Headsup: The first 8 episodes of the RAI/HBO production "My Brilliant Friend" about a supreme alpha-girl and her "moon" of a best friend airing in 60-plus countries are proving amazingly endearing. So many colorful elements of evolving post WWII Italy on display. Yes, some violence too, but peanuts compared to say New York in that era. A real must-see.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Amazing Person That Was Meredith Kercher #4: Sue Carroll Captures The Growing Mood

Posted by Peter Quennell


Sue Carroll reflects on Meredith and Amanda Knox in today’s Daily Mirror

I wonder, if Amanda Knox had the saturnine looks of a psycho-killer, would US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton be interested in fighting her conviction for murdering fellow student Meredith Kercher?

It is a shocking but entirely predictable reflection of our image-conscious society that we don’t expect a bright, multi-lingual student with a penchant for writing fiction (albeit warped) to be a brutal killer.

We like our she-devils Rose West-shaped with the harsh staring eyes of a Myra Hindley and a bit of Lady Macbeth thrown in.

That a dewy skinned, nubile young woman could plunge a knife into the neck of her flatmate in a drug and drink-fuelled rage doesn’t compute.

Even her nickname, Foxy Knoxy, has connotations of sauciness and frivolity, not the blatant wickedness of which she was found guilty along with ex-boyfriend and accomplice Raffaele Sollecito in an Italian court last week.

From the moment Meredith was found semi-naked in a pool of blood at the cottage she shared with Knox, attention has been focused on one woman only – the accused.

Articulate and flirtatious with moist Bambi eyes, her status, carefully manipulated by her garrulous publicity-driven parents, morphed from suspected murderer to victim long before the trial. A flight home had been arranged and grandiose plans were afoot for the prodigal daughter’s return with lucrative book deals in the pipeline, movie rights under discussion and TV interviews planned.

The brutal murder of a beautiful young girl in a vile sex game was turned into a side issue. The fact Knox had wantonly and without a single vestige of shame named an innocent man, Patrick Lumumba, as Meredith’s killer was also conveniently forgotten by fans and family.

By contrast the dignity shown by the Kerchers, who have expressed only relief at the guilty verdict, could not be further removed from the crass insensitivity of the Knox clan who don’t merely protest their daughter’s innocence but threaten to turn it into a political row, pointing the finger at Italian justice and citing anti-American prejudice.

What clap-trap.

An interesting challenge since the jury also condemned Italian-born Sollecito to the same fate as Knox. And spare us, please, the tales of how the condemned cries herself to sleep at night.

I’ll reserve my sympathy for Arline Kercher, who says she can never bring herself to sell the family’s Surrey home because if she did Meredith would never know where to find her.

“It’s silly really,” says Arline. No, it’s not. When the physical bond has been ripped away all that’s left for the bereaved are emotional ties and associations.

For exactly the same reason Kate McCann has vowed to stay in the only home her missing daughter Madeleine ever knew. To leave it would feel like abandoning her child and for both these mothers constant reminders and memories, not bitterness or anger, are what keeps them going.

Meanwhile, I’d suggest the Knox family take their distasteful publicity machine home and consider themselves fortunate their daughter’s trial was conducted on European not American soil.

They have a special kind of punishment for killers in the good old US of A. It’s called the death penalty. Is that the justice they would have preferred?

Posted on 12/07/09 at 11:10 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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US Overreaction: State Department (Foreign Office) Rebuts Senator Cantwell’s Claims

Posted by Peter Quennell


If Senator Cantwell or her staff come by looking for something to convince them fast please read this.

The same people who set the hapless John Q Kelly up (he has never been heard from again since that post) seem to have set Senator Cantwell up too.

Now Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that her precipitate involvement in the case seems to be hitting a brick wall.

WASHINGTON, USA - The US government said Monday it had no signs that a court in Italy failed to follow the country’s laws when it found American Amanda Knox guilty of the murder of her British housemate.

However, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will discuss the verdict with Senator Maria Cantwell, who said it raises ‘serious questions’ about the Italian justice system, Clinton’s spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

‘I don’t have any indications to the contrary,’ Kelly said when asked if Knox was treated fairly under Italian law. ‘We haven’t received any indications necessarily that Italian law was not followed.’

He added: ‘I do know that our embassy in Rome was very closely involved in this. They visited Amanda Knox. They have monitored the trial.’

Kelly said he preferred to limit comment as the legal process continues, recalling that Knox has the right to appeal in 45 days.

Posted on 12/07/09 at 08:24 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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US Overreaction: Meredith’s Mother Regards Cantwell’s Grandstanding As Ill-Informed

Posted by Peter Quennell


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


US Overreaction: Amanda Knox’s Own Lawyer Groans “That’s All We Need, Hillary Clinton”

Posted by Peter Quennell


This is from an earlier report by Beth Hale and Daniel Bates in the Daily Mail

Hillary Clinton has been drawn into the battle to overturn Amanda Knox’s conviction. Amid a growing U.S. backlash against the verdict, the American Secretary of State has agreed to meet a senator from 22-year-old Knox’s home state of Washington.

[Senator Cantwell] said she was concerned there had been an ‘anti-American’ feeling at the trial and said she would be raising her concerns with Mrs Clinton…

Luciano Ghirga said: ‘That’s all we need, Hillary Clinton involved. I have the same political sympathies as Hillary but this sort of thing does not help us in any way.’

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said: ‘This senator should not interfere in something she has no idea about. I am happy with how the trial went.’

And this below is from a new report by Nick Pisa in the Daily Mail

It quotes the prosecutor as saying that the case was taken before NINETEEN Italian judges. Such caution is not an everyday occurrence in US justice, that is for sure.

Italy reacted with anger today as a transatlantic war of words broke out with the United States over the Amanda Knox murder trial.

Prosecutors involved in the case were outraged that their handling and the Italian judicial system had been called into question, while newspapers published front page editorials saying they would not take ‘lessons from America.’

It came as it emerged US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had said she would look into Knox’s case after Marie Cantwell, a senator in the jailed student’s home state of Washington, said she was ‘concerned’ about the trial.

In a front page editorial headlined ‘Passport and Justice’ Corriere Della Sera stormed: ‘Once again here we have rule number one for an American accused of a crime abroad - it doesn’t matter if they are innocent or guilty all that counts is their passport.’

Inside it continued under the heading: ‘When an American passport is as valuable as an alibi,’ and recalled an infamous incident in 1998 when a US pilot escaped justice, despite flying through a cable sending a ski gondola crashing into a mountain and killing 20 people at Cermis in the Italian Alps.

It added: ‘Amanda was tried abroad so her defence campaign have enlisted the help of the State Department. This same administration can’t close Guantanamo but it can find the time to attack the sentence in Perugia.’

Its story on Mrs Clinton’s involvement added America had been reacting as if Knox had ‘ended up in the hands of some despotic regime,’ and said: ‘America is just waiting to send a platoon of Marines over to rescue the poor girl.’

Il Messaggero also ran an editorial on its front page under the headline ‘Unacceptable Lessons’ and also compared it to the Cermis incident.

It wrote: ‘If there is any ground upon which our country will not be taught lessons on civility and respect from anyone, the United States included, then it is the penal process.

‘The United States allows the death penalty for minors in some states, as does countries where the high level of civic justice found in Italy is unheard of, such as Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen.

‘If Hilary Clinton wants to meet these “doubters” then maybe she can also find the time to look into the cases of numerous Italians held in American prisons for non existent motives and crimes they have not committed.’

There was also criticism of Senator Cantwell’s suggestions the trial was anti-American as many pointed out that ‘an Italian Raffaele Sollecito, was also jailed.’...

Knox prosecutor Giuliano Mignini also hit out at the criticism and said: ‘I am happy. In my conscience I know I have done my duty. It is never easy to ask for a life sentence.

‘That’s especially true in this case where the accused were in their twenties. I have three children who are more or less the same age. Asking for life was the right punishment for the crime.

‘I am not prepared to take criticism from the Americans on how the prosecution and investigators carried out their work.

‘The case went before 19 judges in the end at various levels from a preliminary hearing, through to three levels of re-examination (bail hearings) and all found in the prosecution’s favour.’

Here is some highly recommended reading for the Senator and (f they need it) the State Department. 

Posted on 12/07/09 at 04:03 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Meredith’s Mother Says In An Interview That The Real Life Sentence Here Is Theirs

Posted by Peter Quennell


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

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

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

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

EXCLUSIVE: MURDERED MEREDITH’S FAMILY SPEAK FOR THE FIRST TIME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 12/07/09 at 11:40 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, December 06, 2009

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 12/06/09 at 10:58 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Amazing Person That Was Meredith Kercher #3: The UK People Interviews Ex-Boyfriend In Australia

Posted by Peter Quennell


We knew of David Cronin because he took the photo of Meredith for her former Facebook space.

David Collins and Grant Hodgson have en exclusive interview with him. He is now a player with a soccer team at Musgrave on the Queensland Gold Coast south of Brisbane.

The shattered ex-boyfriend of murdered Meredith Kercher said last night he would be “forever haunted” by the horrendous violence of her death.

Footballer Patrick Cronin, 24, spoke out for the first time about the Perugia trial and the loving relationship he had with the girl he called “Mez”.

Patrick insisted Meredith was “no prude” but that she would never have willingly taken part in the kinky sex games Knox and Sollecito tried to lure her into.

Speaking from Australia, where he now lives, he said: “She was a kind, loving person who was friendly to everyone she met. She did not deserve to die like that and Knox is damned for what she did.

“I can never stop thinking of the terror she must have felt in that final hour. It is something that will forever haunt me.”

In an exclusive interview with The People, Patrick said he and Meredith had enjoyed a “loving, special” relationship. He said: “Questions have been raised about her sex life since she was killed and it’s wrong. She wasn’t into playing any sexual games, threesomes or anything kinky.

“Once, I texted her messages that started to become very suggestive and steamy and she pulled me up saying, ‘Whoa, let’s calm this down’. I ask myself how these killers could have done this.”

Patrick was working as a croupier and living in Hendon, North London, when he first met Meredith, then a Leeds University student, in 2005.

He fell for her at first sight in a nightclub in Kingston, south-west London and “sparks flew” as they chatted. They went on to share a string of dates and she excitedly told him she wanted to go and study in Italy.

Eventually their romance ended but they kept in touch on Facebook, even after Patrick moved Down Under with his parents.

Now playing with the Musgrave Mustangs soccer club on Queensland’s Gold Coast, he heard of Meredith’s death while doing a course on sports science.

He said: “I came out of an exam and my brother called to say it was all over the news. I went into shock.

“I had never before experienced anyone close to me dying, let alone being horrifically killed.”

Patrick said he had re-read messages he received from Meredith since the end of the trial. He added: “I will never delete them.

“I just hope the outcome of the court case brings some comfort to her family.”

Posted on 12/06/09 at 04:07 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Amazing Person That Was Meredith Kercher #2: The Observer Also Wants Attention To Be On Her

Posted by Peter Quennell

Barbar Ellen calls for an overdue refocus.

Now that American Amanda “Foxy Knoxy” Knox has been found guilty of murder and sentenced to 26 years, will we finally drag our attention over to Meredith Kercher?

Meredith, the British Leeds university student, studying in Perugia [was] the victim, and therefore surely the central figure in this distressing story, though you would never have known it, gazing these past months at the gory theatrics of The Foxy Knoxy Show.

Foxy, back then, still innocent until proven guilty – depicted disturbingly posing with a gun, but also adopting “sex kitten” poses, like thousands of other young girls showing off on internet sites. Whose former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, was also found guilty, receiving 25 years, yet, who, just like Rudy Guede (jailed for 30 years for Kercher’s murder in January), seems to have faded in public perception to the point of becoming a footnote.

All of which leads to the question: if there were three known assailants, and Kercher was the only victim, how come “Foxy Knoxy” is still getting all the attention?

The last few days of the trial were extremely strange, with both Knox and her lawyer suddenly becoming tearful, not to mention Knox’s 11th-hour flowery oratory about not wanting to be given the “mask of the assassin”, making her sound like some ham mangling Shakespeare at the Old Vic.

However, for some of us, the entire trial was bizarre, overshadowed as it was by the brazen “marketing” of Knox, the selling of her to the masses as “sexy-evil”. But it is too easy just to blame the media. There seems to be a market out there, a hunger, for this kind of thing. A predilection, as someone said to me, for favouring Bonnie over Clyde.

Even now, debates rage over Knox’s psyche (“all-American girl or she-devil?”), suggesting that, for some, there has to be duality, sexuality, a sense of mysticism attached to female homicide. That essentially society finds it impossible to conceive of a bog-standard no-frills female killer, in the same way we accept the equally guilty Sollecito and Guede.

Some may argue that there is nothing sinister going on here – that there is always more focus on the murderers than the victims. Well, not always. There wasn’t “more focus” on those who murdered Scarlett Keeling in Goa in 2008 – then all the emphasis (the scorn, the opprobrium) was directed at the lifestyle of this British girl, and that of her hippy-living mother.

Getting back to Knox, some may shrug and say, so the trial was sensationalised, somewhat over-focused on the female protagonist – does this really matter, seeing as she was guilty anyway? I would say, yes. Knox’s parents have already said their daughter will appeal – who’s to say that Knox won’t place emphasis on her “trial by media”?

Away from the legal arena, there are pressing ethical issues. The fact, for example, that even though Knox has now been found guilty, the victim, Meredith, is still barely meriting a mention. Indeed, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves – is this what happens when we unthinkingly turn the likes of Foxy Knoxy into cartoons of “sexy evil” – if are we robbing their victims of their humanity, too? Are we ensuring that innocents such as Meredith somehow get lost in the big noisy over-sensationalised shuffle?

Certainly it seems to say something that this trial has been all about Knox, just one of three found guilty of the murder. It is as if, just as Kercher desperately struggled for life, but was overpowered by her assailants, her memory is now being overwhelmed by the relentless “Foxy Knoxy” spin.

Perhaps it is time to banish the salacious lip-smacking over Foxy Knoxy to the satellite “true crime” channels where it belongs. It was Meredith who died – and Meredith who should now have the dignity of our thoughts.

The great soap battleaxe won’t die with Blanche

Posted on 12/06/09 at 01:22 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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The Amazing Person That Was Meredith Kercher #1: The Independent Focusses Nicely On Her

Posted by Peter Quennell





Not the American media, of course. At least, not yet.

For far too many of them this is still “the Amanda Knox Show”.  But two things are happing very fast now in the United States that look to be about to change all that

  • First, some very, very good lawyers are becoming emboldened to say that Amanda Knox was CORRECTLY convicted as a murderess.
  • Second, every media organization we know (they have been introducing themselves!) would give their eye-teeth for an hour just on Meredith.

In Italy they have already begun to bring Meredith into sharp and loving focus. And in London a really nice piece on Meredith appears today in The Independent

It is by David Randall and Victoria Richards.

Amid the madness of what will always be known as the Knox trial in Perugia, with its slow-motion melodramas, its posturings and the evidence that grew ever more contested and grotesque, there was always one thing that remained unchanged.

That face. Meredith’s – the joyful student captured in a split second on Facebook, her happiness one moment in October 2007, made all the more horribly innocent because we know what was to happen to her just a few days later.
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For us, those features will eventually fade from memory. But, for her family, that face – and the spirit and life of the girl who inhabited it – will never grow old as it should have done.

And yesterday, as her family gave a press conference in the basement of a city hotel, that pain was brought sickeningly home.

Father John, mother Arline, brothers John Jr and Lyle, and sister Stephanie sat in a line at a table and spoke, as they have always done – with restraint and a gracious dignity – of the loss they will ever bear.

There was no triumph in their reaction to the conviction late Friday night of Amanda Knox, 22, and Raffaele Sollecito, 25, for the murder of their daughter and sister. As Lyle said, it was not a time for a celebration.

Instead they showed a magnanimous sense of sadness that two young people would now be spending a quarter of a century or more behind bars.

Mrs Kercher quietly reminded her family that a third young person had also met the same fate – 22-year-old Rudy Guede, who was convicted of the murder and sexual violence last October and jailed for 30 years.

Lyle even referred to his sister’s killer [by] using the word “gentleman”.

Meredith’s brother John said: “Mez still leaves a big hole in our lives. Her presence is missed every time we meet up as a family. She is very much still a part our lives. People often associated Mez with a tragic event, but we would prefer not to remember her that way. We would like to concentrate on the 21 good years we had with her.”

And they were good years.

Brought up in Coulsdon, Surrey, on the edge of the North Downs, she was a bright, conscientious child who later attended the prestigious Old Palace School for Girls in Croydon.

Shahleena Raza, 25, a homeopathy student who went to school with Meredith and Stephanie, remembers the special bond the sisters had. “I used to ring Steph and they sounded identical,” she said.

“Mez would answer and she was always really sweet and chatty. I remember going to their house and her older brothers cooked us all lunch. They made a big deal out of it and it was really special. Mez and Steph shared everything – there was such warmth between them, no bickering like you usually get between sisters.”

She read, wrote poetry and stories, took ballet, gymnastics and karate classes, worked at Gatwick airport to save for her studies, ran the Race for Life to raise money for cancer research.

She was “always laughing”, and, according to her brother’s eulogy at her funeral, always 20 minutes late. “You could set your watch by her,” he said.

And friends could rely on her. One, identified only as “Yondie” from south London, thanked Meredith in an online tribute to her for letting her stay at her house when times were “difficult”.

She went to Leeds University, and, from there, in her third year, to Perugia for a year’s study, arriving in the autumn of 2007.

That late October, she went to a Halloween party, and one of her closest friends, Helen Power, 22, was with her. She said: “You only had to meet her once to be struck by her beauty, quick wit and her infectious smile.”

It was a time of year Meredith had always loved. Her father said: “As a youngster she would make a costume from bin liners, put candles in the pumpkins with faces, tie them to sticks and then we would visit neighbours.”

Close to both parents, Meredith called the day after the Halloween party to tell him she loved him. “I was in the bank and we spoke for two minutes,” he said. It was the last time they would.

Not long afterwards, he heard a British student had been murdered in Perugia. He rang Meredith a dozen or more times. There was no reply. After an hour, he called a newspaper. Two hours later, they called him back with the name of the victim.

It was Meredith. That was how he found out.

In June, her mother told the court: “Her death was unbelievable, unreal. In many ways it still is. I still look for her. It’s not just her death but it’s the nature of it, the brutality of it, the violence of it and the great sorrow it’s brought everyone. We will never, never get over it.”

Posted on 12/06/09 at 08:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Saturday, December 05, 2009

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

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

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

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

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

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










Posted on 12/05/09 at 01:11 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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As The Nightmare Starts To Wind Down For Meredith’s Family, Huge Relief -  And Still, Some Tears

Posted by Peter Quennell








Posted on 12/05/09 at 08:39 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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“Amanda Knox: Behind The Hollywood Smile, A Liar, A Narcissist And A Killer”

Posted by Peter Quennell





Knox’s flippant callousness in court clearly did her no good.

With the exception of several in the media the universal view seems to be that Knox has been given her due.

Here’s a commentary by Tom Rawstorne that is typical of any of the reporters who followed the best of the reporting from the court.

For Team Knox, it wasn’t meant to end like this. The flights back home to America had been reserved and plans meticulously laid out for the first day in Seattle – a manicure to smooth Amanda’s prison-worn nails and then a Mexican meal followed by her mother’s home cooked pastries.

Then there would be the seven-figure media deals to be mulled over (with best-selling crime writer John Grisham pitching to pen the definitive book) and dates with Oprah Winfrey and Larry King to fulfil. There was even talk of a Hollywood film – after all, who could resist the story of a beautiful 22-year-old American whose trip to Italy ended with her being forced into confessing to a brutal murder that she did not commit?

But, as film goers know, Tinseltown loves a happy ending, and the guilty verdict delivered last night in the Aula degli Affreschi (Court of the Frescoes) put paid to that.

So instead it is a very different future that now faces Amanda Knox and her family, who had flown in en masse to be by her side for the closing days of the year-long trial.

For Knox, her conviction for the murder of her British flatmate Meredith Kercher means an immediate return to Capanne prison on the outskirts of Perugia where she has spent much of the past two years.

She will be placed in a cell on her own and checked by guards every 15 minutes. If she is deemed not to be a suicide risk in all probability she will then be returned to the five-person cell she was in before.

There she had bagged one of the top bunks, so that she could see out of the window and to the world beyond.

Of course although Knox has been convicted, the judicial process is far from over. An appeal will be launched in the New Year, but that will not be heard until the autumn.

Not only will it take time to organise but it will also cost a lot of money, with high-flying lawyers and forensic experts once again to be retained. It is money that Team Knox claims it no longer has. The family has already spent in excess of $1.2million (£750,000) supporting Knox.

Her divorced parents Edda Mellas and Curt Knox have remortgaged their homes, and so has Knox’s 72-year-old German-born grandmother Elizabeth Huff .

They say that their credit cards are ‘maxed out’ and that they are now so short of money that they will have to sell their homes to continue their fight. Indeed, Mrs Mellas is seriously contemplating moving lock stock and barrel to Italy with her new husband to reduce the need for expensive transatlantic flights.

Mrs Mellas insists that she has never once doubted her daughter’s innocence.

‘Never,’ she says. ‘I’ll do whatever it takes for Amanda, however long it takes. The good news is she will get out of this, the bad news it could take several more years.’

That she and her family are so sure of her innocence has at its essence a belief that Amanda Knox simply could not have murdered another human being.

‘I’ll tell you a little story about Amanda,’ is the way Mrs Mellas explains it. ‘She doesn’t know how to lie. If you were to ask her, “What d’you think of my shoes?” and she thought they were hideous, she doesn’t do the polite thing – she’ll tell you they’re hideous. Since she was five she’d do that.’

When Amanda Knox was first remanded in custody a little over two years ago, she vowed that she would learn to speak Italian. Having cut her linguistic teeth on The Jungle Book, she recently finished reading Anna Karenina.

Indeed so good is her grasp of the language that her lawyer has suggested that she should herself go in to the law. While many will raise an eyebrow at such a suggestion it is entirely in keeping with the spin put on Knox’s incarceration by her supporters.

They insist that she has tried to draw positives from her time inside, rather than wasting energy getting angry and resentful about the fate that has befallen her.

So it is we are told that she has whiled away the time by helping teach other inmates English and yoga and by learning to cook, to do needle-point and to play the classical guitar.

‘She’s made it a time to learn, to learn about herself and the friends she has and the way the world works,’ says her mother. ‘She realises it’s not about her any more, she truly sees herself as one of the lucky ones in there.

‘She sees women in there who have no support, or good lawyers, or even family, they have nothing.’

Such a depiction is central to the portrayal of Knox as herself a victim in this tragedy, the suggestion being that the way she has comported herself is indicative of her true character.

Since her arrest, any cracks that have emerged in that portrayal have time and time again been dismissed as being down to ‘naivety’ rather than anything more sinister.

For instance, at the police station prior her to arrest, why was Knox seen performing cartwheels?

‘This is Amanda just being Amanda,’ explains her mother. ‘As her friends would say, “It’s an Amanda thing”. The police were still being friendly to her then, so she was stretching, and they were talking to her and she said, yes, she had been a gymnast, and they were like, “Well, how about a cartwheel?” so she did one.’

Shortly after that came Knox’s confession, the one that put her squarely at the murder scene.

‘It was coercion,’ says her stepfather Chris Mellas, a 36-year-old IT professional who has spent many weeks at the trial supporting Knox.

‘They (the Italian authorities) did what they needed to do to get her to say what they wanted her to say.’

Next they had to explain why she told police that Patrick Lumumba, an entirely innocent bar owner, was involved in the killing. Again, we are told, it was all down to police ‘bullying’, and that ever since Knox has felt ‘terrible’ about dragging him into it.
Amanda Knox on her way to Germany

Then there is the story she had written about a violent rape and posted on her Facebook site that was discovered by journalists following her arrest.Over to her mother again.

‘That was for an assignment at university,’ she says. ‘Her friend Jessie had the same assignment, and she said Amanda’s story is tame compared to hers.’

During the trial there were other slips, other quirks that caused surprise. Arriving at a hearing on Valentine’s Day she wore a t-shirt bearing the slogan ‘All You Need Is Love.’

On another occasion she interrupted proceedings to explain that a pink vibrator found amongst her belongings was a gift from a friend and was just ‘a joke’.

Then there has been her see-sawing behaviour, smiles and flirty flirty glances followed soon after by tears and pained protestations of innocence. On its own, no one is saying that any of the above is indicative of guilt.

But taken with the prosecution’s DNA evidence, it is easier to understand why the jury was willing to accept that Knox did indeed have it in her to carry out a brutal murder.

They clearly did not believe that Knox was an innocent abroad (the girl with the so-called ‘acqua e sapone’ face, the ‘water and soap’ representing wholesomeness and purity).

Rather, they chose to accept the version put forward by prosecutor Giuliano Mignini who describes the real Knox as being ‘narcissistic, aggressive, manipulative, transgressive, with a tendency to dominate’.

Not only was she ‘easily given to disliking people she disagreed with’ but was a ‘talented and calculating liar’.

On the night of the murder, the prosecution alleged, Knox and Sollecito were high on drink and cannabis and returned home after meeting Rudy Guede, the Ivory Coast drifter who was separately convicted of the killing.

Finding Miss Kercher at home alone, Knox decided to take revenge against her housemate whom she had come to view as boring and sober-minded.

Maybe the spark was an argument about Knox bringing home another man, or maybe about some missing money. No one knows for sure. But it is claimed that when Guede went to the bathroom, Knox and Sollecito started to argue with Miss Kercher in her room.

Venting her resentment of Miss Kercher, Knox pushed her violently against a cupboard while her boyfriend held her hair. Guede emerged from the bathroom and joined in, eager to compete with Sollecito to have sex with Miss Kercher.

When she fell to the ground the three tried to undress her, Knox pulling out a knife while Guede began to sexually abuse her.

Mr Mignini told the jury: ‘It is easy to believe Knox said . . . “You were such a little saint . . . now you are going to be forced to have sex”.’

As Sollecito pulled at her bra strap, Knox stabbed her for the first time. Pulling out his own, smaller knife, Sollecito did the same. As it became clear Miss Kercher would not submit, Knox began to strangle her as Sollecito continued to stab her, prompting Meredith to let out the ‘terrible’ scream that neighbour Nara Capezzali heard.

At this point, Knox delivered the fatal blow, plunging her knife into Miss Kercher’s neck at around 11.30pm.

Under Italian law, relatives of victims can ask for compensation from the defendants if a guilty verdict is reached. Miss Kercher’s family have lodged a claim for £22million damages for her death.

While the amount is largely symbolic, it is an additional front for Team Knox to fight. Mr Lumumba – later released without charge – has also put forward a compensation claim after what his lawyer called his ‘ruthless defamation’.

He has said: ‘My life as a man, husband and father has been ruined because of Amanda Knox.’

Then there is the separate case being brought by Italian police, also for defamation, over an interview given by Curt Knox and his ex-wife Edda to the Sunday Times in which they said their daughter had ‘been abused physically and verbally’ by police.

Team Knox has dismissed the possibility of such court action as a minor problem, adding that all their efforts will focus on clearing the name of Amanda.

Plans for her home-coming will not be cancelled, they say. Just put on hold. Whether that postponement will be a matter of months – or years – only time will tell.

 

Posted on 12/05/09 at 09:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Crime hypothesesThe psychologyHoaxes Knox & team13 Demonized hoaxNews media & moviesGreat reporting
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Friday, December 04, 2009

The Rulings: The Judge Hands Down The Sentences And Those Convicted Head Back To Prison

Posted by Peter Quennell




Posted on 12/04/09 at 11:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Amanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Full Roundup On The Verdict, Sentencing And Reactions Here For Sure Sunday Latest

Posted by Peter Quennell

There is so very much to report.

And obviously we are playing catch-up here after yesterday’s crashes despite some amazing support from our hoster in Phoenix. .

This site is very demanding. with the YouTubes, Powerpoints, images, and Acrobat versions of images. The site runs stable on a shared server with up to 300 or so online but above that it loses stability..

TJMK will move to a dedicated server starting next week. We are not going anywhere. An average of 300 readers puts TJMK in THE TOP TWO PERCENT of all sites visited in the world. 

Posted on 12/04/09 at 09:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009Massei prosecution
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The Rulings: The Families And The Media Have Been Summoned To The Courtroom

Posted by Peter Quennell


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 12/04/09 at 04:06 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedVictims familyTrials 2008 & 2009
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