Posts Tagged ‘Amanda Knox’

Meredith Kercher: What Price Memory?

January 30, 2014


Later today, January 30th 2014, yet another verdict is due in the murder trials of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Hopefully, if justice is truly done, they will be exonerated once and for all and the Kerchers will finally accept the truth: Meredith Kercher was killed by Rudy Guede, known knife-carrying burglar, when she unwittingly entered her rented flat while he was in the act of robbing it. I have wanted to write this post, have been thinking about it for several years, but quite frankly have felt intimidated by online trolls and been fearful of causing offense. But now, today, it seems important to acknowledge the elephant in the living room and publicly question what drives the Kerchers to continue ignoring the evidentiary facts and persist with unfounded accusations against two innocent people, while displaying zero interest in the one guilty party who can definitively be linked to the crime.

Does intense grief excuse a person from doing horrendous wrong? This is the question I have pondered over and over again since I first began researching the Meredith Kercher murder and subsequent witch hunt against Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. The guilty person, Rudy Guede, has long been identified and to any sensible and thorough researcher of the evidence, his lone involvement is beyond question. There is no DNA evidence linking Sollecito and Knox to the crime, no motive and neither of their psychological profiles are compatible with violent murder. The original prosecution case of a “sex game gone wrong” (what even is that?) was a fabrication of Prosecutor Mignini, already convicted for similiar misconduct in the infamous “Butcher of Florence” investigation. This is a man who has demonstrated a lurid obsession with ritual-sex murders arising from a fantasy world that is reminiscent of the plot of Kubrick’s last film “Eyes Wide Shut”, only as re-imagined by David Cronenberg. The revised theory, that Knox killed Kercher due to disputes about cleaning, is equally ludicrous and utterly fails to explain how this would involve either Rudy Guede or Raffaele Sollecito.

Despite the 100% lack of evidence against Knox and Sollecito and the 100% existence of same against Rudy Guede, the Kercher family, via the tabloids and in collaboration with Mignini and their publicity-hungry legal team in Italy, have continued to insist that Knox and Sollecito are involved. This sad and wrong-headed obsession of the Kerchers has already cost both innocent youngsters 4 years of their lives, spent in Italian prisons before being acquitted, and now that the acquittal has been overturned on a technicality, they still are prevented from moving on with their lives. It has been particularly impossible for Sollecito, who lives in Italy after all, to rebuild his life and return to the pursuits he had prior to meeting Amanda Knox at a classical music recital in 2005. Neither of them will ever be free of association to a horrific crime, simply because Knox happened to be the victim’s housemate and did not flee Italy, unlike Kercher’s supposedly better friends (British students), but remained there hoping to be of help to the investigation and solace to the Kercher family when they arrived. For this she was rewarded by becoming the chief defendant in a shocking trial while Sollecito, with even more tenuous links to the event, had his fate cruelly lumped in with hers.

Thousands upon thousands of online trolls, particularly those based in the UK, continue to write vicious character assassinations about Knox and Sollecito, even going so far as to access their private Facebook pages and engage in ugly flame wars with both them and their many supporters. I myself have been on the receiving end of bizarrely vicious abuse from fanatical haters, for comments I’ve published here and elsewhere online in support of Raffaele and Amanda. One of these, who may or may not be the Hollywood film producer Don Murphy*, spews venom of a particularly vile hue. (*Paramount Pictures did not respond to my enquiries trying to determine if this prolific online troll is in fact the producer of “Natural Born Killers” or an imposter. The online consensus appears to be that it is actually Murphy, which beggars belief, if true.) The Kerchers could stop all of this hateful libel in an instant but they don’t. In fact, they encourage it with their own persistent accusations.

It is considered in extremely poor taste to criticize the Kerchers. (I am sure I will get some really nasty emails after posting this. I can handle it.) After all, their Meredith was savagely butchered and they have experienced unimaginable loss and suffering, all in the full glare of the public eye. They are considered untouchable due to their status as the victim’s family.

But I am going to criticize them today, as well as analyze their reasons for behaving as they have done.

As proven in cases like the Robin Hood Hills murders and some other wrongful convictions, it is indeed possible for the victim’s family to rise above their own personal pain and seek true justice and not be satisfied with the wrong person(s) being punished. This is a very high moral standard and I realize it may seem like asking a lot. But ask yourself this: if a loved one was killed, would you really be happy that as many people as possible were jailed for the crime, or would you want to be absolutely certain that only the guilty were punished?

I can’t even imagine being in the situation but my claim is that I would aspire to the latter position. I would not want an innocent person to suffer to compound the suffering that had already unfairly occurred.

So Why Can’t the Kerchers Accept the Truth?

John Kercher describes himself, within the first few pages of his sad book about his daughter Meredith’s murder, as a freelance journalist with 30 years experience working for major national news sources, doing features and celebrity interviews.

Odd then, that when I try searching for his by-line, the only “celebrity interviews” I find are a couple of Q&A’s for the website This Is Money, with someone I’ve never heard of called Carol McGiffin (apparently she appeared on Loose Women), and the slightly less obscure singer Jane Macdonald (also of Loose Women “fame”) from late 2008. Mr. Kercher’s by-line does not even appear actually and the Q&As do not even fill a whole newspaper column. I don’t find any other published work, other than in connection with his daughter’s murder, with John Kercher’s name attached. Elsewhere, he has been identified as having worked for the tabloids which is certainly much closer to the truth.

So he was certainly no star reporter but reading between the lines, it’s safe to assume that he was at least on the professional fringes of the lesser newspaper business for some time.

Which explains why when he heard the very first news of a murder in Perugia, before he even knew for sure that the victim was his daughter, John Kercher was on the phone, not to the Home Office, or his daughter’s Italian flatmates, but to what he describes as “the foreign desk of a national newspaper”. He does not name the media outlet, but it stands to reason – given his background and the fact that he does not name it – that it was a tabloid. My guess is that it was either the Daily Mirror or the Daily Mail, both of whom have been at the forefront of the witch-hunt. Their agenda, headlines that sell papers, and his, keep Meredith’s name alive, became fused on that day and have not parted ways since.

I am not the only person to recognize that celebrity seems to be at the heart of the Kerchers’ quest “for justice”. By John Kercher’s own admission, what really bugs him in all of this is the amount of publicity that Knox has received: “It’s all been about Knox” he complained to the Daily Mail (14 April, 2012).

It’s as if he wants someone else to suffer as he has suffered, because Meredith suffered. Why should another pretty young woman, his daughter’s age, get to live the rest of her life when Meredith’s was cut brutally short? Why should the newspapers be fascinated by Amanda when they should be focused on Meredith?

Actually, the reverse is true: the only reason anyone outside of the Kerchers’ immediate circle is even still talking about Meredith is precisely because of Amanda Knox. Without her, without Sollecito, the murder is banal, ordinary, and would have disappeared from the papers years ago.

John Kercher, from his own work experience in the tabloids, knows this. He knows that a story about a girl killed in a botched robbery, while tragic, is sadly nothing special. Newspapers, especially tabloids, thrive on the sensational, the shocking, the unusual. So the Kerchers need Amanda in order to “keep Meredith’s name alive”. Raffaele, practically ignored by them and the prosecution, is merely collateral damage: because he is Amanda’s alibi, necessarily he must be roped into the circle of guilt as well or the case against her falls apart.

I can imagine the warped emotional logic that has driven the Kercher family to persist in their ludicrous belief that three people, not one, killed their Meredith. It comes down to three central points.

1. If lovely Meredith must be killed so cruelly, let it at least be “the crime of the century”; let her have some kind of status in death that would reflect on her specialness as a person. To accept that there was nothing uncommon, nothing unique about her murder is somehow even more demoralizing.

2. The regard for Meredith as someone strong and special nurtures a desire to believe that she could have defended herself from a lone attacker. After all, as Mr. Kercher has somewhat pathetically pointed out, she was really good at judo. But anyone with unclouded reason knows that judo learned in a gym environment is no match for an experienced criminal with a knife. Especially when it’s a contest between a small female and a larger male.

3. Jealousy. If one of the female flatmates had to die that night, why couldn’t it have been one of the others? As Amanda has stated, she might have been at the flat that night as well in which case, she might also have died. Or perhaps together she and Meredith could have resisted Guede? Either way, the very continued existence of Amanda is an affront to the Kercher family. She has come to symbolize the life that goes on despite tragedy. Each year she gains in age represents another milestone that Meredith will never achieve and for this Amanda must be punished.

The Inconvenience of Raffaele

In all of this, as has been noted by other commentators, mention of Raffaele is weirdly lacking. He has been dragged into this and then barely even considered, by either the prosecution or the Kercher family. More than anything else, more than my lengthy perusal of the evidence, more than my sure instinct that Amanda Knox was not capable of committing a murder for which she had no motive, it has been the person of Raffaele Sollecito that has proven to me beyond a shadow of doubt that the prosecution case is totally empty. For all the machinations that have attempted to portray Knox as a she-devil, a pervert, a sociopathic killer, there has never been a single credible explanation for why this gentle and shy young guy, in the throes of first love, would have participated in the murder of his new girlfriend’s flatmate. It just doesn’t make any sense at all psychologically and when taken together with the fact that he would have had to levitate while wearing a full-body latex suit in order to leave no DNA behind, the conclusion of his innocence should be a foregone one.

Since the acquittal was overturned I have had a little correspondence with Raffaele, via Facebook, have read his book and communicated with his friends and found that his integrity and kindness are impossible to question. Throughout it all he has shown incredible strength, honour and compassion. If it were me, I would be filled with hatred for the Kercher family at this point; relatives of a girl I barely knew trying to destroy my life. But Sollecito has never displayed anything of the sort, instead he has reached out to them via the media, expressed his great sorrow for the family and even visited Meredith’s grave. He is a better human than I am.

It is my greatest hope that the verdict due later today will be the right one and that the Kerchers will finally accept the truth: their daughter died for nothing in an unexceptional act of senseless violence and they have been persecuting innocent people for years. I hope that they will finally see how wrong they’ve been and realize that Meredith, if she was half as nice as people say, would want her family to apologize to her friend Amanda, and Amanda’s friend Raffaele for hounding them in her name.

For Meredith Kercher’s memory is not served well by this debacle.

If the wrong verdict comes in then I only hope to high heaven that Raffaele left the country last night.


Resurrection Slightly Behind Schedule!

April 12, 2012


What with Easter just behind us and the Spring Equinox just before that, it seemed like a good moment to kick my own ass and get this blog back up and running. To my 7 loyal readers who have pined for my words during this lengthy silence I can only apologize and make the excuse that I was out of the country for two months at the beginning of the year and had to have foot surgery in Mexico. That saga will soon be forthcoming, complete with bloody pictures! But, nitpicks the inner critic, that excuse only takes us back to the beginning of the year. The last blog post was for the Knox-Sollecito acquittal of last October. Well, um, I got busy and then a few days became a couple weeks and then I didn’t know where to begin and then there was that whole Christmas thing and, well, after that we’re into January, Mexico and the foot. There, satisfied! Like you care anyway!

I have lots of stories and pictures to share of my somewhat disaster-prone adventures of the last few months and will be doing so in coming days! In all truthfulness, many terrible things have occurred but I find that when I tell others of all the awful things that happen to me, in hopes of receiving sympathy or cash donations, these friends are frequently to be glimpsed stuffing rags into their mouths in efforts to suppress the apparent hilarity that my tribulations induce in the listener. So perhaps hearing about my rotten luck can brighten your day and put a smile on your face. If so, it’s well worth it.

I had to start somewhere and although this is not really a proper post at all, it is at least dated April 12, 2012. Thus, tomorrow, I will feel less pressured to close the enormous 4+ month gap (I just couldn’t bring myself to type “5 month gap”) and this will have the perverse effect of inducing me to make another post. And then the day after that, another one!

I was never a daily blogger (I know, that’s supposed to be the point, shut up) but now I WILL BE.

For at least one week anyway. So that someone just looking at my bog, I mean blog, will see several recent entries close together and not think I’m the sort of person who just lets their blog sit there corroding for 4+ months, like some kind of electronic barnacle.

Also, I think it is apt that this is the first entry since the righteous acquittal of Knox and Sollecito because they’ve been back in the news again, due to both of them signing book deals.

Naturally, some haters out there begrudge this maliciously wronged pair the right to profit from their ordeal, conveniently overlooking the enormous financial costs their families endured and the emotional hardship for which they’ve not been compensated.

What is wrong with some people?

A couple of days ago some total cretin of a guy wrote me an abusive email in which he called me a silly bitch and then stuck in at the end that Knox was definitely guilty and it was a travesty of justice that she got out. As if he thought this would get my goat; as if his uninformed opinion would bother me!

Actually, it did bother me.

But not for the reason he obviously hoped; I did not feel personally attacked or insulted and had absolutely no inclination to bother to set him straight. No, what bothered me was that he (a yobbish English guy, guessing from the one time we spoke on the phone) felt justified in even having an opinion on the matter, when that opinion had doubtless been formed by the types of newspapers that used to be more suitably employed as ad hoc packaging for fishmongers (before Health & Safety put a stop to the ancient practice).

To be falsely accused is horrible. I know because it’s happened to me. To be falsely convicted and imprisoned for years for a horrific act one is completely incapable of performing must be one of the most agonizing of all human experiences. The injustice of having to read the nastified depiction of one’s character by sleazy tabloid hacks; the distortion of one’s life and thoughts into something hideously unrecognizable; one’s personal and private actions and holiday photos turned into condemnations by the black arts of gutter journalism…it’s almost unthinkable how a person could stay strong through something like that.

Yet Amanda and Rafaele were both model prisoners by all accounts. Amanda never got into a single argument with guards or fellow prisoners in 4 years and when she left, the 600 inmates crowded the tiny windows of the prison waving banners for her and shouting with joy that someone who deserved to be free was going free. Witnesses said it was like seeing a football star walk out onto the pitch only with 10 times the emotion. To win the love of 600 people in a prison one should never have been in is an impressive testament to the fundamentally good nature of this accidental cover-girl.

With all that in mind, it makes me sad that guys like Arsepus (sorry, I know that’s childish but I can’t put his real name and that is close enough), guys like Arsepus – who probably devoted 40 minutes of his entire life reading about the case in one of those rags that have topless chicks on page 3 – can feel so confident in voicing their stupid conviction that the guilty have been freed.

It made me wonder if other creeps out there were still banging on in that vein so I looked on the web and was disheartened to see that the sick and pathetic websites insisting on Knox and Sollecito’s guilt are still up and running with plenty of new entries. Plenty of idiots here in the UK, including (sorry to have to say it) the victim’s family are still refusing to accept the truth: that Kercher’s murder was mundane.

It wasn’t the sensational stuff of best-selling crime novels. There was no satanic orgy, no threesome, no pretty American student hiding homicidal urges behind a winning smile, no shy Italian student with a secret knife-fetish, nothing but an embarrasingly politically incorrect scenario of a robbery/rape/murder committed by a guy of African descent. Those stories don’t grab headlines for long.

Sorry, but that’s the truth. Move along people. Nothing to see here.

To me it seems like the Kercher’s oft-expressed desire “not to let Meredith be forgotten” has gotten the better of their judgment and they’ve decided to keep her name alive by any means necessary. Even if that means ignoring the boring facts and backing the salacious fantasy that kept the story on the front page.

I don’t know what’s in it for the trolls who have jumped on their bandwagon though; I guess the same thing that motivates all trolls – increasing pain for people already in it.

Some say I shouldn’t criticize the Kercher family, that their loss puts them above reproach. To that I say bullshit. All it would take to shut up the trolls would be a statement from them that they accept the acquittal was correct, that they know Knox and Sollecito had nothing to do with it, that they were misled by an insane prosecutor.

But they haven’t. They were clearly hoping for Knox and Sollecito to lose their appeal and have backed the deranged Mignini from the beginning.

As someone who spent hundreds of hours wading through the published evidence, I am really looking forward to both forthcoming books. In particular it will be fascinating to finally learn more about Sollecito, whose wrongful conviction and ordeal were practically overlooked, even though his possible connection to the crime was even more wispily tenuous than Knox’s. His was a quiet but strong presence throughout and I for one can’t wait to finally get to read his side of the story. Amanda’s prison diaries will also be a fascinating read.

They both deserve their multi-million dollar book deals and only a troll would deny them a compensation that goes nowhere to restoring the 4 years they already lost and the lifetime of compromised privacy which faces them now.

See you tomorrow!

Justice at Long, Long LAST!

October 4, 2011

Amanda and Raffaele are finally free. I’ll do an analysis later, but this is just to show a picture of me and my Mum in our T-shirts we made today, going on Brighton beach and snapping a photo anticipating victory, a couple hours before the verdict.

I know I’m behind schedule on finishing my retrospective of September 2001 and was supposed to get to the bit where I get arrested (September 18), but it’s still gestating. I definitely will continue the tale in a few days.

Meanwhile this is happening now. And the exoneration of Knox and Sollecito makes me reflect on my own experience again and in a new way as well, so perhaps it’s good I still haven’t quite gotten round to writing that part of the story yet.

By the way – ignore the date stamp on the photo. I had literally rushed out and bought the camera moments before the shops shut so I could take this picture, as my Olympus is being fixed and my mobile was being a bastard and wouldn’t hold a charge so I couldn’t use its camera feature! Pressed for time, I didn’t bother to set the date.

Free before the next sunrise