Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lord Justice Leveson: In Fact MANY Press Errors Were Made In The Reporting On Meredith’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell

The enquiry in London by Lord Leveson (above) is looking into press phone hacking and extreme coziness with politicians and police.

A few days ago, Lord Leveson’s lead lawyer grilled Martin Clarke, the Mail Online’s editor, about a story that briefly showed on the Mail Online website last October. It stated that the Hellman appeal court had confirmed that Knox was guilty.

Actually neither Martin Clark nor Lord Leveson’s lead counsel got it right - nor for that matter any other media in the UK. Judge Hellman had simply issued another INTERIM and PROVISIONAL verdict not yet ratified by the Supreme Court.

Under the Italian justice system,  Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito STILL stand accused of the crime, until the Supreme Court finally signs off. There is a very strong prosecution appeal now in front of the Supreme Court, and Judge Hellman’s not-guilty verdict will very likely be reversed.

As this has rarely if ever been correctly reported in the UK almost every interested British observer now has it seriously wrong. Take a look here at how the BBC got it wrong at great and effusive length.

It starts with this:  “For one family from Seattle, a four-year nightmare is over….”  The BBC didn’t even mention the four-year nightmare of Meredith’s family.

The myriad wrong facts in that BBC report were not simply technical mistakes on the same lines as the Mail Online’s. They were talking reports supplied by Curt Knox’s abusive and misleading PR campaign which the BBC then parroted in a pandering and highly unprofessional report. One revealing zero attempt at checking or balance.

Which, really was worse? A technical mistake by the Mail or a deliberate selling-out by the BBC?

As Mr Clarke observed on the stand, this is not an easy case for UK media to report. But newspapers and TV networks and their websites carrying resident reporters Andrea Vogt and Barbie Nadeau and the ABC’s Anne Wise (now yanked persumably for being too honest) and Richard Owens and John Follain of Rupert Murdoch’s London Times group always manage to get it right. So for the most part does the the freelance Nick Pisa who we also often quote.
In contrast the erratic Nick Squires and the erratic Michael Day of respectively the Telegraph and the Independent just two weeks ago reported very misleadingly - and no correction and apology has yet appeared.

If the Leveson enquiry wants to explore DELIBERATE media mistakes we have highlighted dozens on this site.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/17/12 at 01:53 PM in News media & movies

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The worst part is that once such things appear in the media, the AK camp starts quoting them as though they are real ,verified, indisputable facts.

Media is a powerful outlet, and I often wonder why they cannot be unbiased, even if they cannot be completely accurate.

Posted by Sara on 05/17/12 at 08:36 PM | #

Just been writing exactly that:

From the beginning, the Italian press were getting far more of the detail out to their readers, in Italian of course, and so a different point of view began to take hold to that in America, where unbelievable bias was the order of the day and the whole thing began to be presented as an Italian v American thing.

One journalist, not quite as bad as the rest over here, was Nick Squires and yet it was his take on things which the whole of the UK has got to read all the way along. Over there, it was Candace Dempsey.  It was basically pro-Knox.

Understandable that the Knox camp would be a “side”, as they wished for their daughter to beat this rap. Not so understandable, for me, that the Kercher family would be considered “the other side”, as they were essentially neutral until the evidence came out.

So, the essential point is that there was no “other” side, except when the prosecution zeroed in on Knox and Sollecito, as well as Guede, whom no one cares about because he’s not an All-American apple-pie kid.  The “other side” became the police, the prosecution and Italy itself.

Nor did anyone really give a rats’ about Meredith - pretty enough, no doubt, but this was now all about Foxy Knoxy and her tears.  And so on.  We know the situation but it’s more difficult to de-disinform the world once they get a particular view of things.

Posted by James Higham on 05/17/12 at 10:54 PM | #

The massive presence of friends, family and PR machine, in Perugia, supporting the ‘Amanda is innocent’ campaign, influenced not only reporters.

In my opinion Hellman (and other judiciary?) was persuaded that the law should be illegally extended in favour of the US.

The Italians were aware of these factors and voiced their disapproval at post trial interviews

Posted by starsdad on 05/18/12 at 12:32 AM | #

There is a whole aspect of enquiry or reasoning that is simple, obvious and extremely importamt, yet seems to have been neglected - did Knox shower frequently or not.

Feinstein, in her interviews about Capanne claims Knox hardly ever washed - problem is can anyone corroborate this.

Surely the Italian girls must have noticed whether Knox showered frequently or not. Knox claimed to have slept at Sollecito’s since they met - do we have any evidence that during this time she used the shower at the bungalow?

John Kercher - I haven’t read the book yet - states that Meredith complained about Knox’s hygiene. This is a bit ambivalent - are we talking about the toilet cleaning or personal washing?

I have never come across this information, so maybe we just don’t have it - but why? Surely the Italian girls would have been questioned about this in court or by journalists?

Posted by John Forbes on 05/18/12 at 01:58 PM | #

This whole media & PR farce comes down to Curt & Edda not wanting to be known as the parents of a killer daughter.

I believe AK would have confessed up if the parents hadn’t hushed her up in the prison meet.

Was the PR ever about the killers, or was the real agenda to clear the parents of shame?

Posted by Urbanist on 05/21/12 at 10:17 AM | #

Hi James

Edda connived to keep Patrick in prison for several weeks, and probably lied on the witness stand, and undoubtedly has sharp elbows, as does Chris Mellas.

But it was Curt Knox who first shushed Amanda and hired the incompetent firebrand David Marriott. Increasingly the digging for prime causes is focusing on Curt Knox and his mostly suppressed boiling rage, and now people who knew about Curt and Edda are quietly speaking up.

A picture is emerging of Curt’s brief marriage to Edda and the subsequent ten years in which his boiling rage surfaced again and again, most conspicuously when he failed to make his payments for AK’s child support.

Take that, Amanda… Several of our psychologists suspect that rejection was more than enough to start AK down the slippery slope to being loopy. If we put down all that we believe we know, she emerges as increasingly troubled from way back, and very troubled in Capanne and right now.

The immediate cause of Meredith’s death appears to us to have been her own rage, acted out, but was the primary cause driving her really the anger of Curt Knox? The hiding of that history of rage and culpability would be more than enough to drive the angriest, nastiest PR campaign in history.

Curt Knox was shown repeatedly popping off furiously in Perugia and Seattle, so the effects of whatever anger management a judge instructed him to undergo back in AK’s early days must have been only skin deep.

Can we imagine Curt Knox standing up and saying “Yes AK did it but there are mitigating circumstances: she is loopy, and I was the primary cause of that” ??  Obviously not.

Instead he seems to have let his daughter languish in prison for four years, continue now and on through life untreated, put Meredith’s family and many Italians through hell, and even painted himself as one of the real victims.

Nice guy. From what we hear, this story ain’t over yet. What a pity this whole case did not take place in America. No way such facts vital to a full understanding could have remained hidden from the likes of Nancy Grace and American investigators, prosecutors, and judge.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/21/12 at 02:44 PM | #

I’m reminded of AK demeanor in Cappane prison when she was seen dancing and singing. It has been suggested that this was that she felt safe. Probably from Curt Knox. It is possible that he molested her at some point in her childhood hence the reason for the split up of the marriage.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 05/21/12 at 05:11 PM | #

@Grahame Rhodes

I also have a vague feeling that your observation may be accurate. She was relived and relaxed in prison but she needed someone whom she can confide in. She is terribly lonely and has poor self respect. There must be some reason- no effect without a cause.

PAPPU : Daddy, have you ever been to Egypt?
FATHER : No. Why do you ask that?
PAPPU: Well, where did you get THIS mummy then?

Posted by chami on 05/21/12 at 06:55 PM | #

Hi Grahame and Chami. They have conjectured recently on PMF that AK may have been molested by someone but its just conjecture at this stage, whereas the rage she was in fact a victim of was quite real and easily provable.

The marriage broke up when AK was very young but the dealings or non-dealings over child support had to go on for years. It was bound to call for explanation and to set curious investigators digging sooner or later.

Curt Knox hardly helps himself - he has never ever talked of what was driving him back then, nor has he ever shown a decent face to the Kerchers, nor has he wound back the sheer viciousness of the PR campaign now.

You can see the extension of his rage at work in the vicious FOAK reaction to John Kercher’s book. It will be interesting (to say the least) to see how “Amanda’s book” handles her childhood and psyche. Any lies about them will explode.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/21/12 at 07:02 PM | #

‘Amandas book’ will be similar to her narrative e-mail; inaccurate and equivocal. Events will be stitched together to fit the undisputed evidence.

Posted by starsdad on 05/21/12 at 10:47 PM | #

I read somewhere that in her book Knox is going to talk about everything except the night of Meredith’s murder.
Has this really been stated by her side?

If so this is highly unusual, as a jailed innocent when finally released is clamming up and refusing to speak to anybody about anything.

I have never spent any time locked up in jail or anything but if I had been imprisoned for something I didn’t do I sure as hell on my release would be shouting and screaming about it.

Posted by Black Dog on 05/21/12 at 11:36 PM | #

@ John Forbes. Yes the Warden at the Womens’ prison Capanne wrote a book. She said Amanda Knox had dirty habits and did not shower after running around the exercise yard and working up a sweat.

She had poor personal hygiene and absolutely no empathy for others.

The Warden cited when she had time off work to see about her daughters serious health condition that many prisoners were waiting for her till late in the evening to speak to her and comfort her.  AK didnt make a peep to the Warden and couldnt have cared less about the Wardens family problems.

Ak is a dirty little person inside and out. Her family knows all about it. She gets on everybodys nerves and had started to drive Meredith crazy too with her filthy habits.

Posted by mason2 on 05/22/12 at 12:00 AM | #

Thanks for the reply. I wasn’t aware that the warden had actually wrote a book. I thought this info re. Knox’s hygiene was only based on an interview by Feinstein.

The reason I brought the subject up was because it would seem very relevant regarding Knox’s claim to have showered the evening in Sollecito’s and then the morning after at the bungalow, obviously lending us the appearance of a person who showers frequently.

I an surprised that this line of enquiry has not been pursued, not that it would be proof of quilt, but certainly very pertinent. Do we have any information from the Italian girls or others as to how frequently Knox showered.

Posted by John Forbes on 05/22/12 at 01:03 AM | #

Hmm, sex party ending in murder, FOAkers said it was impossible, guess they are wrong AGAIN

Posted by Severino518 on 05/22/12 at 01:05 AM | #

@mason, I am not sure if there was a book. Even I thought it was just an interview by Feinstein and as far as I remember, it was a prison mate who complained about AK being unfeeling towards her plight when her daughter was ill. Do you happen to know the name of the book or the site? I know there was a book in Italian by another prison mate (I forgot the name) but going by the description of that book, I didn’t feel there would have been anything particularly negative about AK’s hygiene in it, I may be wrong.

@ John Forbes - I do agree with you that this would have been a very relevant point of questioning and I do not know if it was pursued or not but frankly speaking, I do not feel it would have changed much. The entire thing was shady enough as such and yet most FOAKers do not see it.  Even for a person who showers frequently, it is pretty unusual to go through the elaborate process of washing and blow drying their (long) hair twice within 8-10 hours, especially if they had plans to go out in the morning. And I am speaking from experience. The whole point of showering and drying your hair the previous night would be to save time in the morning, especially when you are running late. Unless AK was paranoid about personal hygiene, this doesn’t make much sense and by all accounts she wasn’t anything of the sort (Meredith’s complaints about her cleanliness, her prison mates complaints about her lack of shower etc). Even in her own chronicles of her arrival in Perugia and Germany on her myspace, I don’t think “showering” ever featured anywhere. Yet, people who want to defend her feel its nothing unusual that she did it twice. Even if it had come out that she rarely showered, people would have most probably said “so what, that doesn’t prove anything, maybe she just felt like having many showers that day”.

Posted by Sara on 05/22/12 at 02:56 AM | #

Hi Mason, Sara and John

Here are the Sharon Feinstein interviews with a Capanne warden and a cellmate.

Almost every point the two interviewees made about AK has been pored over at PMF. We have a page capture of the page in case the interview disappears, though Sharon Feinstein handled this professionally, and she has shown no inclination to back down.

There are others around Perugia who have essentially the same perceptions of Knox. Also she was psychologically tested in Capanne in 2008 and the broad thrust of those tests leaked a little. Largely based on the tests, she was denied house arrest.

Possibly for reasons I suggested above, she seems to live in a world she has created. Untreated (if her condition is treatable) her future seems to me bleak. Apart from the book, she is incomeless, and largely friendless except for the hotheads who make things worse.

One thing Feinstein said undercuts the announced thrust of her book. She got special perks in prison. Those were in addition to the in-cell bathroom and TV and tea-making and etc etc etc. No sign anyone didnt treat her well.

She seems to have been confident she was going to be sprung. Reinforces the notion that Judge Hellman got the assignment for that purpose. We got taunting emails as soon as he replaced an angry Judge Chiari.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/22/12 at 03:35 AM | #

This is really amazingly perceptive psychology imho.  How you guys know all this stuff beats me but it sure is interresting.

Posted by olly on 05/22/12 at 03:23 PM | #

@Peter Quennell

My one complaint about John Follains book was that he failed to identify Knox as a person of complete disregard. Sharon Feinstein EMPHASISES that fact in her interviews.

Posted by starsdad on 05/22/12 at 04:48 PM | #


There is also a book written in italian:

Florisbela Inocencio de Jesus
“Passeggiando con Amanda”
ReD Press, Montefiascone, Viterbo 2010.
(“Inizia a leggere” = “begin reading”)

A Brazilian woman sentenced for drug dealing.  Rubbish.

Posted by ncountryside on 05/22/12 at 09:04 PM | #

This has got be a a joke right!!

Posted by Jeffski1 on 05/22/12 at 09:24 PM | #


Just wondering what $2m cannot do!

I am yet to see a photo where AK is laughing naturally and spontaneously.

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.—Peter Ustinov

Posted by chami on 05/22/12 at 09:45 PM | #


She will need her parents/pr/publicist permission for that to happen, since she was released, she has become a product. Wonder who pulled what strings $$$$ ??

Posted by Jeffski1 on 05/22/12 at 10:02 PM | #

Pleased to see there’s some criticism of it emerging on twitter

Posted by Spencer on 05/23/12 at 01:06 AM | #

She is starting to look a lot like Edda in the most recent pics of her, that is far far far far far from sexy. She was never anything to brag about in the first place, plain looking face, short and mousy looking, nothing special.

That’s probably why she is what she is, she can’t come to grips with that fact that regardless of the lies she has been fed over the years by her family she is average if that, nothing special, the world won’t change because of her, and the world would probably be a better place without the hundreds of thousands of Amanda Knoxes produced in American each year.

Posted by Severino518 on 05/23/12 at 02:05 AM | #

Feinstein quotes AK as saying to her cell-mates, in response to their complaints to her, “No, you smell.”

Perhaps AK was just showing-off her superior grammar in that it is AK who has the bad odors – which AK does not deny – it is her cell-mates who smell them, as in “No,YOU smell.”

On the subject of AK’s exercising careless personal hygiene, a significant part of AK’s claims about her behavior at the girls’ flat on the morning of Nov. 2nd , 2007, requires acceptance of her description of exercising extremely careful personal hygiene.

Given that when all the pieces of evidence are considered in combination, rather than one-by-one, they add-up to our belief that AK is guilty, the above simple corroboration by her cell-mates, after Meredith’s murder, of the same observation attributed both to Meredith, and to her flat-mates before Meredith’s murder is for me a very significant element.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 05/23/12 at 07:23 AM | #

Would have thought that the prosecution might have questioned the two Italian girls sharing the house as to how often Knox used the shower. I’m just wondering is this line of questioning permitted in court - or does it have to be avoided because it can cause undue suspicion etc. It would certainly have been an interesting topic for a journalist to bring up with the house mates.

Posted by John Forbes on 05/23/12 at 02:02 PM | #

Thank you, ncountryside. This was the book I was talking about. Unfortunately, I cannot understand a word of Italian so based on the description, I thought it does not have too many unflattering details about AK, it was just a guess. I hope to learn Italian someday 😊

Posted by Sara on 05/23/12 at 07:31 PM | #

Keep up the good work, people.

Sara - interesting about the washing and blowdrying.

Posted by James Higham on 05/23/12 at 09:11 PM | #

@ John Forbes re “…the prosecution might have questioned the two Italian girls sharing the house as to how often Knox used the shower. I’m just wondering is this line of questioning permitted in court…”

It seems from our various sources that Knox did use the shower with a frequency reasonable for someone who doesn’t have BO, but not to either the degree or frequency needed for one who does.

I just came across the U.S. Common-Law position on admissibility of such issues, and “Plain Smell” evidence is admissible for the same reason as are “Plain Sight”, and “Plain Sound”.

Given that Dogs have “16 million times as many olfactory sensors as humans do”, even “Dog-Sniff” evidence is admissible.

Because Gas-Chromatography is a recognised investigative procedure, applicable to body-odors, this could have been tried, if thought-of.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 05/25/12 at 09:09 PM | #

Experienced and seasoned murder squad detectives commented that Knox smelled very badly.

At this time it wasn’t long since Knox in her fairly tale of confusion and not looking at clocks had her proclaimed shower.

This is highly unusual to my mind.

How one can give off BO to such an extent that people in proximity can pick that up after that person has supposedly taken a shower just doesn’t gel (excuse the pun) to my way of thinking.

How can they smell like that after a shower?

How come several people (including Meredith) have commented on the personal habits of Knox?

Her fellow prison cell mates also say the same and they lived in close proximity.

But of course, this doesn’t make her a murderer, and I am sorry for the FOA mantra.

I would like to mention one of my life experiences.

When I lived in London in Kentish Town, I used to go in the jobshop quite often (after I left BBCTV) and in there was no other than Dennis Nilson, the (killing for company) serial killer.

Check out Brian Masters.
do not know what death smells like,but I can say this man had the most awful BO I have ever experienced in my life, one could smell him from yards away, it was horrible.

Posted by Black Dog on 05/27/12 at 02:20 AM | #

@ Black Dog, 05/26/12 at 07:20 PM, and
@ helenv, Why Defendants Mostly DONT Testify? 05/29/12 at 02:07 AM

The murder-squad detectives’ explicit comments about AK’s BO were made AFTER the 12 minute absence of AK and RS, in AK’s bedroom, and AFTER the discovery of Meredith’s murder.

Isn’t it consistent with AK’s and RS’s continuing behaviours, and their guilty-knowledge of the disaster-waiting-to-be-revealed, that they would behave in BO-producing activity during those 12 minutes?

Isn’t AK’s story about showering at the women’s house on Nov. 2nd , 2007, a plausible cover-up, and BO-removing, action she actually performed?

Posted by Cardiol MD on 05/31/12 at 12:17 AM | #

Cardiol, what you say re AK’s BO, connecting it to the guilt of that pair, would be plausible if we were talking about a person with normal habits of cleanliness.  But what we know about AK before and after the murder in prison is that her personal hygiene was appalling. 

I am sure a psychologist would have something to say about this.  It shows some deep lack of self-regard and unconsciousness I would have thought but I am not a psychologist.

Neither showering twice (or even once) nor wanting to clean up a spill at Sollecito’s place ring true precisely because she was notorious for not washing herself and not cleaning up in the flat but she did need an excuse to be back at the flat and she did go back to try to clean up as much evidence as she could.

Posted by helenv on 05/31/12 at 05:00 AM | #

AK’s regard to hygiene is characterised by her not flushing the soiled toilet.

(Maybe she thought that the smell gave the bathroom a familiar ambience; I remember reading somewhere that she was of the opinion that her unwashed smell was irresistable to men)

Posted by starsdad on 06/01/12 at 03:04 AM | #

She could well have imagined that her “funk” acted like a pheromone lure; remember that this is the person who thought a herpes sore was the sign of a good lover! Beauty in the nose of the beholder?

I’ve been trying to stay away from conjecture and focus more on what we know as the facts, but personal experience with other irritating and obnoxious people I’ve known keeps popping up.

BO, in the extreme, is generally taken to be a no-no in westernised countries, but I have known some “latter-day hippies” whose avoidance of deodorants has some basis in health wisdom.(We are becoming more aware of the carcinogenic effects of chemicals applied to the armpits.They have been implicated in breast and lymphatic cancers.)

Still, if you shower and de-funk with a good soap, sports or other exercise ( a rigorous romp in bed, perhaps? didn’t Raffles say they did it as many as 4 times a day?) could call for a second shower.

I went through a brief (tho it didn’t seem so at the time) period of excessive perspiration while in high school. My socks would become drenched, and my antiperspirant “let me down”. Even my scalp gave off an odd smell. I later learned that this was a “fear smell”, associated with hazing I underwent as someone of Arabic descent in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. I finished high school out of state, in a place where I blended in somewhat better.

Knox had good reason to smell. Patrons at the disco remarked on Guede’s BO. Chances are good that the Pugliese boy also had a good, long wash, cleaning behind his ears…her ears…

I also have experience with unflushed toilets (younger brother) and blood left in shared bathrooms (disgusting flatmates).

Different story, but related by murder of innocents: the shooting s that left 5 dead yesterday and culminated with a manhunt, standoff and the shooter’s suicide in West Seattle . I stood next to the shooter as he made a purchase at the shop where my stepmother works.

I live hard by Delridge, blocks from where the carjacked SUV had been abandoned and where a police presence is not unusual, but this one made me check the blog. I rode the bus over to see if she had heard what was going on. She hadn’t. Stawicki came in, calmly (woodenly, to be more accurate) made a purchase, which he subsequently left on a porch in the neighbourhood, accompanied by a disturbing note.(The recipient of the note called the shop, demanding to know whose sick joke her “gift” was.)

Not long after, he ended his own life. The police found the sales receipt in his pocket and spoke to my stepmom today.
Understandably, she feels as though she dodged a bullet.I shudder to think what might have happened if he’d come in while we were talking about” the nut with a gun”! I perspired a lot today!

Posted by mimi on 06/01/12 at 04:03 AM | #

Thank goodness you dodged a bullet with crazed killer Stawicki. I saw his photo caught on some store’s surveillance video before his Seattle shooting spree. You and your stepmom were spared. Maybe it’s your destiny to be safe.

Posted by Hopeful on 06/01/12 at 01:08 PM | #

Hi Mimi. Truly a chilling tale. I’m sure there’s lots of sympathy for Seattle and the families of those he took down.

Today Luka Rocco Magnotta is in the news.  Another crazy killer now on the run. This time in/from Montreal.

Like Nilson who Black Dog encountered, a necrophiliac. There were warnings not least from himself on the web over some years that he was intending to follow through.

He seems to have planned the killing and dismemberment and disappearance over many months. May now be in France.

A bad smell also plays a big role in this case.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/01/12 at 03:45 PM | #

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