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Manipulation in the name of a murdered girl

I have never liked being manipulated. And there is something about what we are being told right now that makes me feel that we are, and by people who are themselves making the accusation of manipulation. I am referring, you may think insensitively, to some family members of a poor girl who was violated and stabbed to death in Perugia, Italy, four years ago almost to the day.

Well, can you get more outrageous than attacking in print the father of a murdered girl? How dare I write this, when one’s first thought should be for the girl’s loved ones? My sympathies should surely lie entirely with her family? For alas, however you look at it, the girl herself is no more. Like all of us in the fullness of time, she is but the memory of those who knew and loved her. The family remains, and for them the shock and horror will always stay. None of us can control the means of our passing, but for most it will at least be natural. In this case it was violent, brutal, and grossly premature, so how come four years later I feel uncomfortable with being asked for my unqualified sympathy for the bereaved?

Well, it has something to do with who they believe committed the crime.

This is no ordinary case, because it contains within it another complicated case of two people still living, namely the girl’s falsely accused flatmate, and her flatmate’s boyfriend. There is (in heavy parenthesis) also a disturbed Ivorian man whom circumstances had forced into petty crimes and break-ins, who evidence indicates was both there and did it. A case that could be clinched one way or the other by checking the DNA in semen on the cushion on which the poor murdered girl’s body was found.

The murdered girl is of course Meredith Kercher, her flatmate American Amanda Knox, the erstwhile boyfriend Italian Raffaele Sollecito; and the Ivorian, Rudy Guede. And in case you have missed it, as the result of an unprecedented and detailed Appeal, Amanda and Raffaele one month ago were pronounced by the Court NOT GUILTY BECAUSE THEY ARE INNOCENT OF THE CRIME. That means not guilty because they did not do it! This conclusion has been made after a painstaking review of the evidence, by an independent Court that restudied evidence deemed crucial in the first trial, after the two had been locked up for four years.

Now to hypocrisy and manipulation. This murder took place on the night AFTER Hallow’een in 2007. Meredith herself that year had gone to a Hallow’een party dressed as a gory Count Dracula, fake blood and all, as a piece of innocent fun. Unfortunately the following night, in a burglary that went wrong, she was murdered by Rudy Guede, who is now the only person convicted of the crime, and of whom evidence was literally all over the crime scene. Very sad, for the girl whose life was cut short, and of course for family and friends, but under normal circumstances four years later the family might be over the worst of their grief and shock.

Unfortunately these are not normal circumstances. In Italian criminal trials a civil trial often runs in parallel. It does seem extraordinary, but almost always the civil suit follows exactly the theories of the prosecution. In the case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, the civil case brought in the name of the Kerchers was used ruthlessly to strengthen the case for the prosecution brought by a locally all-powerful Public Prosecutor with a predeliction to preferring satanic theories to evidence. ‘Evidence’ deemed inadmissable by the High Court for the criminal trial was allowed for the civil trial, in front of the same judges and jury! Throughout, and especially since December 2009, (the date of the initial conviction), the Kerchers and especially Meredith’s father, tabloid journalist John Kercher, have been open advocates of the guilty verdict. Kercher has even argued repeatedly in print that the Appeal Court had no business questioning some of the evidence and the motivation report for the initial trial. (In fact it would be hard to distinguish at times between Kercher’s arguments and those of some of the more extreme anonymous blogsters, such as the notorious and repetitive Harry Rag).

John Kercher on behalf of the family has continued in similar vein since Amanda and Raffaele were declared innocent and freed by a jury of two judges and six lay people this October 3rd. The latest protestation is at Amanda Knox’s simple and innocent ‘dress’ on Hallow’een in Seattle, when she had a twirly moustache and small beard drawn in ink on her face and wore a black woolen hat. The supposed ‘cat burglar’ outfit, perceived improbably as a reference to a breaker-in was said by the Kerchers to be insensitive to Meredith, who was in any case murdered not on Hallow’een itself, but the night after. 

One would think that Amanda choosing, after for years of hell in an Italian prison for a crime she didn’t do, might reasonably go to a Hallow’een party dressed as pretty much whatever she wanted. I agree that going as a blacked up burglar, or even going as Count Dracula, could be described as in bad taste, but whatever she went as looked to me totally inoffensive!

So let us examine who is really not respecting the memory of Meredith.
 John Kercher might do better to direct his wrath against someone who has repeatedly offended his daughter’s memory. That is his smooth talking Italian lawyer Francesco Maresca, who has consistently led him down the wrong path. Far from trying to find out what the truth of Meredith’s murder really was, he has been persistently biased and obstructive, and concentrated all the family’s emotional firepower on Amanda Knox.

Thus Maresca blocked Amanda when, as was her right, she tried to question Rudy Guede in Court this Summer. Maresca actively blocked the examination of DNA in semen stains on the cushion on which Meredith’s lifeless body lay. You would think, since sperm are pretty well concentrated male DNA, that this would be important if the Kerchers really wanted to find out whether Guede acted alone! But no, it seems their lawyer, on their behalf, doesn’t want to know. Finally, in the most outrageous example of insensitivity and prejudicial reasoning I have ever witnessed, this same Maresca, arguing for their conviction to be upheld at the end of the Appeal, in open Court showed repeatedly a macabre loop of Meredith’s stabbed and lifeless naked body, in front of members of the public such as myself. The message seemed to be that no one man could achieve this on his own without assistance, He furthermore referred to over 40 wounds, whereas she died from three stab wounds in the neck, all by the same small knife. The rest were bruises, and some defensive wounds on her hand as she tried to fight off her attacker.

Amanda and Raffaele were even roundly criticised by the Prosecution and Maresca for refusing to look at these images! The Kerchers have been very critical of the insensitivity of the Sollecito family for passing copies of what must be the same photos to a TV station in Bari, and I believe are suing them. So you would think, wouldn’t you, that they would be up in arms over the above outrage perpetrated by their lawyer in their name? Or did John Kercher actually approve it?

The Kercher family would do well to stop hounding two young people who the Court has ruled had nothing to do with Meredith’s tragic death. And if they wish to help us honour her memory they might now mark her grave in Croydon Cemetary with something more dignified than a temporary plastic marker.