Peter Popham Of “The Independent” Has Drunk Knox PR Kool-Aid

Popham’s Bias Against Italy

Among the European papers The Independent is really standing out now for its coverage of the Kercher case.

A long list of wrong and omitted facts. And a great deal of biased editorial comment masquerading as straight reporting. All the work of Peter Popham, the Independent’s Rome reporter.

Check out some of Popham’s Rome Notebook pieces, in which he comes across as contemptuous of Italy and all things Italian.

If Popham has actually published anything sympathetic to Italy in his time there, we are unable to spot it.   The Italian police and justice system seem particular targets of his scorn.

Ignored: Mountain of Evidence

By mid-year 2008 the main accumulation of evidence was complete and extremely extensive. It had already been reviewed twice by the Supreme Court and found to be strong.

A flavor of it was available to any reporter who bothered to attend the many preliminary hearings in 2008 summarised here.  To our knowledge, the lazy, opinionated and slapdash reporter Peter Popham never did.

Popham Again Channels Knox PR

Here now is Popham’s latest garbling of the real case. We put what is obvious bias in bold.

See our corrections below.

Peter Popham: A chance to redeem Italian justice

Rome Notebook: When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat

If the prosecutors in the Meredith Kercher murder case had wanted to give the world a demonstration of what is wrong with Italian justice, they could hardly have done a better job.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been in jail since last November….  The evidence? [only] household tiffs between Amanda and Meredith in the flat they shared. Amanda supposedly invited undesirable men back to the house. Raffaele wrote in his diary that he sought “extreme experiences” (he had apparently been a virgin till meeting Amanda a fortnight before.) Yet the girls cohabited well enough…

After allegedly killing their friend, did they flee? Not at all. Next morning they called the police, and hung around to give statements. In the absence of other suspects, prosecutors accused them of murder with an African friend. Unfortunately for the prosecutors, Patrick Lumumba had never even set foot in Mez’s flat and eventually they had to let him go.

Two weeks after the murder, scientists found bloody fingerprints on a cushion under Mez’s body which belonged to a drug dealer and serial house-breaker called Rudy Guede, who had gone on the run right after the murder. The crime, it seemed, was solved ““ but prosecutors clung to their original theorem, merely substituting one African for another.

When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat. Though if he sends Guede to jail for life and frees the other two, the cries of “racist” and “American dupe” will doubtless be raucous.

Our corrections of Popham

1. The evidence is merely household tiffs? Really? What of the small mountain of damning witness testimony, luminol and other forensic evidence, and eyewitness accounts? Why does Popham make zero mention of that?

2. Hung around and called the police? Actually, the Postal Police turned up of their own accord and seemingly interrupted a rearrangement of the crime scene in progress.

3. Sollecito’s calls to the Perugia Central Police Station seem to have been made only in frantic catch-up mode - some minutes later.

4. The police messed up over Patrick Lumumba? Actually, he was fingered by a self-proclaimed eyewitness: Amanda Knox. Strongly. And not just once; several times. For which criminal slander, of course, both the prosecutor and Patrick Lumumba are now suing… Knox!

5. Rudy Guede is “a drug dealer and serial house-breaker”? Really? Is there ANY proof of that? Popham is happy to decry racist stereotypes and yet propagates them himself.

Still, it is interesting to know that Knox deflowered Sollecito. We can thank Popham for that mental image…

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Critical comments on the Independent website below Peter Popham’s piece.

I think this article has to be the worst piece of journalism I have ever read on the Independent. Have you done any research on this at all or did you go out and buy a ‘free amanda’ t-shirt first before you became aware of this case?

You fail to mention a knife, found at Mr Sollecito’s apartment, which has Ms Knox’s DNA on the handle and Ms Kercher’s on the blade.

Mr Sollecito’s DNA was found on a clasp from the bra Ms Kercher was wearing the night she was murdered.

Numerous witnesses recall Ms Knox describing the scene of the crime. How is this possible when she was not permitted to be anywhere near it?

As for the police, what was the point of phoning them, when the postal police were already there. A bit redundant, don’t you think?

If there was a link on your article that said ‘complain about this’ I would have certainly clicked it by now.

Posted by j Hamilton | 27.10.08, 10:10 GMT

That is an entirely inaccurate account Mr Popham.

They did not hang around to give statements after calling police at all, they were surprised by the Italian High-tech communications police (Polizia Postale) who showed up after being informed of two telephones being found in a garden near to the crime scene, they traced one phone to the murder scene where they discovered Knox and Sollecito stood outside the house in the garden.

They (Knox and Sollecito) only called the police a half hour after these Polizia Postale had been at the house where the murder took place.

The African was fingered by Knox herself, when she falsely accused him of rape and murder.

He was not released by her admitting she had falsely accused him, instead she allowed him, through her words to the police to remain in prison, until it was proven that he had been present in his bar that night.

Your article is particularly lame, the evidence you mention, that is nonsense, that is not the evidence.

Posted by John Gillespie | 27.10.08, 00:40 GMT

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/27/08 at 06:17 PM | #

Just one more attempt to interfere with a sovereign criminal justice system on the part of the media.

He makes a much better, though unwitting, argument for media bias, since he has clearly already decided on the guilt and innocence of the various suspects.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 10/27/08 at 07:38 PM | #

He’s a poxy looking turd. No Italian girl would look twice at him. No wonder he’s cheesed.

Posted by Jeremy on 10/28/08 at 04:19 AM | #

Why report from Italy if you hate the place? I hate rugby so why would I wanna be a rugby journalist?  Man is an idiot clearly.

Posted by daisysteiner on 10/28/08 at 03:50 PM | #

Hi Daisy,

Welcome to the True Justice For Meredith Kercher website. You won’t be called a mole here or have your comments deleted for disagreeing with somebody else. You might be interestd in reading the piece about Candace Dempsey’s blog by Skeptical Bystander which was posted here on 16 September.

Posted by The Machine on 10/28/08 at 04:36 PM | #

Cheers The Machine for the kind comments.  I think Candace meant troll but her lack of a clue about the internet led her to mole.  I mean, a mole is a spy, why would I be spying on a public website?  Lordy!

Props to Harry Rags for directing me here!

Posted by daisysteiner on 10/29/08 at 05:47 PM | #

I had to laugh at Peter Popham’s bland and essentially accurate piece, today in the Independent, reporting on yesterday’s trial of Rudy.

Try convincing me the criticism hasnt made his ears red - better make that redder, I guess.

Here are the other negative comments below his online piece - the comments were closed down early, it seems.

I am cancelling my subscription to this publication. I really cannot believe that they allowed this biased incorrect report to be posted.

Posted by Chris B | 28.10.08, 08:42 GMT

I was astonished reading this column ! Whatever the problems the Italian justice system might have in general, anyone who has be following this case, even slightly, would know that this is inaccurate account of the events. I have to consider this more of an Editorial position, than anything relating to journalism. As as one, I will suggest that the Italian investigators be allowed to finish their case before columnists cry ‘Injustice’ ! They haven’t even come to trial and this man is arrogantly condemning the charges, based on the defense lawyers arguments ?

As an American from Knox’s state, I feel inclined to say to this journalist what I want to say to mine back home : OF ALL THE INJUSTICE HAPPENING WHERE YOU ARE-of kids with no evidence sitting on death row, and their are hundreds, you are really getting all worked up about an ongoing case that hasn’t even been brought to trial in a foreign country? At least wait until they are convicted before crying ‘injustice’ !

Posted by stuart | 27.10.08, 23:46 GMT

Anyone who has spent more than five minutes studying the facts of the Meredith Kercher murder will see this article for the piece of garbage that it is. If I had a paper copy, I would use it to line my trash bin. If I had a subscription to the Independent, I would cancel it.

While on holiday this summer in a continental European country, I came across a small selection of publications in English and decided to buy one for my friend’s father, who is Australian. Not knowing any better, I bought the Independent. He took one look at it and laughed, saying that the Independent had long ago ceased to be a serious publication. At the time, I wondered what he meant. Now I know. Thank you for showing me, Mr Popham.

Posted by Poppinjay | 27.10.08, 21:46 GMT

This article is a disgrace and a perfect example of trash journalism.

Are you working for the Knox PR team Peter Popham?

Do your research first before you publish rubbish like this, or are you just cashing in on a quick buck?

Shame on you, how do you sleep?

Posted by Rob | 27.10.08, 21:12 GMT

Peter Popham your article is a DISGRACE and riddles with errors…

How on earth did the Independent allow this garbage to be published??

I hope the article is retracted….....

Posted by Bradders | 27.10.08, 20:47 GMT

Here are some facts omitted by Peter Popham:

All three suspects have deliberately and repeatedly lied during the investigation. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollectio, not only gave conflicting witness statements, but also completely different accounts of where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on the night of the murder.

There are a total of 23 pieces of forensic evidence linking the three suspects to the crime, including a knife which has Amanda Knox’s DNA on the handle and Meredith’s DNA on the blade, and Raffaele Sollecito’s and Rudy Guede’s DNA on Meredith’s bloodied bra.

Renato Biondo has just recently provided independent confirmation at a recent court hearing that the scientific police’s investigation was carried out correctly and that the forensic findings are accurate.

Posted by TM | 27.10.08, 20:07 GMT

Posted by Fast Pete on 10/29/08 at 05:56 PM | #
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