Thursday, April 26, 2012

Excerpts From Lucy Bannerman’s Interview With Meredith’s Father In Today’s UK Times

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1. On First Impressions

I had never cried during an interview, until I met John Kercher. He presses a polite kiss to the cheek when we meet, smiling as he shakes my hand, before quickly apologising for wincing in pain.

His back has been giving him trouble “” he thinks he might have put it out when he sneezed. Still, his manner is warm and engaging and, despite having suffered a stroke three years ago, there is only a slight hint of unsteadiness as we pick a table and order some drinks in the bland lounge of a Croydon hotel.

2. On Rudy Guede Plus… Who?

Rudy Guede, the Ivorian drifter who is the only one who admits being at the scene, and whose murder conviction still stands, is in jail, having had his sentence reduced to only 16 years in a fast-track trial.

Today, Mr Kercher refuses to believe that Guede was the sole killer.

“One person could not have done it.” Of that much, he is certain. “She had 47 bruises. Two different knives were meant to have been used. Meredith did karate, for goodness’ sake.”

Remove Knox and Sollecito, and the only theory left is that Guede was helped by other, as-yet-unknown, accomplices. Which leaves Mr Kercher with even more questions.

“Then why is there not evidence of these other people?” he asks.

The past six months have passed in limbo. He has used the time to write a book that is, in one sense, his attempt to lay out the vast and tangled body of evidence, detailed in 10,000 pages in the original trial, which was overturned by an appeal judge last October.

“As we have always said, we would never want innocent people put in prison. But when you’re presented with that whole body of evidence, by forensic investigators, and it is just overturned, without question “” without question “” it is very difficult.”

3.. On Why John Was Inspired To Write

Ultimately the book is a heartbroken father’s tribute to his daughter. She sparkles through the pages, thanks to anecdotes from friends and family, first loves and flatmates; from the teachers who taught her and even the boy who once proposed. It is instantly clear, and not at all surprising, that Meredith was never short of admirers.

Her father was encouraged to write the book, not just by those who loved the 21-year-old student, but also by strangers.

“I looked on the internet and saw there were so many people saying, “˜We love her smile, she seemed like such a beautiful person, but we don’t really know anything about her’.

“So, I wanted to give people a flavour of what she was like, of her witty one-liners, her kindness.”

He remembers the baby girl who, though not premature, was born at just 4lbs 12oz “” “she was so small I could practically hold her in one hand” “” and the teenager with appalling time-keeping.

He talks fondly of the London bus tour guide, whose tours would always end with a top deck of applause, and the girl who first fell in love with Italy on a school exchange.

“Her teacher told me how, at the end of the exchange, all the other girls were crying on the coach as they said goodbye, except Meredith, who had a big smile on her face. She said she wasn’t upset, because she knew she was going to come back and live here.”

4. On The Hellman Court Not Examing All Evidence

A lack of motive and unreliable forensic evidence led to Knox and Sollecito being cleared by a jury. Much of the case centred on disputed DNA evidence on a kitchen knife and a clasp from Meredith’s bloodied bra.

“That DNA evidence was rejected, but what about all the rest of it?” asks Mr Kercher, for whom so many questions remain unanswered.

“Knox and Sollecito changed their alibi, I think, nine times.”

He does not agree that someone broke into the cottage, as the defence claimed. He believes it was staged. “How could one judge turn around and say the break-in wasn’t staged, when another judge spent eight pages in his original report explaining that it was?

“It doesn’t make sense.”

What does he think happened?

“No idea,” he replies, flatly.

Does he believe Amanda Knox killed Meredith?

He sighs. “Look into my eyes.”

They are full of tears.

“Guess. I don’t want to be vindictive. All I know is that there’s no other evidence of any other people being in that flat at that time.”

5. On Those Profiteering From Meredith’s Death

One thing he makes plain: the Kerchers have never profited from their daughter’s murder. He is disgusted by those who have.

They have turned down countless lucrative media offers.

Any proceeds from the book will go to a foundation they are setting up in Meredith’s name. They are considering whether it might support bereaved relatives who find themselves, like they did, embroiled in financially draining legal procedures overseas.

6. On How Family Life Carries On

He split from Meredith’s mother, Arline, ten years before the murder, and lives on his own in a flat five miles from the former family home. Kidney problems mean that Arline must rely on dialysis three times a week. She and John are on amicable terms.

Meredith’s eldest brother, also John, works in electronics, and is father to his own family. Her other brother, Lyle, works in advertising, while Stephanie, the beautiful sister she so closely resembles, has a career in marketing.

He is not a religious man, Kercher says. But over the past few years he has taken great comfort in what he calls “the white feather phenomenon”.

“I had never heard of it before. But it’s meant to represent the deceased person. It first happened when Stephanie and I were sitting in the garden one summer, and an absolutely white feather landed between us. I looked up. There was not a bird in the sky.”

It happened again after meeting up with a friend of Meredith’s while he was collecting anecdotes for the book.

“We were just saying goodbye in South Kensington when a white feather floated down and landed on her hand. It was really weird. It was so perfect. I actually waited another 10, 12 minutes, after the girl had gone, looking up at the sky.” He laughs at himself for being so superstitious.

“I often look at photographs and say to her, “˜send me a white feather’.”

7. On John’s Continuing Journalist Career

Mr Kercher still works as a freelance journalist. Despite all the heartache, he remains good company, apparently enjoying talking about life as a journalist, sharing anecdotes about the famous people he has interviewed and the book of quotations he has compiled.

“Do you ever get lonely?” he asks, suddenly. The question seems to hang uncomfortably for a moment, before we move on to happier topics, such as the nine times that he ran the London Marathon, his love of jazz and the 70th birthday he will be celebrating later this year.

As the interview draws to a close, he says he has no plans for the rest of the day but to keep writing. “You work to occupy the mind.

“You just carry on. You can’t do anything. You have no influence over events. It’s very difficult.”

Posted by Our Main Posters on 04/26/12 at 07:39 PM in Concerning MeredithThe officially involvedVictims family

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I made a very civil comment on the appalling new FOA Facebook page ‘Free Meredith Kercher’ and it was deleted after about 15 mins of posting.

All the nuts are there, Celestial easterly, Karen the hairdresser et al.

Gosh! there are even posts complaining about why Guede only received 16 years and posts with links on why he did it all on his own.

There are also links to the cookery blogger Dempsey…

It is no coincidence the page has been created at the same time as the release of John Kercher’s book about the murder of his beloved daughter.

Visit the page and report it to Facebook please.

Posted by Black Dog on 04/26/12 at 09:22 PM | #

“Oh the Humanity” - this expression is associated with human tragedy (coming from Herb Morrison’s radio reporting on the Hindenburg explosion) ... yet the same expression of dispair has a different light, one of opening, of transparency, of hope, joy and laughter. 

There is much Humanity in “Meredith” and John Kercher’s descriptive background to this wonderful book.

“Oh the Humanity”, I say to myself with contentness, with satisfaction, as I read in “Meredith” of wholesome persons, hard-working decent folk in Croyden’s Kercher family and how this contrasts with the silent, cold rain of Seattle.


Lucy Bannerman writes: “Remove Knox and Sollecito, and the only theory left is that Guede was helped by other, as-yet-unknown, accomplices. Which leaves Mr Kercher with even more questions.”

John, Arlene, John Jr., Lyle, Stephanie, don’t worry. I can assure you that all of the corporate PR campaigns stacked together, all of the slime-based book deals, all of the cyncial money grabbers will never provide all of Meredith’s killers will a plausibly believable alibi.

Nor will the killers’ book royalties ever provide enough purchasing power to buy respite for their dark consciences from the constant replaying of that terrible night when Meredith was murdered.

However, while Meredith’s killers will suffer forever and non-stop from their own consciences, the rest of us can delight in John’s recounting of how Meredith was as a person, those wonderful descriptions of how she grew up and what a fine soul she was and is.

I say she “is” a fine soul because Meredith’s “white feather phenomenon”, has touched us all since her death, including those of us who never met her in life. I’m sure the “white feather” has also drifted down in the prisons and homes where her killers have left their shadow.

Live on Meredith! Thank you John and the rest of the Kercher family for treating us to joyful Humanity.

Posted by Kermit on 04/26/12 at 09:39 PM | #

What an amazing guy who has kept his dignity throughout this unimaginable ordeal.

I hope that he finds solace in knowing there are a countless number of supporters throughout the world who will stand by him and his family until justice is done.

Posted by Urbanist on 04/26/12 at 11:31 PM | #

Kermit, yes, the Humanity! It shines through on every page. John Kercher has not “gotten past” his “grief”—as participants in the dark PR campaign have had the crudity to suggest he should do—but he has nonetheless put his pain and grief to productive use in an extremely generous way, sharing his beloved Meredith with a wider world. Reading this moving book, one senses not only John’s but Meredith’s generosity on every page too. No amount of darkness and disinformation can ever counter such strength of spirit.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 04/27/12 at 02:26 AM | #

How lovely does Meredith look in this photo above. Coming here and finding newer photos of her in the last few days has been like an unexpected treat.I am truly thankful to John Kercher for writing this book and sharing his precious memories with us.

@BlackDog - I tried to find the page you were talking about but it did not come up in google search. I don’t use facebook frequently at all but I will reactivate my id and report it. I guess searching for the exact words after logging in will bring up the page.

Posted by Sara on 04/27/12 at 04:41 AM | #

Over time I have become more and more committed to the eventual conviction of these two. Point is I really don’t care how long it takes be it years and years. I will commit here and now that whatever resources I have at my disposal in the future I will gladly give the that eventual end.

Therefore I challenge anyone else who contributes to this blog to do the same. The Kercher family has never asked for contributions but should such an availability be forthcoming then you can count on me be it legal fees or travel or whatever it takes.

On the other hand believers in the innocence of Knox and Sollicito, (Michelle Moore et al) scream loudly but ask them to contribute to any monetary fund and they remain silent just like the bottom feeders they all are. So I say to them, as I say to you “Put your money where your mouth is.” and I very obviously will do the same.

Very Sincerely Grahame Rhodes

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 04/27/12 at 05:16 AM | #

Hi Sara,
Here is a link to the absolutely appalling Facebook page:

They have deleted all comments in the familiar style of Candace Dempsey - including links to the sale of John Kercher’s heartfelt and heartbreaking book on the murder of his beloved daughter Meredith.
I commented asking why, and this was deleted also.

As I say I was perfectly civil in everything I posted, I never used any profanity whatsoever and never said anything that could be construed in any way shape or form to be ‘hateful’.

I am now truly lost for words.

Posted by Black Dog on 04/27/12 at 05:53 AM | #

Just to add,
I will donate to Merediths fund even though I have the book as I hope someday John and the family can use any funds available to perhaps bring a civil case against Meredith’s killers.
I live in hope.

Posted by Black Dog on 04/27/12 at 05:56 AM | #

Just a suggestion: Contact John Kercher’s publisher directly with a link to the page. They are using photos from the book without permission while removing all mentions of the book. The worst nightmare of these Knox apologists is that John Kercher’s book get recognition and sales.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 04/27/12 at 06:46 AM | #

Oh my goodness, I was crying just reading this interview. I don’t know HOW I’m going to get through an entire book! (lol)

Meredith shines through her father’s words. I cannot wait to get this book and read it!

Although right now I’m a bit busy with a school course I’m taking, I will definitely buy it within the next two months and read it eagerly.

Like Meredith, I’m the youngest of four children too. I think Meredith was very lucky to have the parents and siblings that she had. They all cared so much about each other in a real way. Her (almost) 22 years were about as good as it gets in this life. I can’t wait to find out more by reading this book.

Posted by Earthling on 04/27/12 at 09:07 PM | #

@Black Dog I found the Facebook page you reference.

It claims to want to bring together both camps who debate the Kercher case, but it doesn’t take long to see that those who think Knox guilty are being called names and such…the typical hypocritical bile.

Those are 35 silly people on that page.

I wouldn’t contact Facebook. The page has a right to exist. It just seems like a very lame attempt to coopt sympathy for the Kerchers, which is not something the Innocenti have ever displayed before. It’s very cynical.

Posted by Jeff Friend on 04/28/12 at 07:11 AM | #

I think that is the PR machines new move, they are trying to pretend that they have sympathy and love for Meredith and feel that people like us are tarnishing her name by trying to ruin the lives of Amanda (good friend they pretend) and Raffaeie.

I think we need to realize this is the next move and make sure we fight it,

Posted by Severino518 on 04/28/12 at 09:06 AM | #


You are so right, the PR machine has got smarter but not wiser! In fact, if they had followed this script in the beginning, from their first steps, many of us would have been only more confused and puzzled. However, it is too late now and we know what they stand for!

I just want justice. Nothing less will do.

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened.  It is sad to go to pieces like this but we all have to do it.
    —Mark Twain

Posted by chami on 04/28/12 at 10:36 AM | #

Hi Jeff, Severino and Chami.

You really have it right, this looks to us to be a very significant windshift. Not surprising, considering.

1) Officialdom in Perugia believes the entire inner circle of family and lawyers always KNEW that AK and RS really were involved in some way.

2) Recent posts on PMF show what a truly incompetent job Judge Hellman did and how his jury was overwhelmed with emotions. 

3) Recent posts on TJKM show how daunting Dr Galati’s appeal is, how likely Cassation is to wind back the appeal verdict and instruct the appeal court to start over, and how incredibly hard it will be for AK and RS to write books without finding themselves back in court for calunnia, or simply laughed out of town.

4) John Kercher’s timely and just-right new book.

Please keep a sharp eye out for signs of nervousness and weakening and post signs here?  We reckon we are seeing at least three.

1) AK still locked in the attic well away from any media after some months, with RS now also put well out of hearing.

2) The nervous and pleading Denver post the other day on Ground Report. (Nervous guy - he really should stop posting now if he really wants to help AK).

3) This rather adolescent please-be-nice-to-us page on Facebook by what seem like besotted tweenies.

We are starting to hear more from Perugia and Seattle and others too including many Italians are digging. Posts reflecting this might take a while and several trips, but they will appear here between now and the ruling by Cassation.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/28/12 at 01:53 PM | #


I disagree with your comment:

This rather adolescent please-be-nice-to-us page on Facebook by what seem like besotted tweenies.

As part of my job, I deal with adolescents on a regular basis. There is a master programmer behind this. I cannot prove this but then his master signature is all over. You may go through the page once more dispassionately, and it is aimed at people who do not know all the details.

The symptoms are clear:

1. See, we are sympathetic! (only superficial and no adverse comment is tolerated on their pages)

2. Meredith’s beauty is given undue prominence. As if it is a beauty contest and the loser has to die. This is a common strategy to cover the seriousness of the crime.

3. If you look at their language, you will find something is lacking! What is lacking is spontaneity. This is not the usual language of the “besotted tweenies”.

I do not see any sign of nervousness but a new strategy.

Meredith is and has been always free. AK is still in a prison of her own making. Unfortunately Meredith cannot speak now and AK is scared to talk. Do you see the pall of fear hanging over her face in all her pictures? Can you say confidently that she is really free?

It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats.

Posted by chami on 04/28/12 at 05:37 PM | #

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