Headsup. Netflix has perpetrated something unique: it has defamed a fine justice system worldwide based on seriously wrong claims and myriad omissions. We expect there to be political and legal repercussions. For our part we plan about half a dozen more omissions posts and movie reviews and thereafter a major propagation of the real facts.

Collection: Victims family

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Italy Fights For Justice For A Murdered Student As The UK Government Never Did

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: a minute’s silence in the Italian parliament for Giulio Regeni an Italian student found slain in Cairo a few days ago.

Hundreds of mourners have gathered in a village in northern Italy for the funeral of Giulio Regeni, a Cambridge PhD student found tortured and dead in a ditch on the outskirts of Cairo last week.

Flags were flying at half-mast in Fiumicello, where villagers offered spare rooms and couches for the 28-year-old’s friends and family, as the diplomatic fallout from his death continued in Rome.

The Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, warned Egypt that the health of the relationship between the two countries rested on the quality of the investigation into Regeni’s killing.

Compare with how the UK government reacted after Meredith died. Basically it looked the other way. Many in Italian justice were amazed at how totally disinterested the UK government was in the case in all the years since Meredith’s death.

The US government sprang into action to help Knox and to make sure she was treated right, though there was no proof the Italians would do anything but. They found her a Rome lawyer with good English (Carlos Dalla Vedova) and monitored all her court sessions and her four years in Capanne.

This came at a probable cost of over half a million dollars. And that is just the public support. Nobody ever said “the Federal budget cannot stand this”.

The extent of the British government in pushing justice for Meredith and her family? Exactly zero over the years.

Nothing was ever paid toward the legal costs or the very high travel costs of the Kercher family to be in court as the family finances ran into the ground. Nobody from the Foreign Office in London or the UK Embassy in Rome observed in court except in Florence, just the once.

Appalling pro-Knox Italy-bashing in the UK media based on highly inaccurate accounts was never tamped down - presumably because the Foreign Office was itself in the dark, and did not have a clue what was going on.

The ugly message this sent to the world?  If you are going to be a student in foreign trouble, be an American or Italian. Not a Brit.

However, years after four-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared in Portugal, the UK government is spending heavily to right a possible wrong there.  Back in 2007 Meredith’s case and Madeleine’s case began just a few weeks apart.

Maybe to right a possible wrong in Italy, the UK government could do likewise here.

Posted on 02/14/16 at 12:13 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Justice systemsItalian systemOther systemsThose officially involvedVictims familyOther legal processesThose elsewhereThe wider contextsItalian contextEurope context
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (34)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Is Francesco Sollecito Forced Into Legal Aggression He Didnt Want & Which Could Rebound?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Legal Development

Francesco Sollecito is being reported as denouncing Guede and initiating actions against him - and the Republic of Italy.

What must have looked to him nicely wound up by the Fifth Chambers at the end of March last year does seem to have a pesky tendency to become unwound.

It was unwound a bit by the continuance of Sollecito’s book trial in which RS lawyer Bongiorno refused to become involved. It was unwound a bit by the charges Dr Mignini requested against the RS lawyer Maori mid-year. It was unwound a bit by the Fifth Chambers with the poisoned sting at the end of its Report.

That Motavazione as phrased could open the way to a wrongful death suit against Sollecito (and Knox) or a petition to the President. A “guilty” verdict on the numerous false claims in Sollecito’s book could open the way to civil suits.

The petition was filed today at the Court of Appeal of Florence by their lawyers Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori. The lawyers decided to turn to the last trial court that dealt with the process. In particular, they demanded compensation of 516,000 Euros for the detention to which Sollecito was submitted from 6 November 2007 to 4 October 2011.

The computer engineer from Puglia has always proclaimed he was not involved in the murder and was finally acquitted along with Amanda Knox.  “I can not spend my life defending myself from something I have not done ...”: Raffaele Sollecito commented on the interview… 

He was followed by his father Francesco in transmitting a statement from their home in Puglia. “Raffaele is shocked and outraged,” said Francesco Sollecito. “I am also deeply outraged. I did not even sleep last night.” The father of Raffaele - finally acquitted for a murder he always proclaimed he was outside of - criticized in particular “Guede’s attitude towards the brutally murdered girl. Guede is refuted by the procedural documents, many of which are omitted in the interview. It was denied, among other things, by Raffaele’s friends that there was a random meeting with Meredith Kercher.”

“Guede still has to explain why he was in that house and why he went to the disco after finding the body. Let us remember, Francesco Sollecito empahsized again, that he is a person definitively convicted of murder. “

No mention at all of Knox? She was the one Guede really nailed, though Raffaele was pretty firmly placed at the crime scene too.

Last year, a bombastic Raffaele Sollecito had threatened to file a suit against Italy, but his father and lawyers had wound him back. Presumably because way, way, way too much could come out. “Take care about what you wish for.” “Let sleeping dogs lie.” “Discretion is the better part of valor.” Take your choice.

But such a suit is normal and expected. It would look suspicious if it was never filed. Now the Florence prosecution may get the chance to make the case in full the Fifth Chambers never heard.

Storms In The Past

Francesco Sollecito and Raffaele Sollecito and Vanessa Sollecito are all notorious for loosing their cool.

Francesco lost it here toward Raffaele, and especially here. Vanessa lost it here and again here. Everybody lost it toward Amanda Knox. Sollecito’s own book describes that rage.

And take a look. Despite supposed “honor bound” there are dozens of examples there.

Francesco Sollecito lost it after the Hellmann acquittal when Raffaele said he and Knox were still a thing, and again when RS took off to Seattle after Knox. He lost it again when a false felony claim in Sollecito’s book was unveiled on national TV.

Bongiorno also often seems in a rage. Hmmm. A group of people in a rage, and then things go too far. Where have we heard that before?

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 06:28 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThose officially involvedVictims familyReporting, media, moviesStraight reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (16)

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 12:49 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyCrime hypothesesVarious scenariosThose officially involvedVictims familyAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann critiquesDNA contam hoax
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (1)

Wednesday, October 31, 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 10/31/12 at 04:17 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryThose officially involvedVictims familyReporting, media, moviesStraight reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (18)

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 03:51 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer EnglandThose officially involvedVictims family
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (3)

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 01:51 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThose officially involvedVictims family
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (14)

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 08:04 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThose officially involvedVictims familyReporting, media, moviesStraight reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (13)

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 08:39 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThose officially involvedVictims family
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (15)

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 07:28 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThose officially involvedVictims family
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (7)

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 02:22 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThose officially involvedVictims family
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (16)

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 08:32 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe prosecutorsVictims familySupreme Court
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (1)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

First Italian Criticisms Of The Hellmann Verdict Statement Now Starting To Appear

Posted by Peter Quennell

Early days yet and the main crack at Hellman’s report will not arrive for another month from the prosecution, but the Italian news service Adnknonos offered this editorial. .

The Appeal Court is ridiculous to think that Guede is the only one guilty

The reasons set forth by the Assize Court of Appeal in Perugia for the killing of Meredith read oddly. According to the criminal court Rudy Guede alone did it.

This is ridiculous. Prosecutor Manuela Comodi spoke in court of the ‘embarrassing performance of’ experts’ on the testing of the murder weapon and the victim’s bra clasp.

“Too bad that the judges of the Court of Appeal have slavishly married the thesis of these so-called ‘experts’‘’ says Massimo Montebove, the president of the National Council of Police Unions.

‘‘The work of forensic science, the testimonies, the reconstruction of the truth of the facts of the case carried out to date all show that the verdict of guilty in the first instance was well grounded. ” Mr Montebove added.

Do not forget that attempts at delegitimization will always be directed at the police and the scientific flying squad, including international pressures that many say were placed and other murky development talked about in the media.

One thing is certain: the game is not’ over. We are only sorry that Amanda Knox may not pay for her responsibilities if she is again found guilty following a new appeal trial that could be decided by the Supreme Court

Posted on 12/22/11 at 07:20 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoThose officially involvedVictims familySupreme CourtAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann critiques
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (14)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crticism Of The Hellmann Verdict From Meredith’s Family’s Lawyer Francesco Maresca

Posted by ziaK

Mr Maresca made remarks last week critical of the verdict to various Italian media outlets. This is a translation from the Umbria Journal.

Maresca, on Mez: “They were acquitted for lack of proof, but the sentence takes a very one-sided approach”

“Only the defences’ expert witnesses were given any credence. It’s excessive to completely throw out the first instance case”.

The “reasoning report” of the Assizes court of appeal has confirmed that this is a case of an acquittal because of lack of evidence, rather than an acquittal with “formula piena” [approximately “proof of innocence without doubt”]

However it is also a sentence which is a result of a one-sided approach”.

This is the commentary of Francesco Maresca, who together with the lawyer Serena Perna, represents the young victim’s family, on reading of the “reasoning report” on the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito on the charge of having murdered Meredith Kercher.

“This reasoning report”, he added, “leave us with an even more bitter taste in our mouths because we consider that the judges gave credence only to the defence-team experts, even on items of evidence of a scientific nature which were never the object of consultation”.

“For them to have completely tossed out the preliminary investigations and the first-instance trial seems excessive to me”....

“There are no great surprises”, said Prosecutor Manuela Comodi, who was prosecutor in the first and second-level trials. “It seems to me”, she added, “that there is a lot of room to challenge the sentence. That duty [however] lies entirely with the Attorney General.”

Posted on 12/20/11 at 08:57 PM by ziaK. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those who were chargedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoThose officially involvedVictims familyAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann critiques
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (8)

Saturday, October 15, 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 10/15/11 at 05:02 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThose officially involvedVictims familyReporting, media, moviesStraight reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (40)

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 08:28 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedVictims familyReporting, media, moviesStraight reportingAmanda Knox
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (40)

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 09:20 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyThose officially involvedVictims familyReporting, media, moviesStraight reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (5)

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 09:11 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyThose officially involvedVictims familyAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Reporting, media, moviesStraight reporting
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (3)

Tuesday, October 04, 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 10/04/11 at 03:58 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyThose officially involvedVictims familyAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (9)

Monday, October 03, 2011

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 08:04 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyThose officially involvedVictims familyAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (19)

Sunday, October 02, 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 10/02/11 at 01:21 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyThose officially involvedVictims familyItalian system
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (24)

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 04:44 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThose officially involvedVictims family
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (29)

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 03:12 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThose officially involvedVictims familyReporting, media, moviesMedia news
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (9)

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 03:01 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer familyThose officially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009Italian system
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (14)

Monday, March 14, 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 03/14/11 at 12:05 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyThose officially involvedVictims family
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (17)

Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 >