Thursday, December 02, 2010

John Kercher: “Its Despicable That The Girl Jailed For Killing My Daughter Has Become a Celebrity”

Posted by Peter Quennell

Meredith’s father John passionately speaks out against the making of convicted killer Amanda Knox into a celebrity.

He is stridently critical of the utterly contemptible antics of Amanda Knox’s parents Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, and of the callous self-promotion of narcissistic limelight-seekers like Hayden Panettiere and Rocco Girlanda.

Enough is enough, he now says. His article appears in the Daily Mail.

It’s utterly despicable that the girl jailed for killing my daughter has become a celebrity

From Meredith Kercher’s father, a passionate attack on the cult of ‘Foxy Knoxy’

By John Kercher

Last week, I switched on my television to see the parents of the young woman convicted of taking my daughter’s life proclaiming her innocence. And, once again, I felt the pain and the anger and the raw grief resurface.

Amanda Knox was found guilty of killing my daughter Meredith at the house they shared in Italy three years ago. Yet since that act of horrific violence, Knox, it seems, has been accorded the status of a minor celebrity.

Sometimes it seems that there is no escape from her or her jaunty nickname, “˜Foxy Knoxy’ (doubly hurtful, for the way it trivialises the awfulness of her offence).

Cherished memories: John Kercher misses daughter Meredith every day

Last week, Knox’s parents were given star billing on the ITV breakfast show Daybreak, where they had free rein to profess their conviction that their daughter is not guilty.

Kurt Knox and his ex-wife Edda Mellas have never expressed their condolences to our family for our grievous loss. There has been no letter of sympathy; no word of regret. Instead, I have watched them repeatedly reiterate the mantra of their daughter’s innocence.

Alas, I fear there is more yet to come. Their TV appearance last week, trailed for two days as if it were some exclusive media coup, coincided with the resumption of Knox’s appeal against her conviction.

This appeal, like the initial court case, will drag on for months, while the dark tunnel between my family and our ability to grieve for Meredith in peace becomes ever longer.

If Knox doesn’t get the result she wants, our agony will be even more protracted: she may then take her case to Italy’s Supreme Court in Rome. Put simply, our ordeal could go on for years.

‘To many, Knox seems an unlikely killer. Yet to my family she is,  unequivocally, culpable’

Knox is one of three people convicted of killing my beautiful and talented daughter. It was a brutal murder. Meredith’s throat was slit, and she was stabbed to death.

Knox and her former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, are serving jail sentences of 26 and 25 years respectively for their heinous crime. A third person, drifter Rudy Guede, convicted with them, is also in prison.

Yet it is Knox who still exerts such a hold over the media. As a journalist myself, I know the reason why. Knox is young, attractive and female. To many, she seems an unlikely killer.

Yet to my family she is, unequivocally, culpable. As far as we are concerned, she has been convicted of taking our precious Meredith’s life in the most hideous and bloody way.

And the sadness is, the nature of that death too often prevents us from celebrating her life. She has become “˜Meredith Kercher, murder victim’, not Meredith Kercher, our lovely, intellectually curious daughter.

So, today, I’d like to redress the balance and tell you about our irredeemable loss. About the Merdeith we knew and loved.

Our girl was 21 when she died; a bright, sweet-natured and engaging young woman. She had been studying for a degree in European Studies and Italian at Leeds University when she had opted to spend some time in the medieval Italian town of Perugia, at the university there, improving her knowledge of the Italian language and culture.

On November 1, the third anniversary of her death, I gathered with the rest of the family in the cold, grey cemetery where she is buried. One by one, we laid bright flowers on her grave and left messages. Mine said simply, “˜I miss you’.

Along with our own handwritten notes, there were dozens from Meredith’s friends.

They write as if she’s still with us, telling her about their new jobs, their boyfriends.
They remind her of all the wonderful times they had, of the shared laughter. And like us, they hope “” really, they do “” that Meredith might somehow know what they have written.

None of us, you see, wants to forget her for even one second. So she is here, among us, everywhere. She lives on in the public memorials, with trees planted in her honour at her old school and university, and in the private ones, too.

At her home in Surrey, where she lived with her mum during the university holidays, her room remains as it always was. It is not a shrine; but neither will it ever be disturbed.

‘All we want now is the peace to be able to celebrate her life. Is that so much to ask?’

Her clothes remain in the wardrobe, her posters on the wall. Study books are piled on the table, make-up arranged beside them. It is just as she left it “” and sometimes I even convince myself that one day she will return to it.

I wait to hear the cheerful cadence of her laughter. Even now, the memory of it has the power to make me smile.

People also always remember Meredith’s kindness and caring nature. She never gave the impression of being studious, but she was. She worked quietly and assiduously for her degree. But she was generous too. Several friends commented that she would lend out her lecture notes to anyone who asked: to her, it was second nature.

But Meredith, of course, was not perfect. Punctuality was never one of her qualities.

The last time I saw her, during a weekend trip back to London, she breezed into the Italian restaurant where I was waiting for her a full hour late. Yet when I saw her, wreathed in that famous smile, my annoyance instantly evaporated.

The vision of her delightedly showing me the new boots she’d bought that day is one I continue to hold dear.

The next thing we knew, we were travelling to Italy to identify her body.

And then there was the ordeal of the court case, the details of which have been picked over too often to bear repeating here.
Glamorised: Actress Hayden Panettiere is playing Knox in a new film about the events of Meredith’s death

Glamorised: Actress Hayden Panettiere is playing Knox in a new film about the events of Meredith’s death

But still, the hurt wasn’t over. I’ll share one small example.

Two years after her death, we were told that we could finally take Meredith’s possessions home with us. I expected a large suitcase full of her belongings, which we could all cherish.

Instead, I was given a small, battered case. Her beloved clothes had all been taken for forensic tests. Not even her treasured possessions were sacrosanct.

Who knew?

Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede received a total of 67 years in prison for Meredith Kercher’s murder

So we concentrate on the happy memories instead. Meredith was a Christmas baby, and as the festive season approaches, we hold in our hearts the memory of her 21st birthday, celebrated in a local Italian restaurant. None of us could have dreamed it would be her last.

Meredith meant so much to us all. Our lives have, of course, moved on, but not a minute passes when she is not in our thoughts. And the question that nags insistently at us is: “˜Why?’ Why was she taken from us prematurely and with such horrific brutality?

Like all grieving parents, we sometimes wonder what she would be doing now if she were still with us. She would have graduated with her degree from Leeds University in 2009. But, of course, we were never able to share her pride in reaching that milestone.

She was, however, awarded a posthumous degree, and her sister, Stephanie, collected it for her. Every student in the vast hall rose to their feet to applaud her that day. The standing ovation lasted a full minute, and my eyes brimmed with tears.

Sometimes, even now, I find it hard to believe she is not still with us. Her passing is easier to bear if I pretend she has just gone away for a while; that some day soon she will ring me “” her voice bubbling with laughter and enthusiasm “” to tell me about her latest adventure.

Meredith was the baby of the family, the beloved youngest child. Her mum, her siblings and I cherish every memory of her short life. It is her untimely and horrific death we would all prefer to obliterate from our minds.

All we want now is the peace to be able to celebrate her life. Is that so much to ask?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/02/10 at 05:24 AM in Meredith’s familyFamily 1Family 2Family 3Family 4

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Beautiful and eloquently expressed. Thank you, Mr. Kercher.

Posted by Earthling on 12/02/10 at 08:37 AM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)

I hope the Daybreak TV show producers and interviewers are thoroughly ashamed of themselves for causing the Kercher family more pain and distress.  In days of yore, when common courtesy and good manners meant something in this country, one would expect such shame to bring about a heartfelt apology via the same medium to those affected - Meredith’s family and her friends.

Mr. Kercher’s words really do reinforce what a wonderful person Meredith was.

I truly hope that the appeal process is not as long and drawn out as it could be and that Mr. Kercher and his family can find the peace they need.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 12/02/10 at 10:40 AM | #

A terribly moving tribute to a daughter from a bereaved father. Is this the first public statement of his belief in AK’s culpability?

This article should be compulsory reading for the sycophants who lap up the drivel from AK’s parents unquestioningly. Nodding in faux sympathy for the ordeal she suffers. Much is made of the sympathy shown to perpetrators versus victims in the UK and USA. Is it any wonder?

AK’s parents are withholding their condolences, not because they think she is innocent but because they know she is guilty. It would have been the only natural response to reach out to them in their grief but they can’t do it.

They are hiding behind the excuse that they too have suffered a loss which can be redressed if we would only accept the assertions of innocence generated (at great expense) by the PR giant. The very notion that a group of professionals be employed to put a favourable spin on a murder/murderer is an affront to decency.

Do they expect the Kerchers to step up and bat for Amanda as well before they can say how sorry they are?

AK’s parents would like us to believe that they girls were great friends. If only Amanda hadn’t let slip her phony mask: ” I only knew her a month and I just want to get on with my life.”

And thanks to all posters for their intelligent and heartfelt work.

Posted by pensky on 12/02/10 at 11:43 AM | #

Mr Kercher speaks for England.

Posted by Janus on 12/02/10 at 01:41 PM | #

A very moving piece.

I didn’t know that Meredith was awarded her degree posthumously, and I am happy to find that out.

I think it’s disgusting that Knox’s parents have not expressed condolences to Meredith’s family. Even if they truly believed their daughter innocent - and I cannot imagine they do - what is stopping them expressing sympathy for the murder of the Kerchers’ beloved daughter and sister? And at the same time they have the cheek to say that Knox was Meredith’s friend.

Then again, pretty much all the behavior of Knox’s family has been cruel, mean-spirited and narcissistic. Sad that a UK show allowed them air space - but then, they probably only care about ratings, not about human beings.

Posted by lilly on 12/02/10 at 05:18 PM | #

This moving article had me in tears. Would the Knoxes kindly take note and back off now!

Posted by tempusfugit on 12/02/10 at 05:19 PM | #

The Knoxes-Mellas gang claim that Amanda was Meredith’s “good friend”. This should have been enough, if they believed their own lies, to offer condolences right away, right away, before even their innocent lamb was indicted! That’s what normal parents do towards their children’s friends’ parents!

They know perfectly their daughter is guilty. Edda could feel it in her daughter’s voice, she knows her. She could hear something was terribly wrong.

The Knoxes and Mellases are horrible, horrible people. They are hurting, yes. I can undestand that. But all is about their image. Well, it is not an image, it is mess!

Posted by Patou on 12/02/10 at 05:50 PM | #

Nothing to add. Mr. Kercher says it all.

Posted by mojo on 12/02/10 at 07:46 PM | #

The Knox/Mellas clan has reacted :

“As we have publicly stated many times during interviews with the media, we cannot imagine the agony and suffering experienced by the Kercher family at the loss of their daughter, Meredith. As parents, we cannot fathom the depth of such a loss. We continue to feel the same we have always felt and expressed when asked, the deepest sorrow for the Kercher family.

As we have said before, we have not reached out to the Kercher family because of our deep respect for their loss.

We certainly did not want to add to their grief and given our belief that our daughter is wholly innocent we felt it was more respectful not to do so”.

They had to offer their concolences as soon as they became aware of Meredith’s death. There was no need to wait for a better time! They had 4 days before Amanda was arrested. 4 days to offer condolences.

Posted by Patou on 12/02/10 at 08:17 PM | #

A PR release written by David Marriott. The lies and moral stupidities continue as they lose support. They both KNOW that Amanda Knox is not innocent. Read this post.

And they are both 100% behind all the xenophobia, slander, distortions, and money-grubbing exploitation. Neither are working This is now their cash cow - for life.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/02/10 at 09:19 PM | #

Mr. Kercher’s article is heartbreaking to read, and it reflects the daily burden of living with the loss - especially horrible because of the senseless violent murder - of their beloved family member Meredith.

I hope the Knox family takes note that Mr. Kercher resoundingly supports the guilty sentence that Amanda Knox received from the jury.

@Peter - how dreadful to think that the Knox’s have made this tragedy a lifetime cash cow! There are no words for it, really. Just dreadful.

I think it’s sickening to have movies about “Foxy Knoxy” and this tragedy and brutal murder of Meredith Kercher. If that Lifetime movie portrays Knox as innocent, the Kercher family should take legal recourse and sue for damages.

Posted by giustizia on 12/03/10 at 01:21 AM | #

Read the Knox clan PR spin on this article by Mr. Kercher in the Seattle PI:

Here’s an excerpt: “Kercher clearly loves his daughter and treasures her memory. But he apparently can’t find it in himself to accept that Knox’s parents could feel the same way.” The Knox clan bloggers are out in full-force with supportive comments for the murderess Knox.

Same old circus routine - just when you think they can’t sink any lower…as Mr. Kercher said so aptly - despicable.

Posted by giustizia on 12/03/10 at 03:05 AM | #

Typical Seattle media response by  I am continually amazed at how many are in denial of Knox’s guilt and how far they will go in pimping for her. None are so blind as those who will not see.

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 12/03/10 at 05:15 AM | #

I’m so glad John Kercher—and the Kercher family through him—has spoken out. Their silence was an admirable way of staying out of the fracas continually restarted by Amanda’s family, and as everyone points out, certainly demonstrated their dignity, but they do have a right to speak and it’s about time the media and the public paid attention to them, their experience and their point of view.

I also applaud John Kercher’s willingness to speak frankly and not pull any punches—especially being clear in stating that their family believes Amanda Knox is guilty as charged.

This ought to be a bit of a reality check for the Knox/Mellas clan (I say “a bit” because I don’t know how much reality they can stand—I pretty much agree that on some level at least some of them know or fear that she might have committed the crime) and perhaps being faced with the fact that they don’t actually have the moral high ground here, it will temper the tone of or reduce the volume on their disingenuous complaints, if not shut them up altogether for awhile.

I hope John Kercher knows that he is supported by the compassion of an international community as he reveals the heartache and frustration the family continues to bear and that his courage is deeply appreciated.

Posted by wayra on 12/03/10 at 09:16 AM | #

I am so pleased that Mr Kercher has appeared in the press.
The things he says just makes the PR “juggernaut” seem so pointless and hollow.
It has been said before but if that awful woman (Mrs Mellas) is in any doubt that the Kercher family are not sure of the conviction for murder of Amanda Knox and her partner in crime; she is now.
I believe Mr Kercher spoke out after seeing the daybreak interview with Mrs Mellas and her ex husband and being accused of being a liar by the lovely “I dont know that” Mrs Mellas.

Posted by Black Dog on 12/03/10 at 12:28 PM | #

God bless the Kercher family. Like others here, I applaud the dignity shown by their silence, but am glad that he finally spoke out and said outright that he and his family believe Knox is guilty.  It needed to be said.

The lasting memory of Meredith will be that she was beautiful, both inside and out, and smart, caring, loving and fun, and that she captured the heart of those she knew.

The lasting memory of Knox (if she is remembered by anyone outside her family—and Rocco Ghirlanda) will be the opposite——a quirky, self-centered, drugged up, white trash, promiscuous, lying murderess—- with a family that got their “15 minutes of fame” by pimping their daughter and trying to purchase her release by way of PR and propaganda to hide the truth.

I’ve said it all along that it’s no wonder that Knox turned out as she did.

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 12/03/10 at 01:46 PM | #

Within the US TV networks there are reporters that still remain very biased.

Here is a subtly biased report by the perpetually biased ABC reporter Nikki Batiste. Right now she is one of the 2 or 3 worst on Meredith’s case. (In their favor, ABC also carries the reliable and honest Ann Wise.)

Below the report in the comments are some strident criticisms of John Kercher for writing this amazing letter - and for not showing enough sympathy for Curt Knox and Edda Mellas who inspired the viciously xenophobic, slanderous and barking-mad PR campaign in the first place!

Those comments could use some serious challenging and rebuttal. and if any of our many insightful reader could help over there, that would be greatly appreciated.

Here is another report by Fox News with the opportunity to comment. Fox News and and the Murdoch empire in general have been fairly reliably pro-Meredith.

Please always leave behind links to TJMK and PMF? Thousands of readers found via such links that there actually is this self-funded push-back movement focusing on the hard truths and on Meredith.

And if you want to seriously wrong-foot Curt Knox and Edda Mellas and the fanatics in the Knox campaign link to this post.

It appears to prove quite conclusively that nearly three years ago, Edda Mellas KNEW that Amanda Knox had killed Meredith - and that Edda Mellas lied under oath on the witness stand to cover up for Amanda.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/03/10 at 03:12 PM | #

Under the ABC report by Nikki Batiste that I just linked to above, this inaccurate claim is made by a commenter calling himself kda_silva - it is at the bottom of the first page of comments.

“I have spent too much time looking at the True Justice site trying to find rational discussion of the guilt side, only to be driven away by their innuendo and partial truths. And take note, they are “non-profit”. You know what that means? That they are PAID salaries just like any other “non-profit” organization!”

Seriously wrong, kda-silva, in addition to your many evidence confusions. Try reading our footer statement for our real status here. This is it in full:

“TJMK is a totally self-funded volunteer-run website where nobody ever gets paid for anything. We channel advice freely provided by law enforcement, lawyers, crime experts, and others with professional expertise who believe the right verdict was reached. We claim no copyright. We offer credit to our many friends in the US, UK and Italian media for stories and shots we may use.”

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/03/10 at 04:13 PM | #

@Peter - It’s also very likely Edda Mellas knew that her daughter was lying about the completely innocent Patrick Lumumba when she accused him of being the murderer of Meredith Kercher, staying silent for the 2 weeks he spent in jail while his reputation was trashed. Throwing people under the bus, as it were, oh well!

Posted by giustizia on 12/03/10 at 04:28 PM | #

What a wonderful father! Even now, even after months and years of the Knox PR, he is able to write in such a great style. It’s an honour for everyone who supports true justice for Meredith to work for Meredith’s family, too.

Posted by Dr. Weissnix on 12/03/10 at 11:28 PM | #

Dear John,

Your daughter is loved and cherished around the world. 

Stay strong.  The offenders are where they need to be, and God willing, will receive even more time with the upcoming court process.

Smoke can be blown to the media and they can release it, but when you are in court, the facts surface and nothing, and no one can hold that back. 

The evil and hate swirling around those convicted of your daughter’s death is contained - and it will remain so.

Stay Strong.

Posted by mylady007 on 12/05/10 at 04:17 PM | #
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