How Bob Woffinden, Aggrandizing Investigative Journalist, Attempts To Perpetrate Innocence Fraud
Posted by The Machine
1. Woffinden and innocence fraud
These days innocence fraud is a very real thing.
A stern warning was issued to crime laboratory administrators that some post-conviction exonerations may have been secured by innocence activists using malicious tactics, or ‘innocence fraud’, creating potential public safety threats as convicted felons are released from prison.
In this post, I will analyse another example of innocence fraud, this time by British journalist Bob Woffinden on Meredith’s case. Woffinden has done this on other cases before.
He specialises in alleged miscarriages of justice, and has written articles for The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The New Statesman and authored a number a books about high-profile murder cases: Miscarriages of Justice; Hanratty: The Final Verdict and The Murder of Billy-Jo.
Woffinden’s default position when it comes to controversial murder cases seems to be to assume a miscarriage of justice, and to claim someone has been convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.
He’s claimed that James Hanratty, Jeremy Bamber, Barry George, Sion Jenkins and Jonathan King are all innocent. Reflexively anti-police, Woffinden as I described in the post linked to above on the James Hanratty case has a history of putting victims’ families through considerable pain.
2. Woffinden On Meredith’s case
Here he tries to prove that Rudy Guede is innocent of murder, and falsely claims he was convicted because he was black. He also tries to cast doubt on the hard fact that Meredith was sexually assaulted - or that the police got anything right.
Anyone who has read the official court documents and court testimonies with regard to the Meredith Kercher case will be able to assess Bob Woffinden’s professionalism and credibility and ethics as an investigative journalist article by reading his contorted take.
To those who really do know the case, it is immediately apparent that he’s pretty ignorant of the main facts, and that he hasn’t bothered to read the official court documents or the court testimonies available in English here.
He mindlessly repeats various endemic Friends of Amanda PR myths. For example, he erroneously claims the prosecutors concocted the scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.
“The second mistake then ensued from the first. Needing to explain the presence of their three suspects in connection with the supposed sexual assault – and knowing there was absolutely no evidence to link Guede with Knox and Sollecito – they [the prosecutors] concocted the absurd scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.”
Dr Mignini didn’t ever say anything about there being a sex orgy that went wrong when he presented his scenario to the court at the trial in 2009 and the numerous hearings (which Woffinden seems totally unaware of) in the 15 months before.
Instead he gave the court a detailed chronological account briefly summarized below of a vicious physical and sexual assault on Meredith, which culminated in her dying some time after the killers left and locked her in.
23:21: Amanda and Raffaele go into the bedroom while Rudy goes to the bathroom.
23:25: A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard, as shown by wounds to the skull. She resists all this. Rudy Guede enters.
23:30: Meredith falls to the floor. The three try to undress her to overcome her; they only manage to take off her trousers. The girl manages to get up, she struggles. At this point, the two knives emerge from the pockets of Amanda and Raffaele: one with a blade of four to five centimetres, the other, however, a big kitchen knife. Meredith tries to fend off the blades with her right hand. She is wounded.
23:35: The assault continues. Sollecito tries to rip off the English girl’s bra.
23:40: Meredith is on her knees, threatened by Amanda with the knife while Rudy holds her with one hand and with the other hand carries out an assault on her vagina. There is first a knife blow on her face, then straight away another. However, these blows are not effective. The three become more violent. With the smaller knife, Sollecito strikes a blow: the blade penetrates 4 centimetres into the neck.
There is a harrowing cry, which some witnesses will talk about. Amanda decides to silence her, still according to the video brought to court by the prosecutors, and strikes a blow to the throat with the kitchen knife: it will be the fatal wound. Meredith collapses on the floor.
23:45: Meredith is helped up by Rudy and is coughing up blood. The English girl, dying, is dragged along so that she can continue to be undressed.
Why is Woffinden unable to substantiate his claim that the prosecutors concocted the scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong with a verbatim quote from Mignini or Comodi?
Because they never claimed this at all. A competent and ethical professional journalist should be able to support every claim they make.
Woffinden regurgitates another popular PR myth by claiming that Rudy Guede pleaded guilty late in 2008.
“Even as he [Rudy Guede] pleaded guilty, he vehemently asserted his innocence, saying, ‘I can’t talk about things I haven’t seen and that didn’t happen to me’.”
Rudy Guede has never pleaded guilty or confessed to Meredith’s murder. He has always denied killing Meredith. He opted for a fast-track trial in mid 2008 because he could escape a blatant attempt to frame him as sole perpetrator by the Knox and Sollecito defense.
It meant he would automatically received a third off his prison sentence but at the time he had no idea what that would look like.
Bob Woffinden gets yet another fact wrong when he claims the Hellmann appeal court sanctioned a full review of the scientific evidence.
“…the Italian court sanctioned a full review of the scientific evidence on which they had been convicted.”
It did nothing of the kind. Hellmann merely asked Carla Vechiotti and Stefano Conti to review two pieces of DNA evidence - the knife and bra clasp evidence.
They didn’t review the bloody footprint on the bathmat, the bare bloody footprints which had been revealed by Luminol, or the five samples of Knox’s DNA or the blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage.
Yet another wrong “fact”. Bob Woffinden claims that a police officer flushed away Rudy Guede’s faeces and thus destroyed evidence.
“His recollection that he had leapt up from the toilet seat the instant he heard the scream was bizarrely corroborated by the fact that there were faeces still in the pan when the police arrived. Needless to say, one officer activated the toilet, thereby flushing away important evidence.”
Needless to say? In fact this claim is complete and utter nonsense. The faeces in the toilet wasn’t flushed away. It was carefully collected as evidence and tested. However, it didn’t yield any results.
“The faeces present in the toilet of that bathroom did not, however, yield any results, and Dr Stefanoni, the biologist of the Scientific Police, explained that the presence of numerous bacteria easily destroys what DNA might be found in faeces.” (The Massei report, page 43).
Why would Woffinden make these and other demonstrably untrue claims? It seems obvious that he wants to portray the Italian National Scientific Police (much respected by the FBI) as the Keystone Cops, in order to ridicule the forensic investigation, seemingly his purpose here.
Woffinden makes yet another false claim by stating that Guede made only one inconsistent statement.
“Guede’s solitary inconsistency was this. He did comment at the outset of the investigation that ‘Amanda doesn’t have anything to do with it’. But, at that stage, perhaps he couldn’t believe that she did have.”
Judge Micheli, who found Rudy Guede guilty of sexual assault and murder in October 2008, pointed out in his sentencing report of January 2009 that Guede’s accounts were unreliable and varied a lot.
“Analyzing the narratives of the accused…he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.”
Bob Woffinden also seems to be pushing the wrong notion that Rudy Guede didn’t implicate Amanda Knox until much later - which is another FOA PR myth.
Guede first implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito whilst on the run in Germany on 19 November 2007 in an intercepted Skype conversation with his friend Giacomo Benedetti:
Giacomo: “So they [Knox and Sollecito] killed her while she was dressed.”
Guede: “Yes, here it says that they [clothes] were washed in the washing machine, but that’s not true. She was dressed.”
Bob Woffinden makes the erroneous and offensive claim that there’s no evidence that Meredith was sexually assaulted,
“In their investigation, prosecutors made a series of blunders. The first serious mistake was their assumption that Meredith was sexually assaulted. If one takes cognisance of Guede’s account, there is no evidence of this. The second mistake then ensued from the first. Needing to explain the presence of their three suspects in connection with the supposed sexual assault – and knowing there was absolutely no evidence to link Guede with Knox and Sollecito – they concocted the absurd scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.”
Had Bob Woffinden actually bothered to read the key Massei trial report, he would have known that several medical experts - Dr Lalli, Professor Marchionni, Professor Bacci and Professor Gianaristide Norelli - testified that there were indications of sexual violence on Meredith.
Such conclusions were further explained [by Dr Lalli] at the hearing of April 3, 2009, in which it was highlighted that signs were present of sexual activity with characteristics of non cooperation by the young woman, which can be derived from the lesion pattern at the vulvo vaginal level (page 40 of transcripts).
 These signs were present in the purple ecchymotic type spots detected on the inner surface of the labia minora, the area where they are usually produced. It is the first point of contact for the sex organ or object including fingers penetrating the vagina and therefore the point at which an action ... performed without the full cooperation of both actors would produce purplish spots of this kind. (The Massei report, page 116).
He [Professor Marchionni] noted in this regard that, even without lubrication injuries of this nature are not the result of consensual sexual intercourse, and he argued that the cause of these lesions had originated from a “forcing” that could have been done by the penis or by hands (page 21, hearing on April 4, 2009). (The Massei report, page 117.)
With regard to sexual violence, he [Professor Bacci] referred to the inspection of the genital area conducted by Dr. Lalli at the morgue operating room. On the internal surface of the labia minora, attention was focused on areas of discolouration, which can be interpreted as small bruises, small abrasions associated with small haemorrhages indicative of “small lesions” (page 16, transcripts) consistent with a violent action of friction, pressure an typical of sexual violence and, while affirming the absence glaring signs of typical sexual violence (page 16, transcripts) he concluded compatibility with non-consensual sexual intercourse’ (page 16, hearing, hearing on April 18, 2009). (The Massei report, page 121.)
He [Gianaristide Norelli] further underlined the presence of a slight bilateral suffusion in the area of the iliac spines, i.e. in the areas corresponding to the anterior lateral part of the flank, which represent the end/terminal parts of the wings of the [pelvic] basin and the fact that “lesions in this area are fairly characteristic of seizure [grasping] and immobilisation”; [it is] an area which is ‘highly suggestive’ in the context of the investigation of sexual assault. (The Massei report, page 124).
It should be stressed that the the doctor who actually performed the autopsy - Dr Lalli - believed Meredith had been sexually assaulted.
“The prosecution focused on Lalli’s statements that he believed there had been non-consensual sex.” (Andrea Vogt, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2 April 2009).
You need just an ounce of common sense to know that murder victims who were also raped or sexually assaulted didn’t consent. The Kerchers’ lawyer Dr Maresca made this very point:
“Sex that ends with someone dead is not consensual.”
Dr Maresca also highlighted the fact several medical experts said there were signs of sexual violence in court. Dr Maresca told the court that the expert witnesses
“sustained the prior results and valuations of the coroner who performed the autopsy and the forensic evidence specialists who already testified”. He added: “And for the first time today, we also heard that the bruises on the victim’s hips were consistent with a sexually violent approach.”
Unbelievably, Bob Woffinden regards Rudy Guede as a reliable and credible witness.
I’m surprised anyone would believe Guede’s ever-changing versions of events when they are so blatantly untrue. Guede gave two different accounts of arranging a date with Meredith and they’re both demonstrably false.
Meredith didn’t go to the Halloween party at the Spanish students’ house on 31 October 2007.
Guede then changed his story and claimed that he had met her at Domus, but Meredith was with her friends continuously and none of them saw her with him. None of Guede’s friends saw him with her either.
“He [Rudy Guede] stated that he met the girl on Oct. 31 in the house of some Spanish students and did not meet her later in the “Domus” pub, that the next day, shortly before going to the date with Meredith…
In the third interrogation, by the P.M. [public prosecutor] on March 26, 2008, he changed the place of his meeting with Kercher on Oct. 31 from the Spanish students’ house to the Domus pub” (Judge Giordano’s Supreme Court report, page 17).
“…and also because none of Meredith’s friends (Amy Frost, Robyn Butterworth and  Sophie Purton, with whom she had gone out on the evening of Halloween, Oct. 31, 2007) nor any of Guede’s friends (among others AC and PM) had ever seen them talk to each other.” (Judge Giordano’s sentencing report, page 10).
Meredith had NOT arranged a date with Guede at the cottage on Via della Pergola on 1 November 2007. She and Sophie Purton left their friends early that evening because they mistakenly believed they had lectures the next day.
“They [Meredith Kercher and Sophie Purton] were to meet on the morning of the second at around 10:00 am for a lecture at the university…:” (The Massei report, page 35).
“Meredith was tired from the day before when she had come home about five in the morning; the next day she supposed that she had a lesson at the University at 10 am and she needed to prepare for this and she had to also think about resting” (The Massei report, page 58).
Judge Massei explained at length in his report why Rudy Guede’s claims he had a date with Meredith were not credible.
“Speaking of Meredith, there has already been occasion to make mention of her personality (serious, not superficial, with a strong character), of her romantic situation [i.e. her love life] (she had not long beforehand begun a relationship with Giacomo Silenzi), of the plans she had for that evening (studying, preparing for the following day believing that there would be classes at the University, finishing a piece of homework, as her mother recalled during the hearing of 6 June 2009, and resting).
None of the people she frequented and in whom she confided (her relatives and her English girlfriends) testified that Meredith had made any mention to them at all of Rudy, for whom, therefore, she must not have felt any interest. With regard to the totality of these circumstances, it must be considered that Meredith could only have made an outright refusal to Rudy’s advances” (The Massei report, pages 365-366).
In rejecting Guede’s final appeal Judge Giordano succinctly summarised the reasons why he was found guilty of sexual assault and murder in his Supreme Court report. It had nothing to do with the colour of his skin.
“The judgement rationale thus proceeds through rigorous logical steps, quite consistently, with no possibility of misinterpreting evidence, distorting significant data, or disruption of the overall probative reasoning. Meredith Kercher, before being slaughtered with the deadly blow at her throat, was the victim of a series of wounds, of forced restraining of her limbs, especially the left hand and arm - and on the cuff of the left sleeve of the sweatshirt she wore clear traces of DNA of the defendant are found – aimed at overcoming her resistance to sexual violence, of which the traces of DNA of Guede of the vaginal swabs are evidence, which then led to the violent behaviour of the deadly slaughtering.
The version of the accused is totally unrealistic because, even apart from the obvious omissions and contradictions detectable in his many statements, his previous acquaintance of Meredith, shaped in his story by a meeting on the night before the murder at the Domus pub, by a kiss between the two and by a date for the evening of the following day, is clearly disproved by a whole articulated testimonial structure,  coming from several people and indicating that: the two did not meet at the Domus (indicated by the testimonies of all the friends who were accompanying Meredith), even less did they converse, even briefly, at the Shamrock pub during the match between England and South Africa broadcasted the day before (indicated by the testimonies of AC, PM and F), and Kercher never confided anything, as would have been natural, to her friends about a date with Guede, not even on the afternoon of Nov. 1, as she had done in other occasions about details of her personal and love life (indicated by the testimonies of Robin Carmel Butterworth, Sophie Purton).
This is consistent with the portrait of Meredith’s character; she avoided sexual relations with other men apart from Giacomo Silenzi with whom she had begun a relationship that she absolutely did not mean to betray, as stated by her friends, especially not for unimportant adventures.” (Judge Giordano’s Supreme Court report, pages 17-18).
Bob Woffinden has made a name for himself by publicly championing the causes of convicted killers and sex offenders. Mainstream media organisations such as The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The New Statesman have given him a certain degree of credibilty and respectabilty by publishing his articles. Many people will trust him and assume that he’s a reliable and trustworthy journalist.
However, their trust is misplaced. His lack of due diligence with regard to his article about Rudy Guede and the Meredith Kercher case is disturbing and unacceptable. He doesn’t get the basics of journalism right - which is astonishing for someone who has worked as a journalist for decades. He gets basic facts wrong and he has made numerous demonstrably false claims.
A professional journalist should be able to substantiate every claim they make. Bob Woffinden is unable to do this because he has relied on some of the numerous factually inaccurate articles and the massive defense and PR spin about the case instead of the official court documents and court testimonies.
It defies belief that he accepts Rudy Guede’s fairy tale version of events. You don’t expect such childlike naivety from an adult let alone an investigative journalist. He’s obviously blissfully ignorant of the fact that Guede gave contradictory and confllcting accounts.
It seems he has a deep-rooted psychological need to believe in innocence and police malfeasance, which completely clouds his judgement to the point where he blindly supports and campaigns on behalf of people who are blatantly guilty of sexual assault and murder like James Hanratty and Rudy Guede.
If there’s a more sloppy and self-serving journalist in the world, I haven’t come across them yet.
Another very good article about lazy journalists who just get their facts wrong, The Machine. Not only did Woffinden not prove Guede’s innocence, he ends his article with this egregious false claim:
“The denouement seems to me calamitous. Not only is the case now a miscarriage of justice on every level but the resolution is founded on racism, a galling outcome that is presumably the very last that the Kercher family would have wanted.
Guede was convicted because he is black. He remains in prison because the Ivory Coast is unable to exert international pressure. Knox and Sollecito cannot now be retried; but at least, in the interests of justice, Guede’s conviction should be quashed and he should be released”.
Aside from his astonishing presumption in saying what the Kercher family “would have wanted”, the evidence at trial and through the review process ending with the Giordano report proves that Guede brutally assaulted and sexually violated Meredith Kercher, as well as participated in her murder in conjunction with Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
Here are Bob Woffinden’s contact details:
Telephone: 020 7240 9992
I’ve sent Bob a tweet with a link to this article. He hasn’t responded yet. I’d be interested to see whether he will apologise for the factual errors and correct them.
Bob Woffinden has contacted me and told me he’s in the process of updating his article about Rudy Guede.
A point Woffinden should include in his update, which the facts suggest should be a complete U-turn in main UK media, maybe along with a sermon on anti-Italianism.
There has been plenty of racism shown toward Guede - but it was not by Italian police and prosecutors and judges as Ergon above quotes Woffinden.
The racism came from the Knox and Sollecito teams which have made up a mountain of unproven allegations about him - drug dealer, serial housebreaker and so on.
You can see it frequently in both the Knox and Sollecito books. On drug dealing, Knox of course is quite an expert as she was heavily mixed up with it herself.
We could see the anti-Guede racism surfacing most recently in the language used by Sollecito against Guede, who was inconveniently pointing out that even the Supreme Court finally put Knox and Sollecito at the scene of the crime. As Machiavelli first highlighted here:
Guede will resume his counter-attack against Sollecito soon in the Florence courts (see previous main post below). His status wont change but it will leave RS and AK even more challenged.
In his article Bob says the murder “probably occurred” at about 9.30 pm which is when Guede had said that he arrived at the cottage. Well if the murder had probably occurred then, how are we to account for the introductions, general chat, foreplay and everything that Guede puts into his account before he says he went to the toilet and the murder actually occurred? So, if one believes Guede, that can’t be right for a start.
Thank you TM for pointing out the medical evidence of sexual violence. That was something which I rather underplayed in my book and which I will now correct. Without that a lot of Guede’s account does fit with the forensic evidence though. He does, however, insert himself at the cottage with proven inconsistencies and implausibilities that went a long way to rendering his story unbelievable.
Just as bizarre is Bob’s assertion that just because Knox and Sollecito faced a re-trial following the Hellmann annulment, so should Guede’s conviction have been quashed, so that the evidence against the three, taken together, could be re-appraised. That would have been rather difficult given that Guede’s conviction was definitive by then. The potential for that might have existed had the the three been tried together in the first place but it really is difficult to conceive of a different outcome for Guede with or without separate appeals.
Bob’s article is not all bad. For a start he clearly finds the circumstantial evidence against Knox and Sollecito compelling even if he does fall down the rabbit hole about the unreliability of the DNA evidence. But it is one thing to point to the behaviour, contradictions and implausibilities re Knox and Sollecito, but then overlook precisely the same facets undermining Guede’s account.
Elements in the media have been largely been stuck down the same rabbit hole on the DNA evidence and if my book has any value I would like to think it is in restoring that evidence to the prominence it deserves in the case.
We will be running a series on James’s fine new book starting from next week. Much posted on the DNA here:
This overview of the DNA collection by Olliesnep is especially eyepopping.
Another wrong claim. Woffinden talks of retrials. That all by itself sounds pretty ominous (why its a device used constantly by Knox & RS PR).
It implies that the original trial was somehow corrupted (it wasnt, it was very well-argued, and there was a unanimous verdict and an exhaustive report) and so a retrial or retrials had to be done.
There were none of course. No retrials. Only the Hellman annulled appeal and the Nencini appeal.
These appeals are MANDATORY for certain crimes if the convicted perp wants them. No actual appeal grounds are required as in the US and UK.
Both had juries, but neither heard the prosecution case (an immense weakness as a juror noted), only a few narrow-bore defense quibbles as The Machine described.
The Fifth Chambers heard from the defenses at length (and quoted Bongiorno pretty well verbatim).
But the Perugia and Florence prosecutors did not present the prosecution’s case - they were not even present.
Read here all of any Italian prosecution’s disadvantages built into the system - some by politicians acting to help bad guys.
And to cap it all, they are more or less forbidden from speaking out to correct “confusions” about cases they are active on!
Hence so much of the largely unchallenged sliming of Dr Mignini. He has no easy way to correct the record, other than in court of course.
The few court actions initiated by Mignini were all mandated, under the code governing his post, and pursued by prosecutors, not his own lawyers.
Whoa. Woffinden is unreal. He is so ignorant of the evidence against Rudy Guede.
Thank you to The Machine for completely demolishing the castle of error that Woffinden calls Rudy’s innocence.
How can Woffinden be so blind to Rudy’s DNA on the left sleeve of Meredith’s jacket? As if that weren’t enough, his DNA was also found inside Meredith’s sexual organs, and doctors concluded non-consensual trauma to the body.
She was soon found dead with her jeans removed, and his DNA was inside her. There’s no doubt that Guede assaulted Meredith. Within days of the crime he ran off to Germany, leaving his shoeprints in Meredith’s blood in the cottage.
On top of all that Guede is a pathological liar, and a man with a dysfunctional past. Need we even get into his drug use or his linkage with Amanda the drug lover and Raffaele the hash smoker?
Woffinden’s claim that Rudy’s skin color is the reason he was convicted? A facile argument intended to stir passions and detour around the facts.
It’s outrageous that Woffinden can get away with this as an actual journalist. He got Meredith’s case wrong in the worst way.
Woffinden is mindlessly perpetrating innocence fraud perhaps for the joy of headlines. He’s riding the backs of high profile criminal cases it seems with a hidden agenda to strike a blow against the Establishment.
His motive: gotta be unique, the radical rock chick, the rebel.
OT totally random but a bit of levity: Grumpycat says, “I love math. It makes people cry.”
The nice fall weather is returning to our area along with college football, happiest kind. More good news: Hurricane Hermine did dodge the north Florida Gulf coast this weekend for Labor Day, a real mercy. I hope East Coast is spared.
Some mild jokes: Van Gogh walks into a bar. “Can I get you a drink?” says bartender. “No thanks, I already have one ear.”
Joke: Did you hear about the fire at our university that destroyed 15 books? But the real tragedy was that most of them hadn’t been colored in yet.
Not only has Wiffenden done this several times before (the Machine links to a case) but he (rightly) reversed himself on another, and took some hard whacks from killer groupies in Comments here.
That’s the name of the game now - writers like him can gain big from the net and killer-groupie support, but they can also be brought down fast.
I am wondering what he will choose to do here - not publish in main media is one guess.
The worst example of innocence fraud on Meredith’s case in the UK was the huge 26-week pay-to-read series by North Cambridge court clerk Fred Davies.
It was anti-Guede, not pro. James Raper wrote about it here:
James posted and we wrote to the editor of Criminal Law in London to set her right.
An odd thing then happened. Davies became seriously rattled in the final parts of his series and showed strong signs he KNEW by then he had not got it right.
James Raper is the tortoise that always wins the race. Now he is on the loose again with his terrific new book Justice On Trial.
Coastal parts east of Panama City are nice enough, sad they took a big hit, but west to Pensacola is where I and I think your family love it the most.
White sand and deeply transparent blue-green sea. And the FISH. Wow. Pelican Heaven of course.
Walk out along the pier at 30°11’24.69"N 85°49’51.59"W if you arrive without your boat. Heres the storm. Fish in the streets.
I find it strange to say the least that a journalist seemingly all of a sudden attaches himself to a murder case and screams that the only one of the three perpetrators to actually admit to being there is innocent.
Paid by someone to take this stance?
Certainly an agenda here surely.
I think it could be part of a tactic to discredit Guede because he stated that Knox and Sollecito was there.
I do hope this person mends his ways like he has done in the past, he needs to be pointed to the actual truth instead of listening to the killer’s family and paid innocence fraudsters.