused of her murder would seek refuge in a Caritas centre abroad whilst he was on the run.

The financial sacrifices took their toll on John and Arline. The family home, a 1930s-style suburban semi in Fairdene Road, Old Coulsdon, where Arline lived with the kids, fell into disrepair. The gutters hung off the roof and porch and Arline made do with tatty black curtains that covered the front windows, the glass bevelling under the weight of the old lead inlays.

The street was not in the poshest part of Coulsdon. The residents were a mixture of proud homeowners with tidy lawns, commuters who travelled from South Coulsdon station at the end of the street to good jobs in London, and poorer renters.


The situation was exacerbated when Arline fell into ill-health with a kidney condition.

John Kercher moved into a newly built townhouse in a shabby part of West Croydon with a large ethnic population. There is a photographic warehouse at one end of the busy slip road and a large cemetery at the other.

Today neighbours complain of the shootings and violence between gangs in Croydon and nearby Thornton Heath. Amid the weedy gardens, littered with abandoned mattresses and bed frames, John Kercher’s house stands out as being smart. The walls are covered in creepers and high bushes, preserving a quiet space. He often retreats into his small rear garden to write.


But the sacrifices were worth it. The sight of the Kercher sisters sitting on the bus to school, wearing their smart dark-green school jumpers over light-coloured collared cotton dresses, with their hair immaculately groomed, stuck in people’s minds.

So much so that after her death one former pupil called Christina from Eastbourne wrote:

    1 didn’t know Meredith but 1 used to go to OPS and remember seeing her and her older sister on the bus on the way to school when they were very young. 1 just wanted to say to Stephanie that 1 couldn’t get the image of you and your little sister out of my head all day.

The other motto of the school is ‘The End Crowns the Work’. Meredith was good at creative writing. The staff remember her as a model pupil, self-disciplined and focused, even in her formative years. A former staff member said:

    Meredith was never in any trouble whatsoever. She was always smiling, just like you see on the photographs. She was very popular. Meredith favoured the humanities over maths or science. She was an innovative, bright thinker.

    Leadership qualities are encouraged at school and that rubbed off on Meredith. She wasn’t a pushover or a follower. She would have gone far in her chosen profession. We knew she would go far.


Though the school is very competitive - it won Independent School of the Year in 2005/06 - and many pupils take their GCSEs early in Year 10, Meredith took it all in her stride. Pals say she wasn’t competitive but she did enjoy netball and running.

Almost all of Meredith’s friends remember her as ‘the girl who was always smiling’ or ‘the girl with the beautiful smile’. They call her simply Mez. One schoolfriend remembered how Mez pulled her through the stress of coursework and exams at school:

    Mez was warm. I’d say the word is cosy or cuddly; she had that kind of aura. She would give you a hug and she was more interested in you than talking about her. I remember when I was burnt out doing revision and Mez helped me get organized. Mez liked doing coursework in English, English Lit and history. Very even-tempered, I don’t know anyone who ever fell out with her the whole time we were at school. I think because she was youngest in a big family, she was practical, a quick learner, or rather, well organized.

    There were some girls there, proper Surrey girls, who waste their time and get through with extra help. But Mez was hard-working and steady. Her mum and dad weren’t rich - she was there to get on.

One memory of her, from younger days, particularly stood out for her father. Meredith really liked Halloween. She made costumes from bin liners, carved out pumpkin lanterns with her family and played trick-or-treat on the neighbours.

Later John Kercher would describe it as ironic and tragic that she would die so terribly only one day after Halloween.


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

From pages 129 to 134 of the Pocket Books book Darkness Descending.

Posted on 04/22/10 at 03:09 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Meredith Would Have Been 24 Today: See Why She So Loved Her Home City

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Meredith was born in Southwark south of the Thames in London (above video and first below) on 28 December 1985.

Now and then, someone who was friends with Meredith drops us a note. They generally want to offer a little appreciation, say what we do here is helpful to them, and underline how very much Meredith is missed.

Though we never ask, sometimes they add an insight about Meredith. An insight offered more than most is how much of an archetypal Londoner Meredith always remained.

The outgoing confidence, the sharp intelligence, the fierce wit and and fast pace are qualities no good Londoners would be without. We believe Meredith’s family is wishing that this is perhaps how she might best be remembered.

Fill a city with people not too unlike Meredith, and videos like these result. London, a place where her spirit lives on.




Posted on 12/28/09 at 02:48 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LA7 TV’s Documentary On Meredith’s Case #3 The English Segments

Posted by Nicki

Below: Very moving scene from Meredith’s funeral, as her coffin is brought to Croydon Parish Church

Below: Croydon Parish Church (St John the Baptist) where 400 attended Meredith’s funeral mid-Dec 2007

Below: Reverend Colin Boswell conducted Meredith’s funeral service, and tells of pain at its long delay

“It was a very sad day, sad because of her horrible death, for the pain her family were experiencing at that time - pain they are still feeling right now. The family had to wait for six weeks before they could bury her, she was only 21 years old. Her family showed great strength and courage. We gathered together here in the church. There were many friends from school, teachers, university companions, friends, neighbours. We tried to play down our sadness as much as we could, to reflect upon the goodness of her life, her beauty; trying thus to concentrate on the positive characteristics of Meredith and of her existence which we had shared.”

Below: One of several shots of the Kercher family in Perugia, their only direct presences here

Stephanie: “Mez was so important for so many people for her spontaneous, smiling and altruistic personality. We are trying to understand with great difficulty why she was taken away in such a cruel way.”

Below: Several images of Meredith appear late - documentary could have used fresh images in first part

Below: Image from a segment on Meredith’s starring in a music video, linked at top-right here

Below: One of many intensely moving segments on Meredith’s Perugia friend Samantha Rodenhurst

“I’d only known her for five weeks, but when you are in a foreign land, you become friends very quickly. You depend on each other for so many things, emotional support, language support, advice, information. We became close rather quickly, even though we didn’t ever have the opportunity to know more about each other’s pasts. I think at first she reminded me of the friends I used to have at home… In fact we became good friends at once.”

Below: Start of a long segment on University of Leeds where Meredith’s activities were described

Below: One of various scenes at the University tending to show women students Meredith’s age

Below: First of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

Yes especially in the beginning it was talked about a lot. But now it’s almost disappeared. I don’t think it was excessive; I think the media concentrated just on some aspects, just the ones they thought would make interesting news, like the war in Afghanistan, the news which create a sensation they keep showing. But probably they don’t report the whole story. I think that in the case of Meredith they concentrated on just a few things exaggerating them, leaving out others. And now, for the family, it’s been going on for too long. They’re going back over the same things.

Below: Second of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

She is remembered here. Services have been held and there is a memorial to her. There is much sadness.

Below: Third of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

It’s think that for the family it’s been going on for far too long. The media can’t just talk about it the same way they did in the beginning.

Below: Fourth of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

Our media pass very quickly from one thing to another. Sometimes they are very mistaken: perhaps they don’t give some things the attention and depth that they really deserve.

Below: Another intensely moving segment on Meredith’s Perugia friend Samantha Rodenhurst

“Horrible -  it was a horrible, terrifying moment.  I was in a complete state of shock I couldn’t feel anything - I think that when you are in such a state it’s almost impossible to feel anything. I didn’t cry much that evening; I was in too much shock.  I couldn’t do anything.”

“After the funeral service, we planted a tree at the school: a symbolic place where people can come to remember her and pray for her.”

Below: Storefront sign in Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith lived till she was 18

Below: Wider shot of Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith lived till she was 18

Below: A cafe in Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith often ate out

Below: The owner of the cafe describes often serving Meredith cheeseburgers and chips

She was always a very striking girl - a very beautiful girl.  Now it’s a been quite a while, because she went off to college.  She used to come here once a week, sometimes with her family.  She would order a cheeseburger with chips and a milkshake.

Below: The newsroom of the Croydon Guardian which has provided the best coverage in the UK

Below: Croydon Guardian reporter Kirsty Whalley who we have praised here for her outstanding articles

“Meredith’s background is solid, very proper middle-upper class. She was a girl from a very good family. Meredith’s family is reserved and their friends are acting according to the family’s wishes: no publicity. The family was surprised by the number of people attending the funeral, friends, neighbors, and former classmates. They like to remember her happy smile, because she was a happy person. She went to Croydon Old Palace School, very exclusive, prestigious and very expensive, where she made many friends.  She loved to write and loved the media; and certainly she wanted to travel and to have experiences of new places. Her brother gave an address in her honour in which he said he wanted to always remember her so jovial, happy, always ready to make people laugh; that he wanted to remember her smile.”

Below: The entrance to the church, Croydon Parish (St John the Baptist) where Meredith’s funeral was held

Below: The floral arrangement at the funeral of Meredith (Mez) put together by her friends

Below: One of the several intensely moving images of the cemetery where Meredith hopefully lies in peace

Below: Another of several intensely moving images of the cemetery where Meredith hopefully lies in peace

Below: The final of many images of Meredith in the documentary which rises to linger in full-screen

Below: Three images of the conclusion of the dcumentary, for which a translation is provided above

Merdith Kercher was killed in Peruga on 1 November 2007. Amanda Knox e Raffaele Sollecito were arrested on November 6th 2007. They have been charged with voluntary murder and sexual violence.


The verdict of the Court of Cassazione is expected by December 2009. The Ivorian citizen Rudy Guede has already been sentenced to 30 years by the GUP of Perugia in a fast track trial.


Patrick Lumumba, accused by Amanda Knox, was cleared of all charges after two weeks of detention in the Perugia jail.

Posted on 11/10/09 at 09:38 PM by Nicki. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Kristian Leontiou’s “Some Say” Video - And Yes, That Really IS Meredith You See There

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 06/06/09 at 10:45 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, June 05, 2009

Today The Media Picks Up On That Tragically Evocative Music Video

Posted by Peter Quennell


New traffic for the proliferating copies of this music video below is already up in the many thousands.

The great Italian newspaper Corriere and various others are today running it on their own websites. The Daily Mail has a report on it.

And Sky News today (click above for their story) had this to say:

Meredith appears as the enigmatic love interest in the song called Some Say by London-born musician Kristian Leontiou.

The 2007 video was shot just weeks before the 21-year-old was sexually assaulted, stabbed and left to bleed to death in her bedroom in the Italian town of Perugia.

The video starts mysteriously, with dim lighting and Meredith walking down the stairs of what appears to be a church.

She then pushes through double doors and looks directly at the camera while the band’s frontman sings the words “I’ll be on my way… show me where the answers lay”.

As the video progresses the lighting level rises and it turns to full colour before snow lands gently on Meredith’s dark hair.

Francesco Maresca, the Kercher family’s Italian lawyer, said: “The singer in the music video was a friend of Meredith’s.

“I don’t know exactly what the relationship was between the singer and Meredith, but I believe they were in the same group of friends.”

Although the video was posted just days after Meredith’s death 18 months ago, her involvement in the video was only recently revealed by her family.

And well-wishers are already using the video’s comment box to leave messages for the murdered Leeds University student.

Posted on 06/05/09 at 11:40 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Haunting New Images Of Meredith In A Music Video

Posted by Peter Quennell

An Italian TV report that was just posted on YouTube.

It is about a music video that Meredith had a very moving role in, before her departure from London. How truly beautiful she is looking in this one.

This YouTube link was sent in by a helpful TJMK reader. Meredith’s family had agreed that the music video could be re-released now with her role in it revealed.

We haven’t yet tracked down Meredith’s video itself and any tips on that would be really appreciated…. Okay we have it already.

We’ll post the embedded version right after the trial days. Some more heartfelt comments about Meredith in the video on the PMF forum.

Posted on 06/03/09 at 09:59 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Meredith’s London #2: More On Where She Came From, And Probably Had Some Fun

Posted by Peter Quennell


[click for larger images]

These shots show the rest of the Thames-side area fronting the neighborhood where Meredith was born.

Behind all of this? Some brick row houses and some older concrete blocks. The area was badly bombed in World War II, and although it’s moving up now, it has a way to go to match this out front.

We think that if Meredith did walk this fun area, or visit these important attractions (a common destination for London school parties), it is this riverfront she would have known best.

The National Theater is in the top shots. Then the Tate Modern Gallery, both outside and inside. And then the new Globe Theater. And finally the Greater London Authority, in the round building at bottom.

Important and interesting. Very crowded on summer evenings. This entire waterfront would take 20 minutes walking fast there. But who walks fast there?!

We’re not including Coulsdon in Croydon, south London, where Meredith grew up, as Meredith’s family still lives there.

You can see what a nice modern town she lived in via Google’s images here. This was her very-much admired school: the Old Palace.

Nice neighborhoods all. Meredith’s Leeds is here, and Meredith’s Perugia is here. More to come.

Posted on 11/20/08 at 03:42 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meredith’s London #1: Her Connection With This, The Coolest Part Of Town?

Posted by Peter Quennell


[click for larger images]

Appropriate to a significant life (and Meredith’s life is becoming VERY significant) she lived in three quite spectacular cities.

In London (18-plus years), in Leeds (two years), and of course in Perugia (two months).

London is evolving fast these days, and some of the developments there have a real beauty. No part of London is changing more spectacularly than the south bank of the Thames (left above).

Meredith’s main connection with this precise area? She was born here. In Southwark. Her family later moved south, but this is where she is from.

Meredith would later pass through this area a lot if she took the train to central London, just north, to get to the theaters and museums and Oxford Street stores.

She might very well have hung out here with friends. Everybody does. It is one of the number one places for walking and talking and looking in the evenings.

And we’d be surprised if Meredith never ever rode The Eye. The National Theater and the Tate Modern museum (next posts) are just a few steps from here to the east.

At night, with the parliament over there, and all the soft floodlighting, this is a place of quite haunting beauty. 

She chose well…  Meredith’s Leeds is here, and Meredith’s Perugia is here. More to come.

Posted on 11/19/08 at 03:17 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Meredith’s Leeds #2: The Large, Popular, Very Respected University,

Posted by Peter Quennell


[click for larger images]

Meredith studied at this hard-to-get-into university with the excellent reputation for two years. She would have returned for a third for sure.

These aerial shots show just the central campus area. Factoring in the many halls of residence, and the outlying schools, the total campus area must occupy several square miles.

Meredith would probably have spent most of her time in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (the white building at left-center above facing left, and at center below), the main library (the round building behind it) and the Students Union (the large cluster of buildings at far-left center above, and at just below left-center below).

Please look for a much fuller description soon, in a new post coming up.

Below: Two outdoor and two indoor shots of the Michael Sadler building housing the School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Below: Two shots of the Parkinson building, through which Meredith might haver walked if she came by bus

Below: A shot and a diagram of the Brotherton Library; the Italian Section is two floors below the main reading room here

Below: Outdoor and indoor shots of the Students Union which houses cafeterias, book stores, health facilities, and recreation

Below: Some of the buildings in the modern style - some new, some from the 1960s, many connected by overhead passage-ways

Below: Night falls on the university; with 30,000 students studying there, you would never normally see it an un-peopled as this!

Posted on 11/02/08 at 05:00 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Meredith’s Leeds #1: The SPECTACULAR Downtown

Posted by Peter Quennell


[click for larger images]

Meredith lived two years in Leeds. She walked these places?

SURE she did. Everybody does. The Leeds downtown has to be one of the most successful in Europe. Built originally with the enormous wealth that resided in the town, and lovingly rebuilt again in parts after World War II.

You are looking here at four scenes. First, the myriad of covered passages that criss-cross the older shopping streets. Second, the huge covered market just nearby. Third, the more modern shopping, again very close. And finally, the public area in front of the town hall, where even more shopping - art-and-craft stalls - is periodically established. 

One incredible walkable area. Even if she didn’t shop it - and that would surprise us! - Meredith surely loved to walk it.

She would of course have been back. At least for one more year. And maybe for grad school.

Posted on 10/31/08 at 11:11 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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