Saturday, November 23, 2013

John Kercher’s Excellent Book “Meredith” On Meredith’s Friends Lloyd, Natalie, And Helen

Posted by Hopeful





Mr. Kercher’s biography of his daughter continues to charm and amaze.

It seems Meredith almost got married before she went to Italy. Her suitor was a dance teacher, named Lloyd Thomas. He was nineteen years old and they met at Leeds University on the dance floor. Mr. Thomas was teaching break-dance to the crowd and Meredith and her friends went out on the dance floor and began to dance. (p. 66)

Lloyd said, “I…thought that she looked like a movie star.” They had never spoken, but he had seen her once before, a month previously. Obviously the lovely lady had stayed in his mind. In the winter of 2006, at dance class, he struck up a conversation with her and called her later.

They decided to meet on the steps of Leeds University and began one of their many rich long talks, which later blossomed into going steady. “I was so taken with her amusing conversation,” he said. (p. 66) “After our third date, we saw each other about four evenings every week and we were always together, although she had a lot of university work to do.”

Mr. Kercher relates how Meredith was able to go with Lloyd and his parents to a hotel called Ponden House, “set in Charlotte Bronte country in West Yorkshire, for a weekend…She really loved it.” She rang Mr. Kercher to tell him how beautiful the scenery was.

Lloyd said (p. 67) that Meredith “never really spoke much about what she wanted to do when she graduated, but she had her heart set on going to Italy as part of her studies…”

About seven months into their relationship, Lloyd realized he wanted to marry Meredith. He booked a table at a Japanese restaurant in Leeds and proposed to her “with a ring that I had bought. I think that she was somewhat surprised and didn’t say yes or no. She kept the ring for a couple of days, but didn’t wear it, and then she politely returned it to me.”

(p. 67) Mr. Kercher explains that naturally things changed between Lloyd and Meredith after that decision, but that Meredith was just being practical. “Despite her obvious affection for Lloyd….She still had her current year at university to complete, a year in Italy studying, and then a further year of her degree, before she graduated. She was simply being sensible.

Yet the two of them remained friends and a couple of weeks later in January 2007, Lloyd joined our family and Meredith in an Italian restaurant in Croydon to celebrate her 21st birthday. Stephanie had arranged a special cake with a photograph of Meredith as a one-year-old superimposed on it…”.

“Who would have dared to think that this would be Meredith’s last birthday?” writes Mr. Kercher (p.67).  In retrospect, it seems appropriate that the young man who admired Meredith so much at Leeds University and wanted to marry her, should be at her final life celebration.

***

We know that Meredith a few months later in August flew to Rome, on wings of hope and dreams. She went from there to the University for Foreigners in Perugia. She settled in to her first home in Italy, the Via della Pergola cottage. Even before that while still at a Perugian hotel she was calling Mr. Kercher “enthusing to us how beautiful the city was.” As was her habit, Meredith called Mr. Kercher every evening and talked about how she was getting on. She also called her mom and sister with frequency.

(P. 69) In one call she elaborated to Mr. Kercher about the Eurochocolate Festival that stretched “from Rocca Paolina to the Carducci Gardens, Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza IV Novembre.” Meredith was fascinated by the chocolate statues and sculptures and all the candies sold at the stalls.

At the end of the festival the chocolate statues were happily broken up into pieces and given to the public. Meredith had bought some of Mr. Kercher’s favorite chocolates to give to him when she returned to England a few weeks later for Arline’s November birthday. That trip never happened, as tragedy intervened.

***

Meredith met Natalie Hayward while in Perugia. Natalie had gone to study in Perugia “because I had heard that it was beautiful and romantically old, in addition to being quite international.” (p. 70) Natalie had been studying history and Italian at the University of Sussex. She had found an apartment in Perugia with a couple of Italian girls, and began studying at the University for Foreigners where she met Meredith and Amy Frost.

Natalie said, “Because the three of us were the only English students in the class, we became known as ‘Little Britain’.”

Natalie said, “I was so encouraged by the fact that Meredith accepted me, because I wasn’t a particularly confident person. But she was always texting me to come out with her and other people and trying to include me in things, which I appreciated.”

Despite a known tendency to be late for lectures, Natalie says that Meredith “was exceptionally good at taking lecture notes. You might not have thought it, but she worked so hard. I was jokingly jealous of her note-taking. The Italian lecturers would speak so quickly and be quite complicated, but Meredith could keep up with them.”

More accolades from Natalie, (p. 71): ‘Socially, Meredith was wonderful to be with. She was always smiling and making us laugh. She was never judgemental. And she and Amy would walk miles for a low-price meal!” Mr. Kercher earlier says that Meredith asked him to check on rental rates to make sure the deposits for the Pergola cottage were a normal rate. Meredith seems to have been quite thrifty and not one to squander her resources.

After Meredith’s murder, Natalie went back to England to finish her studies there. No doubt she was desolate at the loss of this kind and tender friend who had sincerely reached out to her.

***

Helen Power was another British student who met Meredith September 1, 2007 in Perugia. Helen had finished a language course and had one day to relax in Perugia before flying back to England for a couple of weeks. Amy Frost had invited Helen Power out to dinner and Meredith met them by the fountain in the center of town.

(P.72) Helen said,  “As it was too early for us to eat, we sat outside and enjoyed some aperitivi from the cake shop on the main street. I remember that Meredith said she had forgotten to pack socks and that she hoped her dad would bring some out when he came to visit. Despite being tired from travelling, she was chatty, friendly, always smiling and making witty jokes. You only had to meet Meredith once to be struck by her beauty, quick wit, and infectious smile.”

The three girls ate a huge dinner at Il Bacio restaurant. Later in September, Helen’s mother visited Perugia and was introduced to Meredith at Piazza Italia as they waited for a minibus. She said, “Meredith made a lasting impression on me as we chatted. Not only did she show a genuine interest talking to us but she was so bubbly and full of life…I was so pleased to think that Helen had met such a delightful girl to be friends with during her Erasmus year.” (p. 73)

Meredith even noticed that Helen had gotten her hair cut and mentioned it at the Erasmus welcome meeting. Helen said, “I was surprised that Meredith had noticed. I thought that it was extremely observant of her, as she had only met me once, three weeks earlier. But that was the kind of girl she was; always making time for other people and taking note of even the smallest things.” Later they went out to dinner and dancing. Helen says, “...no one could out-dance Meredith.”  (p. 74)

Halloween night immersed in parties and excitement was the last time Helen saw her. She said (p. 75), “At the age of twenty, it never crossed my mind that it might have been the last chance to see a friend again. Those first two months were such a wonderful and happy time and, although I didn’t know Meredith for very long, I shall never forget her, and I have learnt so much from {her being} such a strong woman…I make certain that I enjoy and appreciate life and those around me and, most importantly, smile.”


Posted by Hopeful on 11/23/13 at 08:50 PM in Concerning MeredithHer memoryHer familyNews media & moviesGreat reporting


Comments

Excerpt from the the latest update by Andrea Vogt,

” But is it possible that U.S. state or federal monies or resources were used for Amanda Knox’s defense as well? Is that public spending under scrutiny? “

http://thefreelancedesk.com/front_featured/amanda-knox-appeal-2/

Posted by True North on 11/24/13 at 10:43 AM | #

@True North

Andrea Vogt confirms the same thing I was telling all the time:

“How much money changed hands in this entire case in the last five years? Undoubtedly millions.”

And whenever, or whereever, I talk about a few hundred missing euros, I am faced with a stony silence. Truth can be stranger than fiction.

But I heartily agree on the 23 min video:

“The oversexualized cartoon reenactment featuring badly-stereotyped avatars and seemed trivial and silly compared to the more compelling original testimony of police and witnesses, which jury members heard in the trial of first instance, but not in the appeal. A waste of money? Probably…”

People just want to hear they don’t understand. Don’t believe, right? Just ask a FoA man!

If you understand a situtation, it appears trivial and not worth your intellectual efforts.

For example, much more was spent on the forensic analysis. Amenrican machines and kits are not cheap (really obscene). This is about time that Europe should develop the kits and tools for major foresnsic analysis. Perhaps some costs will come down.

A 23 min advt would have cost far less. But a simulation of a crime needed by police could have been made at a lower cost? I doubt.

Posted by chami on 11/24/13 at 12:09 PM | #

Hi True North and Chami

Good reminders. We will be pressing the Hampikian angle in the weeks after this week’s court sessions.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/24/13 at 04:00 PM | #

Thank you for this wonderful article.  Helen’s words were particularly striking, since they provide an example of what an innocent person who genuinely liked Meredith had to say in the aftermath:

“At the age of twenty, it never crossed my mind that it might have been the last chance to see a friend again. Those first two months were such a wonderful and happy time and, although I didn’t know Meredith for very long, I shall never forget her, and I have learnt so much from {her being} such a strong woman…I make certain that I enjoy and appreciate life and those around me and, most importantly, smile.”

Helen didn’t know Meredith any longer than Knox did, but she considered those two months precious instead of inconsequential.

Posted by Vivianna on 11/24/13 at 09:27 PM | #

Thankyou for this Hopeful..it’s so poignant to be reminded. A lovely, sensitive, photo.

There’s an interesting article in The Times today ( though it may be behind a pay-wall), on female murderers. A number of very pertinent points arise, among them that knives are usually the method of choice; the perpetrator nearly always acts the victim; also goes into denial and incredulity that they have done it; and more.
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/life/article3929538.ece

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 11/25/13 at 06:13 AM | #

It is a good time to run this article. “At the age of twenty it never crossed my mind that it might be the last chance to see a friend again.” I am so very sorry for Meredith’s family, one and all, so very sorry. I can do nothing but commiserate with all my heart in these few lines.
When you lose someone you love you lose yourself for a time and wait around for your body to catch up. We resent the shallow and defensive reassurances that -“this too will pass”, or that, “there is no death”.- where every attempt to divert only serves to irritate. We cannot find the reasons or words to make sense of our sadness. It is the irrevocability of it all that leaves us helpless and sad.

Have you seen her come back, mother- father- sister- brother-Meredith our child come home from the park,
Her hair flung back in just such a way, with brother and sister on either hand. A child striding out the dog end of the day. From Happy Valley, or the Downs bleak moor land. As unrestrained as when God put fire into the clay. All Souls I Morti-bells for the faithful departed.

Mez to her friends, described as conscientious, affectionate, intelligent and kind. School and University remarked, her diligent and inquisitive mind. It was not control of self that set Meredith apart, but an understanding of who she was, a refusal to relinquish her self regard.  The home values in which she had been raised ,the sort of morals she enshrined, engaged with the gentle word of praise
and found that vengeance was blind.

Invariably admitted where she was wrong, at home genteel earnestness marked her soul, careful and precise, though sometimes headstrong, yet, there was a healthy hardiness here beside a lack of loftiness in the social dance. Though she was fond of young men, her studies came first, she never considered beauty a sufficient end. In her faculties she was confident and demure, and she lived a life other young women lived, developed a sexual puissance from a healthy narrative, deeds informed by experiences that good sense dictates, held to a courage willing to vociferate, at the dread of undetermined futures that await. She was the quiet voice of survival that made sure, that this too shall end, we shall endure.

She travelled as widely as she could, tried out for soccer and learned karate, never played fast and loose with friends, for slights real or imagined, always willing to make amends. For no duty more obligatory, than the repayment of kindness. She made her acquisitions without meanness. To enjoy the things she ought to enjoy, and to hate the things she ought to hate, and ever mindful of her dignity, bring such attributes to maturity. Her dignity was cruelly abased. She was raped and tortured,
murdered in the end, but her dignity was never lost. For that you see, is what they couldn’t face, and could only take if once surrendered, she held her dignity to the last, it was never relinquished, not even in death.

Posted by Macthomas on 11/25/13 at 03:09 PM | #


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