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Monday, April 15, 2013

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 04/15/13 at 12:28 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, March 25, 2013

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 03/25/13 at 06:49 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyOfficially involvedVictims familyCrime hypothesesVarious scenariosAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann outcomeMeredith-case hoaxesDNA contam hoax
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

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

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

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

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

And good photos and another report in the Daily Mail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 10/30/12 at 10:17 PM 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 09:51 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

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

1. On Not Ever Wanting To Let Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.. And On The Highly Controversial Interim Appeal Verdict

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 04/28/12 at 07:51 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, April 27, 2012

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 04/27/12 at 02:04 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

1. On First Impressions

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

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

2. On Rudy Guede Plus… Who?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.. On Why John Was Inspired To Write

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. On The Hellman Court Not Examing All Evidence

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

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

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

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

“It doesn’t make sense.”

What does he think happened?

“No idea,” he replies, flatly.

Does he believe Amanda Knox killed Meredith?

He sighs. “Look into my eyes.”

They are full of tears.

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

5. On Those Profiteering From Meredith’s Death

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

They have turned down countless lucrative media offers.

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

6. On How Family Life Carries On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. On John’s Continuing Journalist Career

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

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

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

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

Posted on 04/26/12 at 02:39 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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John Kerchers Book “Meredith” Is Published In London; US + Italian Publishers Eager To Follow

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

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

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

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

Posted on 04/26/12 at 01:28 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I repeat it over and over to myself: ‘Not beautiful Meredith . . . Not beautiful Meredith . . .’

Numb with shock, I cannot even cry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When she arrived, she talked eagerly about Perugia.

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

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

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

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

‘But,’ she had whispered, ‘you know what your father’s like . . . 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The alibis of Knox and Sollecito kept changing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did stress cause my stroke?

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

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

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

How the Foreign Office let us down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 04/21/12 at 08:22 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

First Post Reports That Meredith’s Family Have Joined In The Supreme Court Appeal

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click image above for a long and impressively fast report by Andrea Vogt about the Supreme Court appeal: and Meredith’s family being a party to it.

Andrea Vogt also notes the huge mismatch between the Hellman outcome and its terms of reference which Attorney General Galati targeted in his remarks today (see post below) and which the Supreme Court, based on past performance. may not take kindly to..

First the Court of Cassation must decide whether to consider the case or not. Once under consideration, if the court agrees with prosecutors, a new appeals trial is triggered. If they disagree, the current acquittal stands.

“They [the petitioning lawyers] will seek nullification of the second instance decision on points of law,” explained Stefano Maffei, an expert on Italian criminal law. “If they are successful, the case will then return to the Court of Appeals for a further assessment of the merit of the case.”

And on the problematic Amanda Knox book:

While US media this week described Knox as having bowled over editors with her “smart, self-assured and intelligent” manner, some in Italy have been less than impressed, instead criticising her for everything from her appearance since returning home to her latest attempts to profit from Meredith Kercher’s murder.

The real question is, how much exactly will Knox reveal? Will she publish all the letters she received in prison… including those fawning pleas for first interviews? Will she describe the jealousies of fellow prisoners, which she finally overcame working for the prison dispensary?

How much will she disclose about Rocco Girlanda, the Umbrian parliamentarian who used his parliamentary right to enter the Capanne prison at any time to regularly visit her and bring her gifts? Girlanda eventually capitalised on those visits to write his own book in Italian - a cloying account of those visits in which Knox’s letters to him were reprinted after being censored and redacted.

We will be drawing attention in a later post to several hundred additional questions. 

Posted on 02/14/12 at 01:32 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

John Kercher’s Book “Meredith” To Be Published By The Second Largest Publishing Group In The World

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Giant publisher Hachette Livre’s headquarters is in the 15th Arrondissement of Paris to the right]

London-based publishers Hodder and Stoughton (image below) are an arm of the French publishing giant Hachette Livre.

Hodder and Stoughton have purchased the rights to “Meredith” from John Kercher’s hustling literary agent Ben Mason in very competitive bidding at the Frankfurt Book Fair.  From the Bookseller website:

Editorial director Fenella Bates bought world English rights from Ben Mason at Fox Mason. The book will be published in hardback in April 2012.

Billed as a “celebration of Meredith’s life”, the title is also a father’s story of losing his daughter, and will be the first account of the lives of the Kercher family since her murder four years ago.

Bates said: “Here at Hodder we feel this is an important story that needs to be told. We are privileged that John Kercher has entrusted us with his book, in which he’ll talk for the first time about the case and Meredith’s life.”

John Kercher has had a number of other books published. He completed two books about two two years ago as his literary tributes to Meredith, and his way of conveying her to the world.

We mentioned the other book early this year: The Strange Case of Miss Carla.  That book is a collection of children’s tales John created which Meredith loved to hear in her teens.

Her family prefer that proceeds from “Meredith” go toward an Italian remembrance of Meredith which they have not yet defined. They chose this as their goal as Meredith really loved Italy and because Italy is still obviously fascinated with her.

Her case in Italy is always referred to as the Meredith case, not the Amanda Knox case, and her Mediterranean looks, her wide range of talents and accomplishments, her strong sense of purpose, her empathy for other people, and her sense of humor are much admired.

Below: images of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and of the London headquarters of Hodder and Stoughton in Euston Street.

Posted on 10/14/11 at 11:02 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Sunday, October 09, 2011

“Wrong To Capitalise On Any Murder. Not Just For Us, But For Anyone”

Posted by Peter Quennell

Helen Weathers reports on a face-to-face interview with Meredith’s father John in the Daily Mail.

On John’s memories of Meredith which haunt him daily: 

‘Meredith was extremely intelligent and humorous as a child. She had an almost adult sense of humour, and was always very thoughtful and considerate — sensitive to other people,’ says John, who was divorced from Meredith’s mother in 1997 after 20 years of marriage.

‘Meredith was very witty. She had quite an original line in humour, what you might call a barbed wit, I suppose, but not hurtful; never hurtful.

‘I remember once coming back from a holiday in Egypt and showing Meredith a photograph of myself wearing a floppy sunhat I’d bought. She took one look and said: “Dad, just tell me you didn’t pay any money for that hat.”’
Amanda Knox cries following the verdict that overturns her conviction and acquits her of murdering her British roomate Meredith Kercher, at the Perugia court in Italy

Like her father, Meredith loved the relaxed Mediterranean way of life. Indeed, her love of Italy started on family holidays to Rimini and continued on school trips and exchanges. John was not surprised when she chose to study Italian and European studies at Leeds University.

‘The irony was that after two years at Leeds she found they’d accidentally put her on a three-year course which would have excluded the year in Italy, so she fought to get put back on the four-year course and get out there,’ says John.

‘She had the choice of going to Rome, Milan or Perugia. While she loved Rome and would have liked Milan, she felt she’d have a better chance of making friends more easily in Perugia than in a large city.

‘Meredith was very excited about going. For the first three days she stayed in a small family-run hotel until she found the cottage. She told me her room was a bit small, but the views were beautiful.’

John last saw his daughter a month before she was murdered. She’d returned to Britain on a flying visit to buy some clothes for the Italian winter and arranged to meet her father for coffee at an Italian restaurant in Croydon.

‘Meredith had bought a new pair of boots which she wanted to show me. I think they were leather with a small heel. And that’s the image of Meredith I want to remember: my daughter smiling, laughing and showing me her new boots.’

On the media speculation about the megabucks that Amanda Knox and her clan could make.

‘I think it would be more sensitive to Meredith’s memory if Amanda Knox maintained a low profile,’ says John, a freelance journalist, in his first in-depth interview.

The Amanda Knox cult insults my Meredith’s memory: Victim’s father says it’s wrong to capitalise on murder in his first interview since the verdict

‘I don’t want to say anything confrontational, but I believe it is wrong to capitalise on any murder. Not just for us, but for anyone.

‘This cult of celebrity is demeaning to Meredith’s memory, disrespectful. I don’t think Amanda Knox has actively sought out celebrity status; I think that has been created for her. But then again, she hasn’t actively rejected it.

‘It is distressing that all this will go on for a long time and that all the focus is going to be on the defendants for some time yet.

And at the shock of the U-turn first appeal verdict

‘I thought the judge might uphold the conviction but possibly reduce their sentences to be more in line with Guede’s — but not this,’ he says.

‘We thought the original evidence would be upheld, so it is a huge shock. You hope the appeal jury is going to recognise what was established in the first trial. In this case, it wasn’t.’

Posted on 10/09/11 at 02:28 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Andrea Vogt’s Interview With Meredith’s Family In The First Post

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the interview with Arline, Stephanie and Lyle in Perugia yesterday morning.

They miss the most ordinary things - the way she used to come dancing into the living room or rugby tackle her brother… her quick-witted sense of humour.

“It’s so sad. At the age she was killed, there was still so much ahead. We had so many laughs and good times ahead that we will never have.”

Posted on 10/05/11 at 03:20 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Barbie Nadeau’s Interview With Meredith’s Family In The Daily Beast

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the interview with Arline, Stephanie and Lyle in Perugia yesterday morning.

They say they haven’t had time to digest the news that Knox and Sollecito weren’t part of the scenario they’ve played over in their minds so many times. They say they will wait the 90 days until the appellate judge’s motivation for acquittal is released before deciding whether to alter what they really think happened that night. In the meantime, they remain in an unimaginable state of limbo, caught somewhere between the hyped celebrations of Knox’s release and their own bottomless void.

Posted on 10/05/11 at 03:11 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, October 03, 2011

ABC News Reports On The Low-Key But Bewildered Reaction Of Meredith’s Family

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click image above for Colleen Curry’s report. An excerpt:

The Kercher family, who earlier in the day professed its belief that Knox was involved in Meredith’s death, remained behind in the courtroom long after the Knox family and its supporters poured into the streets in celebration. Arline Kercher was held upright by her daughter and attorney as she made her way through a crowd of reporters to a waiting vehicle.

The article mentions that Meredith’s family has issued this brief statement.

We respect the decision of the judges. But we do not understand how the decision of the first trial could be so radically overturned. We still trust the Italian judicial system, and hope that the truth will eventually emerge.

Posted on 10/03/11 at 09:58 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Awaiting Appeal Court Verdict, Arline And Lyle And Stephanie In First Press Conference:

Posted by Peter Quennell

The family was fair but firm that their priorities are justice for Meredith and her remembrance.

This first report on the press conference (probably the first of two) is from the Daily Telegraph.

Stephanie Kercher said her sister had been “hugely forgotten” in the furore around the appeal launched by American student Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito over the November 2007 killing in Perugia, Italy.

Sitting alongside her mother Arline and brother Lyle, she told a press conference: “It is very difficult to keep her memory alive in all of this.”

Miss Kercher said forgiveness “does not come into it” at the moment.  She went on: “It would be very difficult to forgive anything at this stage.

“What everyone needs to remember is ... the brutality of what happened that night, everything that Meredith must have felt that night, everything she went through, the fear and the terror, and not knowing why.

“She doesn’t deserve that, no-one deserves that.”

Meredith’s mother Arline refused to say whether she believed Knox killed her daughter but said she trusted the Italian justice system.

She added: “You have to go by the evidence because there is nothing else. What I want, what they want doesn’t come into it.

“It is what the police have found, what the science has found, what the evidence is and that’s all you can go on.

“It is to find out what happened to Meredith and to get some justice really.”

Posted on 10/03/11 at 02:04 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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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 07:21 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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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 10:44 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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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 09:12 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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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 Peter Quennell

[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 09:01 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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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 06:05 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, February 28, 2011

Andrea Vogt: Supreme Court Report Highlights Amanda Knox Mention To Mom She Was There

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Amanda Knox and her mother in courtroom when Edda Mellas testified 19 July 2009]

Andrea Vogt in the Seattle PI translates from the Cassation Report described in our two previous posts.

A sentencing report just released by the highest Italian appeals court sheds new light on why so many Italian judges have maintained Amanda Knox was involved in her roommate’s murder.

The document, among others, cites a conversation Knox had with her parents while under surveillance during a prison visit in which she said “I was there,” apparently referring to the night of the murder.

Amanda Kox’s remark was recorded at Capanne Prison and was long public knowledge, but that the Supreme Court listed it among other evidence of involvement in this report is significant.  The report summarises what is the evidence against all three, especially that against Rudy Guede.

The court…said that based on the 43 wounds to Kercher’s body (and the time it would take to inflict them) that it was… probable that Guede and two others forcibly held Kercher down, threatened, taunted and eventually fatally stabbed her.

The Court’s quoted language is extremely hard and gives a sense that the judges were appalled. The Court’s report has been out in Italy for over four days now - but the Seattle PI’s is the first extensive US or UK media summary.

The US and UK media have a pretty consistent habit of ignoring these inconvenient reports.

Posted on 02/28/11 at 06:07 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedVictims familyPublic evidenceCellphone activityAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann appealFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamAmanda Knox
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Perhaps Heeding Meredith Family Pleas And Our Open Letter Lifetime Claim Movie Now Less Shrill

Posted by Peter Quennell

If we are reading this somewhat cagey explanation by Lifetime executive producer Craig Piligian correctly, the scenes with Meredith have almost disappeared.

Lifetime is set to premiere the movie on February 21, but the channel has slightly altered their marketing in response to criticism from both Knox’s lawyers and the family of victim Meredith Kercher.

The channel recently removed the original teaser-trailer for the movie, which stars Hayden Panettiere as Knox, from its website and YouTube, and today replaced it with a new, slightly edited version.

The new promo no longer includes scenes depicting Kercher being assaulted, which caused a stir in the U.K., where she is from, and which her father called “absolutely horrific.”

If this is true then we have to thank you, Lifetime, for a kind gesture that matters a great deal to Meredith’s family and her many supporters worldwide.

Mr Piligian says the movie will air in the US starting 21 February and the UK and some other markets, but no longer in Italy.

Insiders also confirm that Amanda Knox will not air in Italy due to legal reasons, because Knox’s case is ongoing. Knox’s lawyers had sent a letter to Lifetime, asking the network to pull the clips down, arguing that the movie’s depictions might jeopardize her chance of a fair trial. A Lifetime spokesman confirmed that the network received the letter, but beyond that, they have not commented on the controversy.

We also presume that Lifetime had no wish to pin a calunnia target on their own backs,  as the Italian police and investigators and prosecutors may have quietly warned them. 

The producers and cast continue to make some rather loopy claims about how controversial the evidence actually is.

“This is a factual drama and we feel we did a very fair and balanced telling of the story, crafting a script from court records and other public documents,” executive producer Craig Piligian tells TV Guide Magazine.

“At the end of the movie people will be wondering whether she really did or didn’t do the things she’s accused of,” he says. “We weren’t leaning one way or another, but took a very even, fact-based approach, which ultimately allows the viewers to make their own decision.”

Amanda Knox is simply accused? Actually she already was unanimously convicted. The Supreme Court of Cassation has already accepted that all three were party to the attack.

Certainly the conviction is not final until Cassation confirms it (probably by late summer 2012) but that existing Cassation position really means it is all but game over. And Capanne Prison continues of course to be Amanda Knox’s home.

But the auspices behind the movie say they’ve made sure not to take sides in the debate over Knox’s guilt or innocence… Piligian said he screened the movie internally to his staff, and even in-house there’s no consensus on whether or not Knox was involved in the crimes. “Everyone’s divided, and the viewing public will likely be divided as well… That’s what makes this such a great story.”

No consensus? Try again. Read the voluminous evidence rather than simply watching a hedging semi-fictional film

We are finding that maybe 98 out of every 100 bright people who read the Massei report and the Micheli summaries do not have the slightest difficulty seeing that the case has been made and the first verdict a fair one.

We will watch the Lifetime movie for sure on 21 February.

We will be curious to see if Lifetime somehow depicts what a sad drug-driven slide into dependency and desperation the seemingly not-quite-right Amanda Knox appeared to be embarked on.

What a deservedly friendless, obsessive and bizarre person the heavy drug user Raffaele Sollecito seemed to be, despite all his deeply concerned father’s best efforts, in real life.

And what an exceptional fast-track student with an amazing future already mapped out the real victim, Meredith, really was.  We believe Lifetime may have picked up some strong vibes of that.

Posted on 02/11/11 at 01:02 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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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 09:33 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kercher Family Lawyer Walks Out As Amanda Knox Engages In What Looks Like Yet Another Stunt

Posted by Peter Quennell

The other day Meredith’s father John made a strong plea for the cruel and callous PR games to stop.

John Kercher made it pretty clear that he disbelieves EVERYTHING now that Amanda Knox and her parents say in their endless media quotes and appearance.  The English version of John Kercher’s letter is here and the Italian version is here.

Amanda Knox’s mother Edda Mellas was almost immediately reported as reacting to John Kercher thus:

Mellas also addressed the issue today on KIRO Radio in Seattle saying the Kerchers do not “know the whole story.” She said they were not in court except for a few days during Amanda’s trial and feels that they fell “hook, line and sinker” for what their lawyer and prosecutors told them. “They may not have the whole picture,” she said.

That callous and inaccurate reaction did Edda Mellas no good at all. Many who were still cutting her a little slack were appalled by this dishonest and smearing attack.

In fact the Kercher family have been extremely well informed and they have remained singularly cool-headed, dignified and truthful throughout. .

Unlike Edda Mellas they have actually read the Massei Sentencing Report. Unlike Edda Mellas they show no signs of having swallowed anything hook line and sinker. Unlike Edda Mellas they do not again and again lie about basic facts of the case. Unlike Edda Mellas, they did not hide the fact that an innocent man, Patrick Lumumba, was in jail because Amanda Knox lied to put him there. 

And unlike Edda Mellas their view of Amanda Knox’s guilt is no different from maybe 95 per cent of the Italian population. They do get the whole picture.

Time for damage control?  Today in court, Amanda Knox seemed to set out to try something completely different. A limited qualified evasive emotional non-explanation of an explanation. An “I didnt do it but I am so sorry for Meredith and her family anyway” kind of hangout.

To underline his contempt for this ploy, Mr Maresca conspicuously walked out of the court when Amanda Knox started her rambling nervous statement. If the statement actually won any new sympathy for her among the case-watchers in Italy, we are not seeing this reflected in the Italian media reports.

Here is Nick Pisa reporting objectively from Perugia in the Daily Telegraph - in his final para below, it seems he has the same interpretation of the real purpose of Amanda Knox’s statement as we do. 

Knox, 23, broke down several times as she delivered an emotional 20-minute address to the court hearing her formal appeal against conviction, her voice sometimes quavering as she claimed that she had nothing to do with Miss Kercher’s brutal death.

The American dismissed the prosecution’s view of her, saying she was not the “dangerous, diabolical, jealous, uncaring and violent” person depicted during her original trial, telling the court: “That girl is not me.”

Knox also expressed her sympathy towards’s Miss Kercher’s family and friends and said through tears: “I am very sorry that Meredith is no longer here. I have little sisters as well and the thought of being without them terrorises me.

“What you are going through and what Meredith went through is unacceptable and incomprehensible. I remember Meredith and my heart breaks for you. I am honoured to have known her. I don’t know how you must feel, your suffering over a lost life.”

Knox’s words appeared to be in response to John Kercher, Meredith’s father, who recently complained that Knox had been accorded the “status of a minor celebrity” while his daughter was a forgotten victim.

Amazingly, all three of the largest US networks had Ella Mellas on their breakfast shows, unchallenged and fawning, to claim that Amanda Knox’s performance was amazing. Edda Mellas of course speaks no Italian.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Italian reporting highlighted Mr Maresca walking out and reported his highly critical statement verbatim. NO media website today carried a majority of pro-Knox comments.

And in making herself so obviously the center of the universe in her statement, Amanda Knox may have already cooked her own goose with the new judges.

[Below: This now is a full audio recording of the full statement of Amanda Knox with court images ]


Posted on 12/11/10 at 03:43 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009Family/defense hoaxersThe wider contextsHellmann appeal
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Thursday, December 02, 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 12/02/10 at 12:24 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyOfficially involvedVictims familyFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsAmerican context
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1st Appeal Session: Kercher Lawyer Maresca Says Verdict Perfect, Seems Optimistic This Soon Over

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Kercher family lawyer Maresca with Knox defense lawyer Ghirga]

Dario Thuburn of the AFP reports remarks by Kercher family lawyer Francesco Maresca and Meredith’s father John.

A lawyer for Kercher’s family, Francesco Maresca, said the original sentence against Knox was “perfect” and said he would “call for justice again.”

He said the Kercher family is eager “to close this chapter.”...

Kercher’s father, John, meanwhile sent a letter to the mayor of Perugia through his lawyers to thank local authorities for setting up a scholarship in her name at the university where she was on an exchange programme.

“Meredith loved Perugia and had made a lot of friends there,” John Kercher wrote, adding that the family was “moved” by the scholarship decision.

Also included in Dario Thuburn’s report on today’s short session:

A nervous-looking Amanda Knox began her appeal on Wednesday against her conviction for the gruesome sex-murder of a British student in the medieval Italian city of Perugia in 2007….

“We feel as though we have a very good case,” her step-father, Chris Mellas, told AFP ahead of the hearing. “She’s going to go home,” said Mellas, who has been living in Perugia since September to help Knox prepare for her appeal….

Wednesday’s hearing lasted only a few minutes and the appeal court judge scheduled the next hearings for December 11, December 18 and January 15…

[Knox defense lawyer] Ghirga said the defence would focus on DNA evidence linking Knox to the crime scene that he said had been questioned by three scientific opinions. The lawyer said Knox’s mother and father would be at the hearing on December 11 and said he expected the trial to conclude in February or March.

Asked about her health, he said: “She looks terrible. She’s very thin.”.. Prosecutors have said they will seek a life sentence for Knox—their original request in her first trial—if the conviction is upheld.

Note what Mr Ghirga said about the appeal maybe being over in February or March. The judge decided on sessions only once a week (Saturdays to suit the pregnant lawyer Giulia Bongiorno) which suggests it’s all over in 10 sessions or less.

We believe the only way it can conclude as soon as that is if all or most of the requested DNA re-testing and new witnesses are refused. DNA re-testing alone could take months.

That makes the 11 December appeal session into quite a cliffhanger.

We can see no overwhelming reason yet for the verdicts to be overturned, and if there is going to be one it can only come from that retesting and any new witnesses if allowed.

Posted on 11/24/10 at 12:55 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009Hellmann appeal
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

More Anger Toward Hayden Panettiere For Arch-Callousness Toward Meredith’s Family

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: Another with the symptoms of a charming psychopath, explaining how Meredith was killed?

Panettiere is reported as refusing to mention Meredith by name. In line with the standing orders of PR campaign, she seemingly wants to disappear Meredith. Make her a non-person.

The anger toward Panttiere among those who knew Meredith or closely identify with her, as we do, is growing stronger by the day. Now there is a scathing commentary by Jenny McCartney on The Daily Telegraph’s website

With depressing inevitability, the cameras began rolling last week on a TV movie about Amanda Knox, the young, blonde American convicted in Italy for her role in the killing of a 21-year-old fellow student, Meredith Kercher, in 2007.

Hayden Panettiere, a rising star, is playing Knox. The actress described herself as “flattered” to be awarded the role, blithely adding: “It’s a really great story and a very controversial one.”

Both the comment, and the film, strike me as being in disgustingly bad taste. For it is not, of course, “a really great story”, but an intensely sad and very recent criminal case, in which an intelligent and beautiful British student was murdered.

The Kercher family, who demonstrated considerable dignity through a long and heavily sensationalised trial, must now be subjected to the additional pain of knowing that the circumstances of Meredith’s death are already being converted into entertainment.

Even Knox’s Italian lawyer, who is presently appealing against her conviction, has strongly denounced any such “exploitation of the situation”.

The truth is that the film’s backers glimpsed a case in which both the murderers and the victim were young and attractive, and – in their eagerness for a salaciously brutal storyline – abandoned all other considerations.

I don’t suppose the film industry ever had much of a conscience: the difference now is the confident assumption that the public doesn’t, either.

Click the Daily Telegraph link to read also the well-informed and very critical comments by commenters Jo Jones and Mutley.

Posted on 10/30/10 at 09:15 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Kercher Family Lawyer Francesco Maresca Confident Appeals Will Fail And Justice Will Prevail

Posted by Peter Quennell

This excellent interview of Mr Maresca by Leonardo Molinelli just appeared in Canada Corriere.

The interview is similar to several others Mr Maresca has just given in Italy. Mr Maresca shows in all of them that he is very confident about the defense appeals not succeeding in any dramatic way.

Justice will be served in Kercher case

“The investigation was carried out very well”: lawyer

By Leonardo N. Molinelli

There’s less than a month to go to the start of the appeal process for the murder of 20-year-old American student Meredith Kercher. The next phase will begin on Nov. 24, which should establish the guilty parties in the death of Kercher, who was killed in Perugia, Italy between Nov. 1 and 2 of 2007.

Charged with first-degree murder, sexual assault, and theft is 26-year-old Amanda Knox and 23-year-old Raffaele Sollecito with whom Knox was having a relationship.

The other person facing charges – Rudy Guede from the Ivory Coast – will not be part of the process since he has already been condemned to 30 years [reduced to 16 at first appeal] at a summary procedure. He will face the Court of Cassation (appeals) for final sentencing [in December].

All three of the accused have always declared their innocence and the upcoming process promises to be controversial and sensational. The defence for Sollecito and Knox, in fact, has requested access to all forensic investigation from the Court of Cassation.

They’re requesting the analyses of all the principal exhibits, maintaining that the two were not present at the murder scene and thereby placing the blame squarely on Guede.

“The Kercher family has taught the world the dignity of silence.” 

With these words, the family’s lawyer Francesco Paolo Maresca outlines the trial that went beyond the usual standards in legal battles in Italy, moving from the courtrooms to TV and newspapers.

Corriere Canadese/Tandem recently spoke to Francesco Paolo Maresca about the trial.

Has there been any new developments since the preliminary sentencing and the appeal?

“No, let’s say that the defence requested the appeals court for a review of all forensic findings, following the defence line in the preliminary trial, in which they contested all the assessments.”

Accusations that were discredited with the preliminary sentencing.

“Yes, so much so that the preliminary sentence is based on all these laboratory results accepted as fully reliable in the presence of the parties, and no one ever contested anything on that basis.”

So what is the defence’s objective in this case?

“They’re requesting, in substance, the detailed analyses of all the main exhibits, therefore the bra hook containing Sollecito’s DNA and the bathroom rug with Sollecito’s footprint.”

Do they intend to demonstrate the non-involvement of the two youths in the murder?

“They’re aiming to demonstrate the total non-involvement, unloading everything onto Rudy Guede.”

So Guede would have killed Meredith by himself while Amanda and Raffaele were in the wrong place at the wrong time?

“Actually, they say they were at Sollecito’s house after having smoked hash, made love, and woken up early the next morning.”

So they would have been connected to the crime scene as part of a conspiracy?

“They got there by coincidence based on test results. They say that the DNA on the bra isn’t Sollecito’s and if it were, it would have been found in other parts of the house, that the footprint on the rug isn’t Sollecito’s), that the DNA on the knife isn’t Knox’s, and so on.”

Instead, what are the facts as pieced together by the preliminary sentence?

“The facts pieced together would be a sexual attempt gone wrong, with a series of progressive and worsening knife wounds, with intimidation and threats and with three very serious wounds to the neck, of which one was fatal. We – and the sentencing acknowledges this – maintain that the facts cannot be viewed as a premeditated theft but as a crime of violence.

They probably attempted some sort of sexual game, Kercher refused, they threatened her, wounded her, blood spilled, and they panicked. Knox knew everyone so if they had called an ambulance or the police, they would have had to justify their presence, which is why they finished her off.”

So it wasn’t premeditated?

“There’s no premeditation. There is no premeditation. The event needs to be examined using the approach of a contingent situation, of the fear of being discovered, of the fear of making noise. Kercher screamed horribly from the pain, the simulation of a theft was to throw the research on the wrong track.”

America insists there were leaks in the Italian justice system, a conspiracy against Amanda, and so on. What impression did you get during this trial? Are there any deficiencies in this trial?

“The investigation was carried out very well, and forensic science and the police did a good job. There was just the one deficiency – and un-influential – of this blessed (bra) hook that was left behind and discovered 40 days later, but it was proven that it could not have been contaminated, using a series of technical valuations.

One must consider that 368 exhibits were gathered if I’m not mistaken, and above all we made an enormous commitment of deliberating for about a year (Editor’s note: January to December, 2009), which was very quick for Italian trials. Rudy Guede was examined with a summary procedure within a year of the act, and the other two to three years from the act, but with a deliberation that involved 170 witnesses and technical consultants.”

An exemplary trial considering that Italian justice system is often blamed for being slow.

“It gets blamed because they have completely different parameters and have juries and courts that dedicate themselves to a single trial – they begin and end that trial over three-to-four consecutive months, doing nothing else. In our system, the criminal court does this while the judges concurrently do another 20, 30 or 40.”

A difference in systems that could be the reason for these accusations.

“They were astounded because we didn’t have daily hearings. We pointed out that having weekly hearings on Friday, Saturday, and Monday – that is three days out of six – is a very unheard of commitment. We all risked our families because we couldn’t see them anymore…”

The defence for this case is reminiscent of the one used for the Cogne case, with the victim who disappears from the media, and the likely murderer who becomes a celebrity of sorts.

“From a theoretic interpretation, I’d say that’s justice, and I must say that Meredith Kercher’s family taught the elegance of silence to the entire world. Because as the families of Knox and Sollecito organized foundations, associations, sought funds, gave interviews, requested political help, Meredith Kercher’s family remained under the radar screen notwithstanding the offers, including financial (ones).”

Posted on 10/29/10 at 09:50 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009Hellmann appealAmanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tina Brown Of The Daily Beast Extols Barbie Nadeau’s Book On Knox’s Descent Into Hell

Posted by Peter Quennell

Our previous post on Tina Brown of New York’s Daily Beast who is publishing and championing Barbie Nadeau’s new book.

Tina Brown is certainly sounding more up to speed on the case than a ludicrously misinformed Oprah Winfrey and likely to be a much-needed balancing voice. Excerpts from her new piece, starting with a kind gesture to Meredith’s family.

“It’s such a shock to send your child to school and for them to not come back.”

That was the brokenhearted testimony of the mother of Meredith Kercher, the 22-year-old British student killed in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007, at the trial of her daughter’s alleged killers two years later. “We will never, never get over it.”

As the mother of a 19-year-old myself, I shuddered at her words.

Hers is the nightmare that haunts every parent who sends a son or daughter off to one of the “gap year” or study-abroad programs that have become a rite of passage for educated Western youth. But the rapid growth of such programs can be credited, in part, to parents’ woeful—or is it willful?—ignorance about what can happen when students suddenly find themselves in a foreign land, free from parental or college oversight, and surrounded by a new set of peers, all of them eager to experiment….

Only with Meredith’s horrific death did it become clear that she and her roommate had been mixing with a crowd that was headed not just for trouble, but, in Amanda’s case, a descent into evil….

[Barbie Nadeau’s]  objective dispatches also earned her the enmity of ferocious pro-Knox bloggers, who hurled insults and threats, hoping to discredit her professionally. Instead, her reputation has been enhanced by her diligent pursuit of a story that most of the U.S. media, including The New York Times, badly misread….

Mining diaries, social-networking sites, exclusive interviews, and telling moments in the courtroom, Nadeau paints the first full portrait of a quirky young woman who is neither the “she-devil” presented to an Italian jury nor the blameless ingénue her parents believe her to be. What Nadeau shows is that Amanda Knox is, in fact, a 21st-century all-American girl—a serious student with plans and passions—but is also a thrill-seeking young woman who loves sex and enjoys drugs and who, in the wrong environment with the wrong people, develops a dark side that takes her over and tips her into the abyss.

In short, every parent’s worst fear…

We strongly endorse Tina’s uncomplimentary crack at the New York Times. The Times did nothing to advance the truth here. Instead it hosted the xenophobic blogging of Knox slobberer Timothy Egan.

Monday, December 07, 2009

US Overreaction: Meredith’s Mother Regards Cantwell’s Grandstanding As Ill-Informed

Posted by Peter Quennell

This was just reported by Tom Wells in tomorrow’s The Sun

The mum of murdered Meredith Kercher yesterday blasted killer Amanda Knox’s supporters for enlisting Hillary Clinton in her appeal battle….

Ms Cantwell suggested the 22-year-old did not get a fair trial and expressed worries over possible “anti-American” bias in the Italian court. Mrs Clinton, wife of former US President Bill, has now vowed to meet with “anyone who has a concern”.

But Meredith’s mum Arline yesterday insisted Knox’s hearing WAS fair - and said she did not sense any anti-American feeling in the Perugia court.

Mrs Kercher, 64, said at her family’s home in Coulsdon, Surrey: “We are still getting over the sentencing. The whole thing has gone in a blur.

“Having them say they are looking to lodge an appeal was tough enough - and now this. I just do not know where they are going by getting people in high places involved.

“I was in no way aware of anti-American feeling. It was just a normal court. Everything seemed to be done fairly. It seems a bit desperate, but the Italian justice system should be the ones to answer whether it was fair or not.

“We were not exactly given special treatment. I can’t see there was this anti-American thing.”...

Meredith’s Mother Says In An Interview That The Real Life Sentence Here Is Theirs

Posted by Peter Quennell

The question seems to be spreading now of whether Knox’s and Sollecito’s sentences were simply too light.

Two of the jurors have spoken out about their teary sympathy for Amanda Knox. No similar judge or jury sentiments were offered about the real victim here, the one with the first name of Meredith.

Now a UK Press Association report has gone viral on a Daily Mirror interview with the family. This below is the actual Daily Mirror interview kindly emailed to us from London (it is not online) and not the abbreviated Press Association report.

It tells of the crushing sadness of Meredith’s mother Arline - and the life sentence the perpetrators handed to her.


ON most days Arline Kercher stops at the door to her daughter’s bedroom, waits for a second then slowly looks in.

Everything is neat and tidy with nothing out of place - just how Meredith left it.

Arline’s eyes well up with tears as she scans the room full of her daughter’s clothes, shoes and CDs.

More than two years after the 21-year-old - affectionately known as Mez - was brutally murdered in Perugia, central Italy, it is painfully clear how closely her memory is cherished by her family.

Arline, 64, says: “It’s still Mez’s room and has barely been touched. It’s not a shrine to Meredith but it is a constant reminder of her.

“When I’m walking past with a pile of washing in my hand I get a feeling of sadness. It’s hard not to. It’s almost as though she’s just gone out and will be back in a while. But she won’t.”

Meredith remains such an integral part of their lives that they refuse to even consider ever leaving the family home in Coulsdon, Surrey.

“That’s my way of handling it,” Arline insists. “If we moved, she wouldn’t know where I am. It’s silly really.” She, husband John and their three children Lyle, John and Stephanie agreed to speak as a family for the first time since those dreadful events of November 2007.

Amanda Knox 22, was given a 26-year sentence last Friday and exlover Raffaele Sollecito, 25, received 25 years, even though prosecutors wanted full life terms.

A third man, Rudy Guede, is already serving 30 years for the murder.

Speaking in Perugia after the verdicts, the Kerchers’ overwhelming emotion remains the pain of losing Meredith - and a numb relief that her killers are finally behind bars. Arline says the family have been “living a nightmare” for two years and adds poignantly: “We’re the ones who have been given a life sentence.

“We have to live with what’s happened for the rest of our lives. People say time heals - but it doesn’t.” Lyle, 30, says: “The feeling isn’t of celebration. A verdict has been delivered that we’ve been working towards and that’s it. For me every significant stage of the process is a step towards relief, or closure as people call it.

“But until the appeal is over there’s still that black cloud hanging over everything.” Despite his sister’s horrific murder - in which she was sexually assaulted and her throat slashed - this dignified family sees no sense in venting anger at the killers.

Lyle explains: “It won’t bring her back. I was shocked when the verdict came in. You don’t know what to feel. Whether the anger will come later or in waves, I don’t know. What we have noticed is that others in the family have shouldered the anger for us.”

Stephanie, 26, adds: “People always ask us about Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, but it’s not our place to judge them. That’s what the judges and jury were there for.

“We can only go on the evidence we heard, what we’ve been told about their behaviour and what they did.”

Her brother John, 29, adds: “The thing to point out is there’s no winners in all this.”

Instead, the family prefers to remember the warmth and joy Meredith brought to their lives - and the lives of all those who knew her.

Stephanie says: “Everyone always remembers me and Mez giggling in the corner because we had so many private jokes.

“Mez liked dancing. She would come downstairs in the morning and start dancing in front of everyone and it made us all laugh.

“She was so much fun and had a wicked sense of humour.”

The Leeds University student was spending a year studying in Italy. And in her daily phone calls to Arline she would often chat for hours, telling her mumhow much she was enjoying her new life. Arline says: “She was really excited and looking forward to improving her Italian.

“We would talk every day. She would tell me about all these funny, amusing stories about university.

“She was such a vibrant girl, such a carefree person. She was really enjoying herself and had made quite a few friends, especially among the English girls.”

And it is Meredith’s popularity that makes her loss especially hard for 66-year-old dad John to bear.

He says plaintively: “You keep asking yourself, ‘Why?’ So many people loved Meredith. Why would anyone do that? It was so extreme. Everyone loved Meredith and even strangers say such nice things about her: ‘What such a lovely smile she had… she must have been a beautiful person’.

“That’s what affects me. That’s what makes me cry, not reading the details of her death.” The trial judge awarded the family £4million compensation. But they say it is merely symbolic and believe they are unlikely to see a penny.

If they do receive any money they plan to set up a charitable foundation in Meredith’s name.

Meanwhile, they will cherish her for ever in their hearts - and plan a quiet celebration of her life every year on her birthday, December 28, Lyle says: “We will definitely raise a glass to Mez every year.”

Arline adds with a sad sigh: “We will carry Meredith around with us all the time. She’s still so much a part of our lives. We will never forget her. Never.”

Posted on 12/07/09 at 12:40 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Rulings: Meredith’s Family Talks Of Meredith And The Rightness Of The Verdict

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 12/06/09 at 11:58 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Our Emails Are Suggesting Such A Wave Of Love And Sympathy For This Very Dignified Family

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Many like this which arrived this morning from Dublin in Ireland.

I just want to send all the Kercher Family my very best wishes and support at the end of what must have been a horrendous two years ending with a long and gruelling trial. I have nothing but admiration for you as a family who are dealing with such heartbreak and have been so dignified all through and after the court case.

Justice has been done and that is of primary importance in this situation and the Italian Courts have ensured that. I hope you will be able now to start living your lives again as I am sure this was totally impossible over the last 2 years after such a vicious crime against your beautiful sister and daughter. It is bad enough having a crime like this done on home turf but to happen when the person is in another country is even more horrendous.

I want to extend you my very best wishes to you and hopefully it will assist you in living again as I am sure beautiful Meredith will never be forgotten by you but now you can start the grieving process which you as a family were robbed of because of this evil horrific crime. I just want to send you by very best wishes and support at this time as you have no choice but to continue on without you beloved sister and daughter.

Apparently some of the the reporters at this family press conference this morning were also fighting back a few tears.

Posted on 12/05/09 at 02:11 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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As The Nightmare Starts To Wind Down For Meredith’s Family, Huge Relief -  And Still, Some Tears

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 12/05/09 at 09:39 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, December 04, 2009

The Rulings: The Families And The Media Have Been Summoned To The Courtroom

Posted by Peter Quennell

The as-usual impartial Ann Wise reports for ABC News.

An Italian court deliberating the fate of Amanda Knox has summoned the defendants and lawyers to the courtroom in what may be a verdict in the nearly year-long murder trial.

The long awaited verdict may be delivered when court resumes at midnight in Italy [6 p.m. ET] after the defendants, lawyers and their families—as well as the family of murder victim Meredith Kercher—arrive at the court in this medieval town.

If convicted of murder, Knox, 22, and her co-defendent and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, could be sentenced to life in prison.

The announcement of a verdict came 11 hours after the six jurors and two judges began their deliberations this morning, and 11 months after the prolonged trial began.

The last 24 hours have been tense for Knox whose younger sister Deanna told ABC News that Knox was torn between excitement about the prospect of going home for Christmas, but scared that she would be convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

This we believe will be the first time Meredith’s family has ever had to encounter the Knoxes and the Mellases. They have seen Amanda Knox in court several times, and it was once noted that Knox seemed to stare fixedly at them, perhaps hoping for eye contact.

And below, translated by our poster Tiziano, is a an article in Il Messagero today explaining what the judges and lay-judges are going through,

The Court of the Assizes is called upon at this time to undertake a very difficult task, and frankly this writer feels compelled to express his understanding of the difficulty within which the judges will have to operate.  Furthermore, the function of the Court of the Assizes is linked to the examination and the decision-making on trials which have a notable social profile in relation to the crime for which the judgement arises. 

As is known, the Court of the Assizes is composed of a president and an assistant judge (a “side judge”: trsl.), both of whom are stipendiary (=career) magistrates, and of a full six civil judges, chosen from those who have matriculated from high school (ie: who are qualified for university entrance), who have full civil and voting rights and who are between the ages of 30 and 65.

The ambit of the Court of the Assizes is a very special jurisdiction, which our order imported from the French law:  the term “assise” was already noted in the medieval epoch with the French word “asise”, that is to say, “a fixed article”, which in its turn derived from the latin “assidere”, that is, “to seat next to”.  It was only in 1810 that the French order introduced “le cour d’assises”.  In the Italian order the Court of the Assizes appeared in 1859, in the Sardinian penal procedures code, until in alternate phases, it found a new place in the reform of the judicial order which came into force in 2003. 

Briefly, it is competent to decide on all those crimes for which the law sets out a penalty of life imprisonment or a penalty of not less than 24 years.  In the Kercher judgement, therefore, the decision will be in the hands of two career judges (“robed judges”: trsl.) and six civil judges,  who will have the difficult task of evaluating even complex technical legal questions.  The worth of the vote of the civil judge is equal to that of the career judges, thus substantially each of the eight judges is to be considered equal in grade in the expression of his/her own conviction on the guilt or otherwise of the defendants. 

Because of the nature of the structure of the Court of the Assizes , as well as because the circumstances of the Kercher trial are substantially that of a circumstantial trial, it is to be presumed that the deliberations of the panel will be extremely long.  On each of these judges weighs the delicate task of having to decide on the future life of two young people, and at the same time, of giving an answer to the thirst for justice of the Kercher family and of society as a whole.

It is not to be excluded that a majority decision will be arrived at, in so far as in these cases, it is arduous to obtain an unanimous one, for in addition to technical reasons, the individualities of each single judge must must prevail, each of whom must be intimately convinced of his or her own choice.  There still exists, borrowed from Anglo-saxon law, the border which separates guilt from acquittal, constituted by the principal of a choice made “beyond any reasonable doubt”.

Posted on 12/04/09 at 05:06 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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The Rulings: Meredith’s Family At Their Hotel Waiting For Possible Call To The Court Tonght

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Posted on 12/04/09 at 04:47 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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The Rulings: Meredith’s Beloved Mom, Dad, Sister And Two Brothers At Perugia Airtport.

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Posted on 12/04/09 at 02:25 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Der Spiegel Reporting Meredith’s Father Is Writing A Book To Cover Their Considerable Costs

Posted by Peter Quennell

We knew that a book by Meredith’s father John is in the works. We did not know the real reason why.

This news is frankly pretty heartbreaking.

Alexander Smoltczyk in Perugia reports on the health and financial hurt descended upon Meredith’s family..

The announcement of the verdict is expected at the end of this week, after a long trial that has taken its toll on everyone involved, not just the defendants….

Kercher’s mother only manages to cope by taking psychiatric medication, while her husband, a journalist, has been forced to write a book about the case to cover their legal fees.

The publishers’ grapevine has been hinting in fact that the book will be all about Meredith.

Meredith’s family have said through their lawyer that they expect never to see any financial return from the financial awards made by the Italian court against those who are found guilty.

Multi-million-dollar awards are common now in the US and Europe if there is a danger of profiteering from inside a prison cell. And in Italy, those sitting in prison cells often get easy access to the media.

Many of us here - many readers too - have long wanted to organize something financial for Meredith’s memory and for her family by way of this website for Meredith. Maybe now is a good time to begin.

Mind you, if the book IS all about Meredith this could be truly huge. Pent-up demand to find out more about Meredith, which we encounter every day, is now really enormous.

After being overshadowed for so long by obnoxious others, Meredith deserves her day in the sun.

Posted on 12/02/09 at 02:48 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyOfficially involvedVictims familyReporting on the caseV good reporting
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Friday, November 27, 2009

The Summations: Court Session Concludes After Lawyer Speaks For Meredith’s Family

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: Mr Maresca is getting robed in court this morning.

His stark and very moving remarks for the family were the last item for the day. Mr Maresca spoke extensively of the remarkable qualities of Meredith, the supreme dignity and discretion of her family, and the enormous damage done by this very callous crime.

Listening to these remarks were various members of Amanda Knox’s family and the father of Raffaele Sollecito. Meredith’s family were not present in court. It is never seems easy for them to be there.

The Italian papers still only have short-form descriptions of Mr Maresca’s speech, and the English-language media dont yet have any. We will post again later, when all stories are filed and online.

Saturday update: We are gathering all the reports of Mr Maresca’s remarks - each has one or two points the others do not - and will post on them on Sunday.

Posted on 11/27/09 at 02:44 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Moved By Italian Justice: Doing The Very Best It Can For Meredith And Her Poor Family

Posted by Hopeful

Crestfallen and broken, Amanda and Raffaele react in visible distress in the latest courtroom photos.

Amanda looks sad, smitten, perplexed, astounded, with anger not far under the veneer, yet overall truly sorrowful for the first time in 2 years. Raffaele is weeping as the court denies more evidence do-overs. He feels the weight of this blow.

These two are probably guilty, but it still makes me sad to see what prison can do to human beings. Why, oh why, couldn’t they have let Meredith live and simply enjoy her sweet life? Mercy to her would have been multiplied back to them so very many times over.

I believe Prosecutor Mignini and his assistant, Mrs. Comodi, and all the Perugia homicide cops want to see JUSTICE done above all.

Surely they take no pleasure in the misery that native-son Sollecito is undergoing. They had to arrest him to redress a huge evil. I’m sure they regret the repercussions this has meant to his father, a fine medical doctor, an upstanding citizen of Italy. Despite this, and America’s loud outcries, they have proceeded.

I think the Italian police and prosecutors have acted with more intense caution and discretion in handling the evidence against Amanda because of her U.S. citizenship. I don’t think this is a case of two innocents being railroaded.

If the Italian police had wanted to score points politically, they could have closed the case after the arrest and conviction of Rudy Guede. The police saw undeniable proof to their practiced eyes that Amanda and Raffaele were very guilty.

And I don’t think forensic scientist Patrizia Stefanoni of the Polizia Scientifica in Rome is in the prosecution’s back pocket. I believe she acted in good faith. Patient and careful analysis of forensic lab samples requires real intelligence and excludes quick passion.

“To Be or Not To Be”. Methinks Amanda does look a little Danish.

It wasn’t fish blood or cat’s blood or pierced ear blood on their hands, it was the blood of honor. Meredith was defenseless in a foreign land. She was a great asset to her own family, to the Erasmus program, to Italy, and eventually to the world. She deserves the best efforts of her host country, and she’s receiving them here.

It now feels like justice is not only happening here - it’s convincingly SEEN to be happening. We all owed you this one, sweet Meredith. May you rest in peace.

Posted on 10/11/09 at 07:56 AM by Hopeful. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Trial: Sky News Italy’s Video Report On Saturday’s News In Italian

Posted by Peter Quennell

Mr Maresca remarks here that Meredith’s father had commented to him on how strong she was.

She had of course trained quite extensively in judo. Yet another blow to the notion that less than three committed this brutal crime.

It appears that the crowds in the piazza have lessened and that the photographers are trying to give the Kerchers plenty of space.

And that the defendants are arriving at court by way of the front entrance, and not by way of the tunnel underneath the complex.

Posted on 06/06/09 at 11:29 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Trial: Mother Confirms Meredith Had NO Appointment With Guede On The Night

Posted by Peter Quennell

The family testified for just over one hour. There was no cross-examination, and the court was adjourned early, through to next Friday.

Knox seemingly exited the court pensively and with her head down. Sollecito seemingly exited the court rather shrill and defensive.

The convicted killer Rudy Guede has consistently maintained that he was at the house by appointment. He had a legitimate reason to be there - Meredith wanted to be with him.

Judge Micheli never believed him, and sentenced him to 30 years

And today her mother stated that Meredith told her that, though tired after a late night on Halloween, she would be going home early on the night to complete an essay that she had to get done.

Click above for a report from the BBC.

Addressing the court on Saturday, Mrs Kercher described the last telephone conversation she had with her daughter, who was planning a trip back to Britain for her mother’s birthday.

“She rang to let me know when she was coming back,” Mrs Kercher said.

“She said she was really tired because they had been out for Halloween the night before and they had come back very late and she was going to see some friends to see a film.”

She added: “She was coming back early - she had an essay to finish.”

Rudy Guede’s appeal has been set for November. His entire defense narrative has always flowed from the claim that he was at the house because Meredith invited him to be there.

Apparently a lie, and one quite devastating to be revealed. Should he now crack, and turn on the other two? Again (he already did at his trial) but this time much more-so?

That issue might be keeping Rudy Guede and his lawyers up late.

Posted on 06/06/09 at 11:12 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Trial: Meredith’s Family Recounts The Terrible Pain Of Her Loss

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Italy has an intense sympathy for Meredith and her family, and already today many DOZENS of reports have appeared in Italian.

The combined detail vastly exceeds what is appearing in English. We will try to capture the sense of some of these and report on this later.

Nick Pisa on Sky News has the most detailed report so far in English:

The mother of British student Meredith Kercher fought back tears in court as she described how her family would never get over the “brutality” of her daughter’s death.

Close to tears, Mrs Kercher, 63, told the court: “It was unbelievable, unreal and in many ways it still is - I am still looking for her.

“It’s not just her death, it’s the nature of it, the brutality, the violence and the great sorrow it brought for everyone - it was such a shock.

“You send your daughter away to study and she doesn’t come back. We will never, ever get over it”...

Her sister Stephanie, 25, told the court how they had last spoken two weeks before her death but exchanged texts two days before she died.

When asked if her sister would have fought for her life Stephanie added: “110% yes. She would have defended herself.

“Physically she was very strong and she would have fought to the end.”

Last to give evidence was Miss Kercher’s father John, 68, who told the court how he heard she had died.

“It was 5pm on November 2 - Meredith’s mother phoned me to say she had heard a British student had been murdered in Perugia.

Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox in court in Perugia

Sollecito and Knox were in court to hear the Kercher family’s testimony

“I tried ringing Meredith on her mobile and I must have tried 12 times but I kept getting her answer phone.

“Then at 5.30 it started ringing but there was no answer.

“I work for a number of national newspapers so I rang the foreign desk of a paper and they said they didn’t have any details.

“Two hours later when I spoke with them they said they had the name of a British student and the name was Meredith, that’s how I found out.”

Posted on 06/06/09 at 09:55 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, June 05, 2009

Trial: Friday’s Testimony Bolsters The Prosecution’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image, courtesy AP]

Andrea Vogt now reporting for The Independent.

Upon arrival, the Kercher family quietly took seats in the courtroom behind their Florentine lawyers, Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna, who opened their case with two expert witnesses: a coroner, and a leading forensic geneticist from a Florence hospital.

Mr Maresca told the court that the expert witnesses “sustained the prior results and valuations of the coroner who performed the autopsy and the forensic evidence specialists who already testified”. He added: “And for the first time today, we also heard that the bruises on the victim’s hips were consistent with a sexually violent approach.”

Professor Gianaristide Norelli testified that the multiple lesions on Ms Kercher’s body were consistent with being held and attacked by more than one person. He said she died of suffocation and interpreted her stab wounds as having been inflicted as threats during a struggle. The wounds, mostly on the side of her neck, were possibly inflicted by two different knives, he said, but noted that one of the stab wounds was compatible with the alleged murder weapon.

Professor Francesca Torricelli told the court that she believed the samples of Mr Sollecito’s DNA found on Ms Kercher’s bra clasp was a significant enough amount that it was unlikely to have been left by contamination. She also sustained a previous forensic biologist’s findings that Ms Knox’s DNA was found on the handle and the victim’s on the blade.

Alessandra Rizzo reporting for the Associated Press:

Forensic expert Gianaristide Norelli, a witness called by the Kercher family, said the main cause of Kercher’s death was suffocation.

Court documents have said suffocation was caused by the hemorrhage following the neck wounds. But Norelli said suffocation was also aided “manually” by forcing the victim’s mouth and nose shut and by strangling her.

This, Norelli argued, showed a clear intent to kill, while the neck wounds may have been inflicted with the intent to scare or threaten the victim. He said that Kercher’s own movement may have inadvertently contributed to making the stab wounds deeper.

The wounds were compatible with a kitchen knife the prosecution says might have been the murder weapon, Norelli said. The knife, which was found at Sollecito’s house, has a 17-centimeter (6.69-inch) blade….

Prosecutors say Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the kitchen knife, and Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade. Francesca Torricelli, a DNA expert also called by the Kercher family, confirmed the findings of the prosecutors.

“I have no doubt” the traces are compatible, she told the court Friday. Torricelli also confirmed the prosecutors’ finding that DNA compatible with Sollecito’s had been found on the clasp of Kercher’s bra.

And an unnamed writer reporting for the Daily Sun.

The parents of Meredith Kercher — Arline and John — spent their first day in court yesterday under the unwavering stare of her alleged killer Amanda Knox.

One witness said: “It was very unusual. I’m not sure if she was looking for sympathy or trying to offer it, but Meredith’s parents never looked at her.”

[click for larger image, courtesy AP]

Posted on 06/05/09 at 09:00 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Trial: Knox Parents Again Not In Court While The Kerchers Are Present

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images, courtesy AP]

Amanda Knox’s parents have still never encountered Meredith Kercher’s parents.

At the Rudy Guede trial last October Knox’s parents were in Perugia but they chose to stay away from the courthouse itself.

This week they are not even in Perugia. They are represented by an unnamed Knox relative (above) and a former Knox boyfriend (below).

Posted on 06/05/09 at 08:00 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Meredith’s Father John Describes How The Family First Found Out

Posted by Peter Quennell

[courtesy Getty; click for for larger image]

Above, John and Arline Kercher and Stephanie in Perugia on 6 November 2007 lighting candles for Meredith.

And below, John describes in the Daily Mirror how the terrible news of her death first reached him in south London.

I am at the counter in a bank in Croydon when my mobile phone rings.

It is 2.15pm on November 1 and Meredith is calling from Perugia to see how I am. It’s an unusual time for her to ring. We usually speak most evenings, but rarely during the day.

But today she doesn’t have any classes at university, where she’s studying European Politics and Italian. It’s a public holiday. We chat for two minutes, I tell her I love her and that I’ll call her later. She says she is going out, so it will be the next day.

That will be the last time I ever speak to Meredith. The next day at 5pm I am at home when Meredith’s mother Arline calls to say she’s heard reports that a British girl student has been murdered in Perugia. Obviously, there is concern. But there are thousands of British students in Perugia and you try to use that as a calming influence.

I ring Meredith but get an automated message telling me her mobile is switched off.

For the next half hour I try at least a dozen times before it suddenly starts ringing.

Relief sets in as I believe she’s switched it back on. But still there is no answer. I keep trying for a further half hour.

By now my instincts have kicked in. I have to get information fast.

I call the foreign desk of the Daily Mirror, a paper I have worked with for many years as a freelance journalist.

They tell me they only have sketchy details of the incident but if I call back in an hour they might have more.

It’s an agonising wait, but when I call back I’m told Italian police found the girl’s phone and they have been in touch with people in London. Again, my hopes rise. This must mean that whoever this unfortunate girl is, the family and British police have been notified by now.

But then my worst fears are realised. Thirty minutes later the Mirror calls to tell me they have a name. There’s some initial reluctance from the woman on the phone to give me the information. But I shall never forget her words: “The name going around Italy is Meredith.”

I drop the phone. I don’t believe it and think there must be a mistake. But I know it’s probably true. I can’t cry. I’m numb with shock.

A friend drives me to Meredith’s mother and on the way, I phone the Foreign Office to see if they can confirm what I’d been told.

They say they don’t have full details and I shouldn’t necessarily jump to conclusions.

Within an hour our family - Meredith’s sister Stephanie and brothers John and Lyle - have gathered at the house.

We’re all distraught. By now, Arline has spoken to the Foreign Office who confirm the worst. At 9pm, Meredith’s photo comes on the news. The room falls silent. We all hug.

The next day we learn some of Meredith’s old school friends plan to lay flowers at her former school in Croydon.

We go to meet them, expecting half a dozen - but there are more than 70.

It’s unbelievably touching. Some have come from universities around the country.

A small service is held in the school gardens.

Nothing prepared us for having to fly to Italy to formally identify her body and we had no idea how much her death had touched the world.

At the morgue, journalists, Italian chief of police and many others are close to tears. Arline and Stephanie go in to see Meredith. But I can’t because it would have put a full stop to my memory of her.

I had last seen her a couple of weeks before, when she flew home to buy winter clothes. We met for a coffee and she showed me some boots she had bought.

I want that to be the one memory of my daughter I hold in my mind for ever.

It’s dreadful having to wait six weeks before we can lay Meredith to rest, while police investigate. The funeral stuns me.

I didn’t expect the more than 500 people who attend. Her friends have flown in from Canada, Europe and Japan.

Afterwards, hundreds of messages flood the internet. Many are from as far as Australia and Brazil, people who never knew her but are touched by her tragic passing and who loved her smile.

Even in death she seems to reach out to people. Arline has helped me with our fond memories of Meredith as a tot. How Meredith enjoyed many things from an early age.

She went to ballet and in her teens did karate, reaching her third belt.

At school she loved reading. She wrote poetry and stories.

She was always good company and her sense of humour always had us and others laughing. The sense of the ridiculous stayed with her. She had such life and vitality and made friends wherever she went. Meredith really enjoyed Halloween.

As a youngster she would make a costume from bin liners, put candles in the pumpkins with faces, tie them to sticks and then we would visit neighbours.

It is ironic and tragic that she would die so terribly only one day after Halloween.

As Arline puts it, Meredith leaves a void that can never be filled. But wonderful memories of her live on in our hearts. All of us who knew her know what we lost.

Meredith is not only a terrible loss to her family and friends, she is also a huge loss to the world.

Posted on 06/05/09 at 05:59 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyOfficially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009
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Meredith’s Family Is Welcomed By Lawyer Maresca To The Court

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image; courtesy Getty Images]

Father John, mother Arline, and sister Stephanie arrive for the afternoon session.

Neither of Meredith’s brothers are shown here, although we believe that one or both are also now in Perugia. They may have entered the court by way of the route for the public.

Posted on 06/05/09 at 09:38 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyOfficially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009
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Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Kercher Family Prepares To Testify Friday PM And Saturday

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images; shots from earlier hearings courtesy of AP]

The Italian news service AGI is reporting that the Kercher family will arrive in Perugia around mid-day on Friday.

They are expected to be on the witness stand for all of Friday afternoon and possibly for all of Saturday. This will be their second face-to-face encounter with the defendants, and possibly their first encounter with a member of Amanda Knox’s family - at Rudy Guede’s trial, Knox’s parents chose to wait at a certain distance away from the courtroom.

Prior to their testimony, on Friday morning, the prosecution team will examine one final witness - Luca Lalli - on the wounds on Meredith’s body. Then the legal team for the Kerchers, Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna, will examine their first witnesses, the medical-legal expert Gianaristide Norelli and the forensic geneticist Francesca Torricelli.

In the afternoon the team will lead each member of the Kercher family who takes the stand - most probably John, Arline, and Stephanie - through their testimony, and they can then be cross-examined by the lead judge and the defense teams for Knox and Sollecito.

Their testimony will focus on their memories of Meredith, on her decision to come and study in Perugia, on any cellphone calls received or not received by her mother, Arline Kercher, from Meredith on the night in question, and on what Meredith may have related on the relationship between Meredith and Amanda Knox.

Their testimony is awaited with great interest as they have given almost no interviews in the past year and a half, and they have never made any statements about their theory of the crime or their takes on the two defendants. In contrast to the friends of Amanda Knox, they have repeatedly expressed confidence through Mr Maresca in the Italian judges, prosecutors, police teams, and justice system as a whole.

Italy seems to be treating Meredith’s family with an outstanding display of kindness and support. This post might help to explain why.

Plus they are enormously admired for their own grace, dignity and discretion. And their obvious sense of huge loss. 


Posted on 06/04/09 at 10:21 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyOfficially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Trial: La Nazione On Today’s Testimony And The Testimony That Is To Come Next

Posted by Peter Quennell

La Nazione is one of Perugia’s newspapers. Click above for their early report, in Italian.

1) On today’s testimony.on what the blood traces suggest

Before Meredith died, she struggled to free herself from the constraint of one of the attackers, and she brought her left hand up to her devastated neck after the fatal knife attack. This is the evidence proven by the bloodstains found on the hand of the English student and, in particular, her index finger.

This is one of the elements that helps to reconstruct the dynamics of the crime conducted by the forensics experts of the Violent Crime Unit to be presented in today’s depositions in their case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito accused of the murder and rape of their friend..

2) On the testimony scheduled to come next

The tight schedule of hearings ordered by the President of the Court, Giancarlo Massei, includes 5 and June 6 to hear the witnesses for the civil parties (lawyers Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna) who assist the victim’s family.

Testifying on the 5th should be the advisers (legal and medical forensic geneticist) while on the 6th it will be the turn of Meredith’s mother, Arline, and then her sister Stephanie and brother Lyle. They will talk about why she had chosen to study in Perugia, and the last telephone contacts before her murder.

On June 12th Amanda Knox is expected to be examined by her lawyers, Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova. The enigmatic Seattle student might still decide to escape the barrage of questions at the last minute.

On the 13th the first witness will be Patrick Lumumba, the civil party up against the American for libelous slander. And then the witnesses for the defenses will commence testifying.

Posted on 05/29/09 at 02:23 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedVictims familyPublic evidenceDNA and luminolThe witnessesTrials 2008 & 2009
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