Subject area: Perugia context

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meredith May Not See Justice (Yet) But She Will Leave At Least Three Legacies

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Meredith’s goal in life was to help people, and she had thought of making a career in the European institutions in Brussels.

So much of human organization is messy and very hard to make better. She would have found that.  But somehow, often in a terrifying lurch, systems do sometimes tend to get better.

These better systems between them benefiting millions may all be attributed to Meredith. More than 99% of humanity can achieve in a lifetime.

1) Perugia is a safer more thriving place now

This is a repeat of our post of 9 April 2010 - there has been a mayor-change, but the broad safety and economic trends continue.

Meet Wladimiro Boccali. The mayor of Perugia.

A year ago when Mr Boccali ran for office (video above) it was in the context of a city-wide desire for prosperity, public safety, support for the police and the court system, the enhancement of Perugia’s reputation, and the clamping down on drug dealing and student excesses.

A mood that very much flowed from the shock of Meredith’s passing. A sense that certain things had gone too far.

Since then, Mr Boccali has been in the Italian national news almost daily, and he is coming to be seen as the kind of political leader Italy could really use in a turbulent future.

He is in the news again right now, because there was a riot in the main piazza of the old city by some drunks late last saturday night.

In part inspired and encouraged by good town leadership, Perugia’s economy is now one of the more thriving city economies in Italy. Perugia’s median IQ is extremely high (Perugia is probably one of the smartest cities in Europe) and a lot of very advanced research goes on there.

Perugia’s town administration does many caring things, such as the special city council meeting for Sonia Marra.

And seemingly attracted by all of this, people are moving to Perugia in droves - its population is increasing at double the national growth rate.

So. Meet the new Perugia. Meredith’s own qualities, writ large.

Since that post Perugia and the university have recognised Meredith by way of a scholarship and a one-day seminar.

2) American universities acted to stop future Knoxes

Knox behaved grossly irresponsibly in heading to Perugia under-funded, intent on drug-doing, and with zero intention of seriously studying.

The University of Washington and many others realised they could have huge liabilities if they did not distance themselves a lot from such loose cannons in future.

In October 2009 we reposted this report by Andrea Vogt which described the initiation of measures many American universities have now come to implement.

Mirroring a nationwide trend, the University of Washington is overhauling how its students and professors interface with foreign countries….

The UW study abroad experience today involves much more oversight than it did two years ago when Amanda Knox left on an unsupervised European adventure that quickly degenerated into a nightmare.

When Knox, who is on trial for murder in Italy, left her familiar U-district environs in late summer 2007, she embarked on her own independent study in Umbria with very few guidelines or institutional oversight.

She arrived in the tolerant student melange of Perugia, a vibrant college town with temptation at every turn and many paradoxes (drug deals and party plans are often made on the steps of the cathedral).

A month later, the honor student’s pub-crawling, pot-smoking college shenanigans had taken a very serious turn and she was being hauled off to the Capanne penitentiary, where she remains today, pleading her innocence as the trial and controversial accusations against her plod forward.

Once her troubles began, the university tried to offer support, but had very few official guidelines to follow for responding to the kind of complicated legal-judicial matter Knox faced.

It’s different now….

In the wake of several negative overseas episodes, officials are busy raising awareness about the positive impact the UW is having worldwide and taking steps to improve communications, regulation and emergency preparedness for its students abroad.

Compared with two years ago, international education officials are more closely tracking who, where and what study-abroad programs involve. The university has new rules:. The department chair has to sign off on the program. Insurance is required. So is a cell phone. No program money can be used to buy alcohol, just for starters.

“There’s a much more formal process now,” said Taso Lagos, a UW professor who teaches international communication and manages a study-abroad program in Greece. “With administrators that are very aware, with lines of communication open and policies in place if something happens.”...

The UW’s growing commitment to international education—- even in a budget crisis—is reflected in some developments. [UW Vice Provost for Global Affairs Stephen Hanson] was named a vice provost in January, and in the spring, the UW dedicated an entire wing of the Gerberding Hall administration building to growing an international mission and profile.

This year, a travel security and information officer is coming on board to oversee emergency response and preparedness, as is Peter Moran, a new director of international programs and exchanges who previously worked at the Fulbright Commission office in Katmandu, Nepal.

New guidelines are being put in place to streamline communications, ease financial transactions and institute mandatory training for faculty taking students abroad. The Global Support Project, a rapid-response team with one person from each branch of the central administration, takes on cross-disciplinary international challenges.

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

Universities across the country are examining how better to organize study abroad to meet blossoming demand from students (and prospective employers) for foreign experience. Many are turning to independent service providers whose business it is to contract housing, health care or niche risk management services dealing with legal, financial or public relations crises when things go haywire abroad…..

Though the university bore no responsibility for any of the events Knox became entangled in, media across the world continued to mention the University of Washington—whether it was because of character witnesses who were her college buddies, reports of wild off-campus parties Knox attended in Seattle or her studies while in prison.

3) Italy’s justice reforms will be nudged hard

Italian justice has a systemic problem, it has been made to tilt hard toward defendants over the years. That problem was described here and here and touched on in many other posts.

Polls have show that though Italians admire and trust their justice system and especially the brave people within it (over 100 have died fighting mafia) a majority would like some rebalancing toward victims and families.

Justice reforms are now on the national agenda. What happened in Rome yesterday to deny Meredith justice is stirring Italy and seems certain to impact them.’

Court days to flow continuously? Some backing off from automatic appeals? No juries at the second level? Prosecutors and judges to be allowed to speak out more? Maybe in lieu of some of those onerous sentencing reports? Limits to defendants talking without cross-examination in the courtroom?

These are not extreme, they are mainstream in the common-law system, and they would speed Italy’s up, make it fairer, and cost less (a lot less!).

***

All incredibly worthwhile. For one so young, in death Meredith may come to help millions for the better.

Posted on 03/28/15 at 04:01 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Defenses’ Dishonest, Distinctly Ill-Conceived War Of Aggression Against Perugia

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: the annual Eurochocolate festival - Nestle is a big employer in town]

1. Appreciating the real Perugia

The relatively small town of Perugia (population below 1/4 million) has been a formidable and exceptionally high-achieving presence in the world for 20 centuries.

Perugia has one of the highest median IQ’s not only in Italy but in Europe. It is the home of some cutting-edge research, produces premium high-quality fashion products, and has one of the highest per-capita economic outputs in Italy with impressive job-creation. It has an exceptional transport system and an exceptional communication system, many fine hotels, and many high-end boutiques. Its various sporting teams are formidable. 

Perugia is known as the City of Universities, because it is home to so many of them, and it runs several annual festivals - chocolate and journalism (images just above and below) and jazz - that attract leaders in those fields from around the world. From Wikipedia:

The city is also known as the universities town, with the University of Perugia founded in 1308 (about 34,000 students), the University for Foreigners (5,000 students), and some smaller colleges such the Academy of Fine Arts “Pietro Vannucci” (Italian: Accademia di Belle Arti “Pietro Vannucci”) public athenaeum founded on 1573, the Perugia University Institute of Linguistic Mediation for translators and interpreters, the Music Conservatory of Perugia, founded in 1788, and other Institutes. There are annual festivals and events: the Eurochocolate Festival (October), the Umbria Jazz Festival (July), and the International Journalism Festival (in April).

There is a very high proportion of foreigners living in Perugia at any one time - not only well over 25,000 studying and teaching there, but also those who first come to the University for Foreigners and so on and choose to get married and stay on. A high proportion of the population - far higher than for Italy generally - speaks foreign languages and has traveled internationally.

In terms of Italian justice, Perugia is unusually trusted, efficient and important. Like Florence, it takes some of the investigatory and judicial caseload from the capital city, Rome, including cases involving national politicians and the mafia. Florence and Perugia police and the courts have a symbiotic relationship - each handles some cases involving the officials of the other. 











2. The bizarre war on Perugia of the defense teams

Despite all of the above, Sollecito and Knox and their lawyers Bongiorno and Dalla Vedova are all trying very hard to belittle it. Meanspiritedly and dishonestly to put Perugia itself on trial.

All four seem to carry big chips on their shoulders about Perugia, and do little to hide them - which, contrary to what they may be supposing, is NOT going over well or helping their cause in the appeal court or the cities of Florence and Perugia.

Raffaele Sollecito

Sollecito was first sent to Perugia by his father to attend a high-school for the children of doctors who were proving a handful. He fell behind in his studies, was disciplined for porn, and made almost no friends there. By the time Knox encountered him, his social circle seems to have been largely confined to drug dealers.

His book seethes contempt and resentment for the officials and the town itself.

Amanda Knox

Amanda “Typhoid Mary” Knox may have been attracted to Perugia because of its reputation as a party city - back then it had a reputation for drugs being easy.

In her book in her own words Knox claimed she was amazed to find that Perugia hosted a really, really large university - she claimed that had she known that she would (like Meredith) have enrolled there.

Really? The University for Foreigners is in fact A PART of the main university and for some years has been that way. She actually was enrolled there and if study had mattered could have carried exactly the same study load as Meredith. 

Her book seethes contempt and resentment for the officials and the town itself. Knox fell out with almost everybody and probably now does not have even one person in Perugia who she might label her friend.

The city of Perugia has done its best to honor the graceful talented Meredith. In contrast the sharp-elbowed, self-absorbed Knox who has brought so much harm to the town is now despised there. 

Carlos Dalla Vedova

Dalla Vedova is a business lawyer from Rome who is quoted in Knox’s book as sneering at Perugia and the officials there - who in turn think he is a joke in the courtroom for his many wrong claims of the facts of the case, poor cross-examinations, and mistakes at law.

Judge Nencini sharply shot Dalla Vedova down when he tried to make the false claim that Perugia officials were malicious in releasing a false HIV result for Knox in her early days in Capanne. In fact, it may well have been Dalla Vedova himself who “secretly” put about that interim result and started the unfounded meme that it was malicious.

Giulia Bongiorno

And Giulia Bongiorno? Well, she is from Palermo in Sicily, and a reliable water-carrier for the mafia. She lost both of the biggest trials of her legal career in Perugia.

One was the retrial of ex-PM Andreotti for mafia connections in 2002 (she collapsed at the verdict) and the other was the Knox-Sollecito trial in 2009 with Judge Massei presiding.

If she loses this appeal Bongiorno could be facing three or more criminal investigations - for offers of bribes in Aviello’s prison, for meddling with the appointment of judges (Judge Hellmann replacing the better qualified Chiari), and for the numerous criminal libels in Sollecito’s book, in which she is credited as a main source.

Good reasons for now being a tad hysterical?

Last Thursday in court, Bongiorno impugned a huge cast of characters - police and prosecutors in Perugia, many of the witnesses, the population of Perugia, the police lab specialists in Rome, the media, the Supreme Court - seemingly almost anyone she could think of related to the case except the disgraced Judge Hellmann and the disgraced DNA experts Conti and Vecchiotti.

We have a post coming up which will contend with some of Bongiorno’s false claims about the evidence and police and prosecution behavior - which Judge Nencini himself several times signaled that he knew about quite differently.

These below are among the nasty cracks Bongiorno made at Perugia and the respected officials and good people there. They are taken from Machiavelli’s courtroom reporting, and are what helped cause the growing skepticism and resentment.

3..  Reads book snippet about French revolution, describe a horde of sanculots and armed citizens

4.  Bongiorno: a bloodthirsty mob chasing defendants

5.  Bongiorno was shocked by the angry mob before Perugia courtroom [after Hellmann verdict]

6.  Bongiorno speech hinges around the persecution of defendants.  Describes her fear, fleeing from Perugia.  Says people didn’t know trial papers

7.  Bongiorno focuses on the “early bias” against accused, since four days after finding of body. 

8.  Complains Sollecito doesn’t find a job because has a murderer’s face

9.  Why did they accuse and put them in jail so early? They didn’t even have the knife. 

10.  Bongiorno: authority had to chose between a “tranquillizing” student motive and a dangerous serial killer “worrying” scenario. 

11.  Says: it was Perugia population who chose the less disquieting scenario, and the investigation was based on “less alarming motive” choice

14.  Bongiorno: women are suspected because of today women’s empowerment movements. 

15.  Most active and free women are seen as more suspicious. 

19.  Speaks about “creativity” before the trial.  Speaks at length about the bloody shoeprint. 

20.  Says Knox was the main character, she was so before the trial. 

21.  She is tired of Raffaele reduced by “half”, a half character seen as a reflection of Amanda

24.  Says Raffaele was “halfed”, against him only half pieces of circum evidence: half shoeprint’ knife compatible only if you consider half of blade

25.  Only half of the house of murder investigated.  An interrogation considered evidence of Knox’s calunnia. 

29.  Amanda was caught by anxious urge to answer.  She became uncomfortable because police asked too much, altering her serenity

30.  Says they also insulted Knox

31.  Talking about insults [to Sollecito’s family members], Bongiorno cries. 

32.  Sollecito’s aunts wiretapped as if they were the most dangerous murderers. 

33.  Bongiorno criticized interpreter Anna Donnino. 

34.  Said Donnino altered Knox’s statements. 

35.  Said Donnino acted as mediator not interpreter

36.  Called Donnino a “medium” ( means .  “psychic”)

37.  One of the elements against Sollecito is the accusation of having sidetracked investigation.  Said it was false. 

38.  Said the Cassazione suggests Raffaele lied about timings of call to carabinieri, accused him of sidetracking because he lied. 

39.  But, said, if we look at Knox, it’s not her sidetracking investigation, but rather investigators sidetracking her. 

40.  Said trial was determined by the fact Donnino fid not understand English well, thus sidetracked Knox

41.  Talked about police mistake on the “see you later” message

42.  Said Knox did not commit a crime but convinced herself she did.  B.  mentions the internalized false confession type. 

43.  Explained the three types of false confessions. 

44.  Said Amanda was “induced into raving” by “psychic” Donnino. 

48.  Bongiorno urged judges to get out from codes and get into the hearts of the two young accused. 

49.  Amanda, B.  says, did not understand why Raffaele accused her. 

50.  When Knox learns about bring accused by Sollecito she had a collapse while the “psychic” was saying “remember!”

51.  She described Knox as almost unconscious, buckled because she trusted Sollecito, thinks the police and Raff say so, must be true. 

53.  Said the room is flooded with evidence of Guede all over the place. 

54.  Said that was the nightmare of Perugia, the intruder nightmare. 

55.  Spoke about Guede’s alleged lifestyle. 

56.  Said there is no evidence the three people hung out together. 

57.  Said when the investigators found Rudi, they could not abandon the first suspects, because it’s difficult like leaving your first love mate

61.  Said Mr.  Kokomani “materialized” when investigators had desperate need to prove Sollecito and Guede knew each other

62.  Bongiorno talked about “Aladdin lamp effect”: detectives wishes which materialize. 

65.  Said that Kokomani was offered 10k euros for his testimony.  [Wrong, that was a media offer he refused.  ]













Tuesday, December 31, 2013

More Collateral Damage: Owner Hopes To Sell 7 Via Della Pergola Though Chances Seem Slim

Posted by Peter Quennell





Please click here for a Powerpoint in which Kermit explains how this unusual house came to be.

The house has just gone on sale for E460,000, which is not steep for two apartments with parking in Perugia, a high-income town with a huge university. But whether the house sells fast - this is said to be the best season price-wise - we will have to wait and see. 

The owner is a retired woman who lives in Rome and the rental payments were once an important part of her income. As one of the victims of the crimes perpetrated late in 2007 she has been legally represented at the 2008 and 2009 trials and the 2011 and 2013 appeals.

The house seems unlikely to attract professionals as a place for them to reside, with its continuing appearance in the news and daily visits. Rental income in recent years from the several groups of young people who occupied the apartments has been quite spasmodic.

It may be that the house is replaced by a parking facility. Infiltration of carbon monoxide gas from the cars above has been a problem recently, and there is to be a very long escalator right from about there to carry commuters up the hill to the city center.

For a short time in 2007 it gave eight residents such joy. But perhaps it is better gone - there are better ways to remember Meredith by.

Posted on 12/31/13 at 08:24 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesItalian relatedThe wider contextsPerugia context
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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The City Of Perugia And Perugia University Award The First-Ever Meredith Kercher Scholarship

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Image above: Stephanie Kercher and Olivia Taylor with, center, the interpreter]


This post carried the announcement of the fellowship kindly created to honor the memory of Meredith.

Now the award today of the fellowship is widely reported in Italy where Meredith is still widely regarded as one of their onw with her fluent Italian, caring persona, and Mediterranean good looks.

This report is from the Gazzetta del Sud.

Perugia, June 4 - A British student on Tuesday received the first scholarship honouring Meredith Kercher from a fund set up in her name by the Umbrian city of Perugia and the university she was studying at when she was murdered in 2007.

“Meredith’s murder is a wound that will never be healed in the hearts of Perugians where Mez will always be, along with a sense of impotence at not having been able to defend her,” Mayor Wladimiro Boccali said.

Meredith’s elder sister Stephanie was on hand to see the honour go to London student Olivia Taylor at a ceremony with the mayor and the head of Perugia’s famous University for Foreigners.

“It’s the first time I’ve been here for a happy event,” Stephanie Kercher said [she speaks good Italian.] “Now I want to study to remember Meredith,” said Taylor, whose grant will help her learn Italian at the university attended by thousands of foreign students.

This, one of the many reports in Italian, is from Umbria 24.

“Without truth there can be no forgiveness, it is difficult to even talk about forgiveness when there is no truth” an excited Stephanie Kercher said, in Perugia this morning in the City during the delivery of the scholarship in honor of her sister Meredith, who was killed in Perugia in 2007.

She was speaking of the legal proceedings of Amanda and Raffaele. “It’s the first time I have come to Perugia for a happy event” said Stephanie, accompanied by the lawyers Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna. “I’m happy for Olivia, who will be here in Perugia, and I’m glad for a moment of happy memories of Meredith. “

The scholarship in memory of Meredith Kercher went to a London girl named Olivia Taylor, who had already arrived in Perugia to follow a two-month course of Italian at the University for Foreigners of Perugia at which Meredith Kercher studied. At the ceremony for the delivery of the award was the mayor of Perugia, Wladimiro Boccali, the rector of the University for Foreigners, Giovanni Paciullo, and the university president, Maurizio Oliviero. The award is for a two-month course in Italian contributed by the University for Foreigners, plus the outward journey and return to London which are paid for by the town, and accommodation in a university residence.

“Mez is forever in our hearts” the mayor said during the ceremony. “The murder of Meredith has left a wound that will never heal. Meredith will always be in the hearts of Perugians who have a sense of her powerlessness against her attackers and of her not being able to defend herself. I also want to thank the Kercher family for the dignity shown during all this tragedy and the kind words they have for our city”...

“I do not know exactly what to expect from the new legal process” said Stephanie. “We are still waiting for answers to questions that have not had any.” As for the book of Amanda Knox, when asked if she had read it, Stephanie Kercher said: “No, I have not read the book of Amanda Knox, and I do not read these books.”

The young Olivia Taylor hopes that this scholarship in honor of Meredith is “a matter of comfort for her family”.

Thank you, Olivia Taylor, for competing for and accepting the scholarship. If yoiu follow in the footsteps of Meredith you will go far, and the world will see a real difference.

There’s a note below the video on the context.



The images below are from the court sessions in October 2008 when Guede was sentenced and AK and RS sent to trial. This was the first time since Meredith’s funeral in Croydon that the family appeared in public, and the second time in Perugia.

Harrassment of the family by the Knox-Mellas PR shills and demonization of the prosecution and police were heading for a crescendo, putting great pressure on Meredith’s family. You can see some tension in their faces although as usual their stoicism was pretty amazing.

Curt Knox and Edda Mellas were in Perugia for those hearings, but they lurked uphill of the courthouse during the court sessions so that, as they admitted, they did not have to look Meredith’s family in the eyes.

TJMK came online a month or two before those hearings, essentially to help represent Meredith and her family in face of the horrific PR effort to disappear them and to bend by illegal means the trial or first appeal outcome.

This is the first time ever for a member of Meredith’s family to be in Perugia without a Knox, Mellas or Sollecito present and seeking the limelight.











Posted on 06/04/13 at 09:10 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryThe wider contextsPerugia context
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Giuseppe Castellini Speaks Up For A “Kind Homeless Man Of Many Aspects”

Posted by Jools





Giuseppe Castellini (above) is the editor of the Journal of Umbria in Perugia. Throughout the case he and his various reporters have done amazing, fearless work.

Today he writes movingly about the sad passing in prison of the honest and brave free spirit Antonio Curatolo, who had been charged during the appeal on a minor eight-year-old charge, apparently at someone’s insistence.

Our lives crossed on the path of the tragic murder of Meredith Kercher. And, somehow, we were no longer separated. Even though, rather than crossing paths, in time they’ve run parallel courses. Up to Friday, when death took him away, at the age of 56. And in his passing we (I speak in the plural because the same sentiment is felt by Francesca Bene, Luca Fiorucci and Antioco Fois, the colleagues who have been following the Meredith case and who met him), we feel deeply saddened.

Antonio Curatolo was no saint. But he had his candour, his naturalness, his humanity and his inner rectitude. Sometimes, I felt he was perhaps dissociated. The homeless romantic and anarchic that reads a lot and has a self-taught culture, living on the edge of society by choice, but who “struggles along” not always in a limpid way. A stray cat, clever and naïve at the same time. Tough and kind, profoundly honest, and at the same time illicit.

I remember when we were informed that a homeless man told someone (who then informed us) that he had seen on the night of the murder Amanda and Sollecito in the Piazza Grimana in Perugia, when as usual he was reading while sitting on a bench in the piazza. The story is well known: Amanda and Sollecito are at the edge of the basketball court, and Raffaele sometimes gets up and leans over the guard rail.

An important testimony, because they had said they were asleep at that time. I remember the contact, the meeting, making him repeat continuously until he was exhausted, what he had seen. Trying to make him contradict himself, to see if what he was saying was true.

A good relationship was born in those days. We spoke about other things apart from the Meredith case, things in general. We got to know each other, we talked about our lives, so many things. And, eventually, it was not very difficult to convince him to tell the investigators what he had told us.

Even though we had to insist (with him, but also with the other witnesses that we found) on surpassing that anti-State Italian mentality in which everyone goes about his business, and that if you rather trust the State you’ll end up in trouble. He testified, and since his testimony was very important (he was defined by the media, with a bit of exaggeration, the “super-witness”), he was “grilled” very thoroughly. 

But he essentially repeated the same story. So much so that the defence teams of Amanda and Raffaele, in the end they stirred in the direction of Curatolo maybe having seen the two youngsters, but not on the night of the murder. His version fully convinced the GUP Judge Micheli (who pointed out that no one could dare question his story because of the mere fact that Antonio had chosen an unusual way of life) and also convinced the judges of the First Instance trial.

Not those judges of the appeal, though, according to whom all the witnesses - especially if found by journalists – were either mythomaniacs, or were prompted to exaggerate by the suppose desire at all costs for a journalistic scoop by reporters (showing, if I may say so myself, a strong cultural retardation of the judges and a very provincial point of view - far from the reality – toward the print press and, more generally, media).

Antonio, as mentioned, was not a saint. His relationship with drugs not only bears witness to his admission that he was a heroin addict, but also the legal troubles related to possession of drugs with intent to sell. An accumulation of small penalties that brought him under house arrest and in prison. Although he proclaimed his innocence. The last time I saw him, some months ago, was when I met him in the street and I accompanied him to the small flat he had rented in Corso Cavour. To complete the house arrest penalty, he told me.

But seeing him enter into that small apartment, after seeing him in the cardboard houses that he was building here and there, gave me the sad impression of a little bird entering a birdcage.

In short, I loved him, despite some aspects of his life. When I saw him we smiled. And they were smiles of men sincere with each other. I had affection for him. His sins, I’m sure, have been forgiven.

May the earth of the grave rest lightly on you, Antonio.


Posted on 08/14/12 at 12:27 PM by JoolsClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Solving The Puzzle Of Where The New Perugia Criminal Courthouse Is Actually Located

Posted by Peter Quennell



Massei/Hellman court is in the brick building at top left; Rudy Guede was tried in the new courthouse at hard right.


With this, we seem to have onsite images of all the key locations in Meredith’s case. Click all images for larger versions.

This at right above, and below, is Perugia’s new criminal courthouse. It was first used in October 2008 by Judge Micheli for Rudy Guede’s trial and Sollecito’s and Knox’s arraignment for trial. One advantage is that it has underground parking so defendants can enter away from the media.

It was built by Siemens in the early 1900s as a generating station. Media descriptions of the 2008 trial did not explain precisely where the new court is, and the few media images online (see last 2 images here) only showed the front entrance and thus gave the impression of quite a small building.

In fact it turns out to be directly downhill from the Court of Assizes and right under the opaque windows of the court used by Judge Massei and Judge Hellman. (Their court is in the brick building visible high up in several of these images.)

Also it is really quite large and it contains several criminal courts. We’ll check for any video showing the interior. The complete interior rebuild was paid for by the central Ministry of Justice.

By the way Google Images does a terrific job of caching our images. These should show up there soon.


Below: familiar piazza entrance to assize courts is to left, new courts are at lower level on right

Below: the location of Meredith’s house relative to the courts is at the top center in this satellite view.

Below: five images showing the court’s south side, seen from the tunnel mouth and the street beside

Below: empty van is parked by ramp to underground parking, the route taken by RG + RS + AK


Below: Masssei/Hellman court shows up at top in two shots below; windows are opaque so no view down.


Below: two media images of the new entrance, which is all that was shown in the main media.

Below: the ramp down to underground parking where perps enter is shown in foreground

Posted on 04/05/12 at 11:46 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Solving The Puzzle Of Where The Perugia Central Police Station Is Actually Located

Posted by Peter Quennell





The questura is not located in Perugia’s traditional center, that is for sure.

In fact, it is located in an outlying semi-industrial area to Perugia’s north-west away from the rest of officialdom - unusual, but very smartly located for speed and ease of access.  The central railway station is two minutes away to the south, and there are fast routes up to the massif and through the tunnel to Perugia’s eastern side.

Also, fast routes to the autostrada, and to the southern part of the town. And as you can see in the last image below, the terminal of the monorail is about 100 yards away. If one catches one of the automated cars as it heads out, one can be at the top of the massif in five minutes or less.

A number of visitors wanting to get their paperwork straight are appearing online to ask for help in figuring out where the questura is.

The first address one comes across online (Via del Tabacchificio 21) has been phased out, perhaps because “Tobacco Street” doesnt quite create the right vibes. And the new address (Via Cortonese 157)  is still being phased in. 

While most maps and GPS systems dont show Via del Tabacchificio any longer, at the same time they dont yet show Via Cortonese 157. Via Cortonese is a very long street and it has several other police presences located on it.

Images here (courtesy of Google Earth’s Street View) are sequenced from facing west to facing east. If you want to take a virtual sightseeing tour of the area, the GPS coordinates are 43°06’29.99” N 12°21’57.44” E.

The first Google Earth image below (click for a larger image) shows the questura exactly at center at left, beyond the railway lines, and Meredith’s house exactly at center at right, at the north end of the massif. Each has a blue ring around it.

Their distance apart is about 3 kilometers or 2 miles.





Below: an older Google Earth satellite view. The divided highway to the questura’s left is now complete.




Below: one view of the questura from the east; most of Perugia is behind the camera



Below: two images of the questura from the south; the main gate is at center ahead








Below: two images from the west; most of Perugia is off at right and station at far right








Shot above looks east toward Meredith’s place with monorail terminal (below) behind camera.

Posted on 04/04/12 at 03:30 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Monday, March 05, 2012

With Free Citywide Wifi Internet Perugia Further Expands Its Impressive Infrastructure

Posted by Peter Quennell


Along with the Italian economy in general Perugia has been taking its share of knocks.

However it is cleverly managed and under the ancient shell of the central part it is (like the food store above, one of many boutiques) surprisingly modern. Its infrastructure is among the best in Italy and it would beat that of many cities in the US.

Perugia has an excellent rail link to the rest of Italy with frequent trains, a city bus service that goes where you’d imagine no bus could go, an automated light rail system that heads up the side of the massif, and an expanding amount of public parking in multi-floor facilities.

Perugia already has a long-haul escalator at the south end of the massif, and it will have another long-haul escalator in its future from the parking facility opposite Meredith’s house to the top of the hill. Mobile phone coverage, never easy to install in ancient cities, has long offered generally good service throughout.

Now free open wireless connectivity to the internet throughout the city is announced and it should be fully operational within three months.

The Italian city of Perugia will get free Wi-Fi by June, in time for its annual Umbria Jazz festival. CentralCom and a temporary group of companies including Tiscali and Umbra Control won a contract to build a network of Wi-FI hotspots, starting with the municipalities of Perugia and Terni.

The project, funded by the Region of Umbria for a total of EUR 150.000, could be extended to cities in Umbria with subsequent funding. Internet access will be free of charge for two hours a day, and within institutional sites, with no time limits. Payment profiles will also be available without limitation of time/volume.

The US seems seem to have the edge over most of Europe in free hotspots. They are in almost all the fast-food stores and many public buildings. The US also has something that is generally illegal in Europe: many personal domestic hifi networks which are left open (sometimes unwittingly but usually with intent) which anyone adjacent may use.

But citywide wifi is not yet widespread in either Europe or the US, and where Perugia goes now, hopefully all cities will go next. 

Posted on 03/05/12 at 06:56 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Don’t Be Fooled By The Recent Claim That The Knox-Sollecito Case Imperils Perugia University

Posted by Peter Quennell





At first glance this headline looks terrible: Perugia: Less Money And Students; University Is at Risk Of Closure

Something has gleefully been made of this in some quarters to the effect that those meanies who prosecuted Knox and Sollecito have seriously dissuaded other students from enrolling and now put the whole university and town at risk.

Look into the cries of risk of closure more closely though, and a rather different and more innocuos explanation emerges.

Google this phrase “università a rischio chiusura” and for all of Italy you will get nearly three MILLION hits.  Three million claims is an awful lot of gloom and doom - and in fact Perugia only came very lately (and very mutedly) to the sobfest.

Universities all over Italy (map of just some above) have been forcefully claiming for several years that this or that faculty or department or program risks closure. This intensified when one year ago the Rome Parliament capped university staff costs.

Articulate academics are hardly famous for simply taking their medicine and keeping quiet about it. Especially as staff cutbacks are also happening in corporations and other institutions all over Italy (and all over Europe, for that matter).

And there are not a lot of empty seats in the lecture halls and seminar rooms in most Italian universities including Perugia.. Most programs still get more applications than there are places.

The number of foreign exchange students headed for Perugia may have dropped slightly, but with current uncertain economic conditions they have also dropped somewhat all over. Perugia continues to attract more and more Chinese students.

Budget wars all over the world are the same. In the best way they know how, the universities are putting in their bids for resources, and trying to show the world how they in particular in the bigger scheme of things really matter. Very healthy.

There are no signs the town or university of Perugia are arguing against the prosecution’s Cassation appeal going forward.

Posted on 01/25/12 at 09:04 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mignini’s And Giuttari’s Florence Convictions Are Annulled: No Evidence, And No Jurisdiction

Posted by Peter Quennell





The ANSA news service is reporting that Giuliano Mignini’s and Michele Giuttari’s 2010 convictions have been annulled.

The Florence appeal court ruled scathingly that no evidence exists and also that the Florence trial court did not have jurisdiction. The case might be looked at again by the prosecutors in Turin or Genoa, which Mignini and Giuttari favor to get the spurious case against them more than just annulled. They’d like its root causes brought out. .

Mignini had caught the exact-same Florence prosecutor on tape, with a judge’s consent, bewailing the fact that the Monster of Florence cabal was tying his hands. That trial was simple a panicky attempt to get himself out from under which will hurt his career and the trail judge’s too.

It wasn’t Mignini who invented the Florence cabal (or satanic sect) notion, and he is suspicious of people (like Preston and Spetzi) who work so hard to deny it.  Many of the Italian Monster of Florence books also argue 180 degrees away from Preston. Hmmm. What hold does the Monster of Florence sect have over Preston? Is he a secret satanist?! The world really wants to know…

Mignin’s quoted remarks outside the appeal court make it sound like he would like to resume the investigation of why Dr Narducci died suspiciously in Lake Trasimeno. That had to be halted because the Florence prosecutor seized all the papers on the case.

We have posted several times as much on Mignini as most of the UK and US media combined, and we translated a long email from him, and two long and very revealing interviews.

Kermit’s contrast of Preston’s satanic obsessions with Mignini’s really very mundane interests are an absolute must-view.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Sixteenth Appeal Session: Lawyers For Patrick Lumumba And Victim’s Family Weigh In

Posted by Peter Quennell


1) Lawyers for Patrick Lumumba

A translation of the Umbria24 TV station report kindly provided by main poaster Tiziano.

MEREDITH, LUMUMBA’S LAWYER: “AMANDA IS DIABOLICAL” PATRICK: “I HAVE RELIVED THOSE DAYS”

“PATRICK IS THE SECOND VICTIM IN THIS CASE”

By Maurizio Troccoli

The civil parties are playing the last cards too in the Mez trial, represented by the lawyers of Meredith Kercher’s family and those of Patrick Lumumba, the young man who ended up in gaol with Amanda and Raffaele, because he was accused of being the author of the murder by the young American.

A few days before the sentence, which should come on Monday, and the reconstructions of what happened that night between the 1st and 2nd November, 2007 in the cottage in via della Pergola in Perugia, go on stage. A bloody murder which has seen the two ex-lovers condemned to 26 years prison for Amanda, and 25 for Rafaele at the first stage [trial}.

Patrick Lumumba was set free after a few days of detention thanks to an “iron clad alibi” which put him in a different place from “the house of horrors”, that is to say in his night spot, together with a Swiss professor, Roman Mero, who witnessed this, thus helping the young man to get back his freedom.

That testimony was sufficient to convince the magistrates - notwithstanding the accusations of Amanda - of his “complete non-involvement in the facts”, which originated in the questioning at the Perugia police headquarters on November 6th, 2007.

Patrick is still waiting for justice to be done, to be compensated for what was taken from him, for payment for the person who was stained by such a serious crime which sees him as “the second victim of this tragedy”, as his defender Claudio Pacelli said this morning. “Patrick has paid a lot, not only for his imprisonment but also for the damage to his image, said Pacelli. “My client ended up in the newspapers and on TV all over the world as the author of the murder of the young Englishwoman.”

“During the appearance of my lawyer - [Patrick] says – it is as though I had gone back, reliving that really sad period. We hope that justice is done. Today I relived those moments - the night when the professor came to the pub saying that he wanted to say good-bye because that next day he would be going back to Zurich,” Lumumba said, “However he came to save me, with neither I nor he realising this.”

“Amanda falsely accused an innocent person - lawyer Pacelli affirmed - exclusively to avoid being discovered. A classic scheme. Amanda is a consummate actress, a very intelligent girl, astute and cunning. One who really knows how to inspire the emotions of whoever is listening to her.”

And the fault of what happened to the damage of Patrick resides completely in “the young American, Amanda”, whose profile the lawyer drew in court, defining her “an explosive mixture of drugs, sex and alcohol.”

He added, “Quite the opposite of sweet, she has a split personality, fresh-faced, the daughter everyone would like, Saint Maria Goretti, and then with her histrionic side [she is] an impostor, she is a she-devil, satanic, diabolic, addicted to borderline behaviour.

What Amanda says when she claims that Patrick’s name was suggested to her by the police is a huge lie. She was the one to arbitrarily choose to point to Patrick as the guilty on, in order to distance herself from suspicion,” the lawyer said further.

2) Lawyers for the victim’s family

[translation to follow]


Thursday, September 01, 2011

Perugia Prosecutors In Italian News Daily For Formidable Investigations Into National Government

Posted by Peter Quennell


The apartment one down from the top in the above shot belongs to Claudio Scola.

Very expensive property. It has a prize view of Rome’s colosseum especially (image at bottom) at night. Up to a couple of months ago Claudio Scola (first image below) was the economic development minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s hard-pressed national Italian government.

He then had to resign.

He is under investigation for apparently accepting major renovations to that apartment as a freebie after he purchased it several years ago. Various parties on the giving end of this seeming large bribe for political favors are being investigated. The one most in the Italian national news is Diego Anemone (second image below).

Perugia prosecutors were handed the case by Rome prosecutors because Rome prosecutors choose not to handle cases involving national parliamentarians. They prefer that political investigations do not get slimed, demonized, or otherwise leaned-upon.

This is not something that ever seems to bother the formidable Perugia prosecutors, who have a good national reputation for never blinking.

The Claudio Scola case is tangentially connected to their ongoing investigations into political bribes at the national level for construction contracts related to the 2006 winter Olympics and the city partly leveled in the 2010 earthquake in the Appenine mountains.

In fact Perugia prosecutors are presently the most high-profile of those of any provincial capital in Italy. Their investigations are being reported upon almost daily in this case that could see PM Berlusconi’s grip on power relinquished.

They also have an outstanding record of non-reversals of their convictions by the Italian Supreme Court. The Knox and Sollecito defense teams are fully aware of this and have been ultra-careful never to raise questions about the prosecution.

And they have been spinning their wheels on the hard evidence. Unlikely they’d take bets on their winning the appeal. Signs are they realize they are cooked.




Posted on 09/01/11 at 10:05 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Brunello Cucinelli Perhaps The Most Globally Prominent Of Perugia’s Highly Successful Industrialists

Posted by Peter Quennell


The wealthy town of Perugia has not only a widely respected mayor, city administration, and justice system.

Its large main university houses some of the most advanced research and brightest academics in Europe. And the Perugia area is the home to some of Italy’s most successful industrialists.

The wildly successful fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli owns a worldwide chain of fashion stores, including a number in the United States. He has two stores in Manhattan and has just opened a new store in Las Vegas (images of the interior and his designs below).

His main factory is in Solomeo (image below) which is a stone’s throw to the west of Perugia, and just to the north of Capanne where Knox and Sollecito spend their days and nights The factory is in a converted castle (image below) and employs about 500 highly skilled and very well paid garment workers.

Mr Cucinelli has the reputation of being a really kind, decent, humane man. This description of him is from the Radio Netherlands Worldwide website.

Brunello Cucinelli’s business empire is doing very well thank you.

His range of luxury cashmere clothing has made him a wealthy man.  But, going against the grain of the image of the heartless industrialist, Mr Cucinelli believes in a new form of capitalism “where profit is used to improve the condition of human life.”

With that goal in mind, he is determined that his 500 workers should count themselves amongst the happiest factory workers in Europe.  They work not in a soulless factory building, but in a beautifully restored village nestled in the Umbrian hills in Italy.

The village of Solomeo has a 14th century castle at its heart, and its here that Cucinelli’s factory workers come, unimpeded by time clocks or mean bosses.  They eat a 3 course home cooked Italian lunch for a couple of euros, they’re paid an average of 20% than their counterparts in other factories, and a percentage of the business profits go to community arts and culture.

As a child, Cucinelli lived in a harmonious home, but saw his father ground down by his bosses at work, and determined that when he became a boss, he would never lose sight of his employees’ humanity.  And he’s kept that promise.

“I think this moment is the economic, moral and civil result of how we’ve behaved in the past 25 years. So I’m quite happy about this major change in humanity. I think we’ve had 25 years of universal economy in which we have all too often only worried about profit. I think that now something new is coming.”

Mr Cucinelli is again in the national news in Italy because he is contributing over one million dollars to restoring the fourth century Etruscan arch in Perugia (image at bottom) very close to what was once Meredith’s home. The arch is right across the street from Meredith’s language university, and she must have passed through it a number of times.

Some of Perugia’s lively discotheques are up through there, and the buses for discotheque goers that the witness Curatolo saw on the night head right up there. 

Meredith really admired personal qualities of hard work, caring, humaneness and diligent application. Mr Cucinelli is certainly an epitome of all of those.






Posted on 08/25/11 at 09:53 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Post-Trauma Example Of Italy As One Of The Fastest-Learning And Adjusting Societies

Posted by Peter Quennell


Here is an image of Elisa Benedetti whose sad death after crashing and then disabling her car in deep mud our poster Catnip profiled back here.

Two other post-accidents traumas have been much in the news in Italy as Il Giornale today describes.

Two drivers were in traffic accidents in which they feared they had caused the death of others, and both are now dead.

One after dying of cold in the woods after wandering aimlessly for days, and the other after jumping off a bridge. In the case of the first, nobody was even hurt, and in the case of the second, the child who was slightly knocked by the car was released from hospital the same day.

As one would expect in Italy, these incidents have been the subject of much public discussion and several TV chat shows, similar to those for missing people that we learned about in the case of the missing or murdered Sonia Marra.

Now hospital emergency rooms and police forces are moving to beef up their capacity to provide psychological support to those similarly traumatized.

In the case of Elisa Benedetti, the cops tried really hard to help her in the times when she called them for help on her cellphone. Next time they might have psychological knowhow on their side.

Few other countries in the world come close to Italy for a caring population driving constructive effects like these.

Posted on 03/30/11 at 12:31 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Despite Its Rep Perugia Was Always Quite A Nice Safe Place - And Now Is Becoming Even More-So

Posted by catnip

“Noir City”, the “Disneyland of Drugs”, “Drug-Dealing Capital”, a “Sex-and-Drugs La Dolce Vita” for university students, an “Ibiza in Italy”.

All these phrases, and more, have been used by the media to describe Perugia. A recent Porta-a-Porta report visually represented Perugia’s situation by showing images of Elisa Benedetti and Meredith Kercher, and using a mountain of ecstasy pills as an iconic motif.

The Mayor of Perugia Wladimiro Boccali has had enough of this media presentation of his beloved city and says that the multi-faceted problem is not restricted to just within Perugia’s Etruscan-age city walls, but affects all places everywhere.

In a long and powerful rebuke, he called the media to task for having replayed the “Meredith schema” in relation to the recent tragic events surrounding Elisa Benedetti.

In this age of global networking, no city is an island anymore.

Criminal activity may have been attracted to Perugia precisely because of its tranquillity, its quiet and rural setting, and the vibrant student dynamic of the city may possibly also be a contributing factor, but these are not the only ones.

The vast majority of students are not drug-addicts and alcoholics, and manage to have a good time on Fridays and Saturdays and arrive home safe and sound.

Yet where there is a supply of drugs, there is also a demand, and at the core of this lies an alienation and dissatisfaction that is the responsibility of everyone, families and authorities combined, to face up to and to deal with. Otherwise the self-destructive nihilistic consumerism so often adopted by today’s young people will lead, tragically, to only one possible outcome.

So, in response to this, and to facilitate a coordinated approach, Prefect Enrico Laudanna convened a round-table summit meeting in February.

Present were the heads of the various sectors of law enforcement and the civil authorities: the Quaestor (=Chief of Police), Sandro Federico, the Provincial Commanders of the Carabinieri, Carlo Corbinelli, of the Guardia di Finanza (=Financial Police), Vincenzo Tuzi, of the State Forest Corps, Giorgio Piastrelli.

Plus of course the Mayor of Perugia, Wladimiro Boccali, along with Province Vice-President Aviano Rossi, and the Regional Director of Health, Emilio Duca.

After having heard the various analyses and proposals put forward regarding the grounds, both of security and of the battle against drugs, the Prefect urged the “maximum commitment and undertaking in realising the identified solutions”, under the technical and practical coordination of the Chief of Police.

The tide continues to turn.

No one needs to feel that they are adrift and rudderless in the world. No one needs to remain an island any more.

Sources:

“Elisa case: Boccali reacts to ‘Meredith schema’ ”, Umbria24, 05 February 2011

Tommaso Bori’s blog

Perugia Notizie blog

Fabio Polese, Fomento blog

“Drugs and security in Perugia focus of Prefecture meeting”,  TuttOggi, 07 February 2011

Giuseppe Mascambruno, Quotidiano blog

Posted on 03/21/11 at 01:01 PM by catnipClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Elisa Benedetti: Another Sad And Unneccesary Death Of A Young Woman Living In Perugia

Posted by catnip


About our series

This is another in our occasional series of posts on crimes involving young women in Perugia.

It shows how trouble and death so easily overwhelmed the vivacious Elisa, how drugs and drug dealers may have played a role, how the authorities handled Elisa’s disappearance, and how caring Perugia yet again rallied round.

Who was Elisa?

Elisa Benedetti was a 25 year old student and call-centre operator and lived in Città di Castello with her father Osvaldo, 51, and younger brother. Her mother had died two months previously.

The disappearance

On Saturday night, 29 January 2011, Elisa Benedetti, 25, out drinking with friends, disappeared into the dark wilderness north of Perugia. The car she was driving became bogged down on a muddy track.

She called the emergency number. She was lost, confused and frightened.

Eventually, the phone batteries gave out. It was icy cold and wet, mud everywhere. Around midday on the following Monday, her body was found about a kilometre from the abandoned car.

She had died from exposure to the cold.


Click here for more

Posted on 02/18/11 at 10:58 PM by catnipClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Friday, December 31, 2010

Report #5 On Perugia: A Walk Along The South (Street) Side Of Meredith’s House

Posted by SomeAlibi

Posted on 12/31/10 at 06:08 PM by SomeAlibiClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Caring Perugia Sets Up A Scholarship To Commemorate Meredith And Offer A Kind Gesture To Her Family

Posted by Peter Quennell

We previously posted this report on the Mayor of Perugia, Wladimiro Boccali, and how he reflects the city’s still caring for Meredith.

Now we have this report from UPI that he and the city council and the School for Foreigners have created a scholarship for Meredith.

ROME, Nov. 3 (UPI)—A scholarship has been set up in the memory of a British exchange student found murdered three years ago in central Italy, officials said.

Perugia and the city’s University for Foreigners said the scholarship would honor the life of Meredith Kercher, the ANSA news agency reported.

‘‘Meredith Kercher was here, our guest, to study and we want to remember her as a young student,’’ Mayor Wladimiro Boccali said Tuesday, the third anniversary of the day she was found with her throat cut…

‘‘Perugia wants a tangible sign to remain from her coming here,” Boccali said. ‘‘I think Meredith should be considered one of us and, as such, she should find a place in the city’s shared memory, with a thought also for her devastated family.’‘

Murders are extremely rare in Perugia so they affect the whole city deeply. The city council has also tried its best to be helpful to the family and encourage the search in the Sonia Marra case.

Sonia also was a visiting student.

Posted on 11/03/10 at 10:14 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Report #1 On Perugia: I Meet A Very Decent Brave Man

Posted by SomeAlibi


I walk the journey to the cottage from where Meredith and Sophie parted ways at the Via Del Lupo. Time from there to the cottage is 5 minutes at a leisurely pace. I video the journey for proof.

As I finish, I decide to walk up Via Scortici with the wall of the basketball court to my left, just to prove to myself that it isn’t what sane people would normally do (they go round the basketball court on the stairs of the Via Della Pergola which is why Amanda saw Rudy, practising on the basketball court, daily).

Managing not to get spread against the wall by a slowly passing car which honks at me for my patent stupidity, I come to the bottom corner of Piazza Grimana by the news-stand. The entrance to Corso Garibaldi, Raffaele’s road, is five metres away.

I turn round to look at the entrance to Piazza Grimana and see the figure of a man on crutches with shoulder-length white grey hair poking out from the bottom of a striped bobble hat walking away from me and towards the steps. Is it? I cross quickly and go round the top of the basketball court, along the pavement of Via Pinturicchio trying to look down to see if I can identify him. If it’s who I think it is, I haven’t been able to find him in previous days.

The man is dressed in a white and blue ski jacket and moves purposefully, even with the crutches. He goes to the steps of Via Della Pergola and heads down towards the cottage. But then he does a right and disappears into Via Melo which is half way down the steps and leads to an area of public garden. I go down after him, down the steps, and turn into Via Melo too. I try to take a picture but inadvertently engage video mode. That has to go quickly – I need to catch him.

I walk past a woman and then overtake him. As I do, I look back at him naturally as if just with a friendly passing nod. I allow my ‘spontaneous’ surprise to stop me.

“Mr Curatolo?” I say, in my best very English sounding Italian. He looks at me in a friendly way. His eyes are bright, unbothered, looking straight at me. He furrows his eyebrows minutely at me.

“Curatolo” he says with a pronunciation which is different from mine but in ways in which I’d never be able to explain. “Yes, I’m Curatolo” he says in Italian.

His voice is soft, clear, his diction precise, also unbothered, and he looks at me calmly.

I smile at him and nod, mostly to myself. I size him up for a couple of seconds. I reach out to shake his hand which he does so unhesitatingly, taking if from the crutch at his side. As I draw close to him, I hate myself for doing it, but I use an old trick a policeman taught me and breath in deeply through mouth and nose. It looks like a normal inhalation, which of course it is, but I’m smelling him. There isn’t the slightest wiff of alcohol or smoke about him, not from today or last night, completely corroborating the precision of his speech.

My spoken Italian, worse than my understood, will now let me down but I will try in Italian and English combined. He replies only in Italian.

“Thank you,” I say, shaking his hand, “Meredith Kercher; what you saw – so important.” I point to my eyes as I do so.

“Ah, Meredith Kercher,” he replies, understanding my action and nods. “Are you a friend?” he asks.

Well that’s a complex one. “Yes, in a way”, I reply, waggling my hand from side to side in the universal language of ‘kind of’.

“Ah, I see. That is a good thing,” he replies.

“Thank you,” I say again, patting my chest with the flat of my hand. “Many people say thank you. Many people.”

He nods.

“It is my pleasure,” he says in that calm voice again. Then he shrugs with those crutches of his but in a very measured way. “I saw what I saw” he says simply.

I look him straight in the eyes throughout the whole conversation. He doesn’t once break eye contact back – never - and I particularly note it when he says those final words. I look at him some more and I nod again.

“I know you did,” I say.

But this time I really do know it, with certainty. And since Raffaele and Amanda never said they went to the basketball court on the previous night and did what Curatolo saw them doing, I know when he saw them too.

“For you, sir,” I say and give him a twenty euro note to help him through today.

I ask if I might possibly take a quick picture, just to prove it happened, and he graciously says yes. I take a single one and then I shake his hand once more. I pat him on the back and smile a last time.

And then I say a final thank you and goodbye. I haven’t got the Italian to talk to him further but more than that, I want him to know that sometimes people say thank you and mean it without wanting anything else.

I walk off back towards Piazza Grimana and out into a little sunshine on an otherwise grey day as the bells start to chime out one o’clock.

Seeing the three disco buses last night after 11pm helped, about what happened that night in the square. But this meeting helped me more. I’ve dealt with more liars than most people have had hot breakfasts: I know the deeply credible ones, the squirming ones, I know the lies of drug addicts and thieves and other types more innumerable than I care to mention. He’s none of these things whatsoever. He is calm, measured, collected and together, softly spoken; a man with dignity even if he is down on his luck.

Curatolo saw what he saw, and now, as I start walking with a smile on my face, I know he did too.

Posted on 10/31/10 at 05:36 PM by SomeAlibiClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Corruption Of Appeal: Angry Top Criminal Judge Chiari Is Blatantly Forced Aside

Posted by Peter Quennell




Very Dirty Business

Only one month ago Umbria’s top criminal judge Sergio Matteini Chiari was to preside.

Now a very angry Judge Chiari has been forced aside with no public explanation from Chief Judge De Nunzio [image below] as to why.

A wildly wrongly qualified judge, Hellmann, a business judge with just two criminal trials in his past, both fiascos, mysteriously takes his place.

Rumors of foul play are appearing in the Italian media. Has Chief Judge De Nunzio been leaned upon politically? Do big bucks or rogue masons have any role in this?

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