Amanda Knox is in the media spotlight once again as her memoir “Waiting to be Heard” is due to hit shelves in the US on April 30th and it details the “tough” times she had in prison. No doubt this lucrative book deal will be followed by interview after interview and we’ll hear about the terrible and horrific ordeal she has been through. There is just one small detail Knox seems to forget though. She is not the victim here. The victim is the beautiful British student, Meredith Kercher, who was sexually assaulted and who had her throat slashed in her apartment in Perugia, Italy in 2007.
From the very beginning, I’ve always felt something was not quite right about Amanda Knox. Seattle born Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher. In a dramatic turn of events, their convictions were overturned and a re-Trial has been ordered. It was a case that shocked the world. Not only was the victim beautiful and young but the manner in which she died was so barbaric and it has still not been established exactly what happened to Meredith. Here we’ll take a look at what we know so far while we await the re-Trial in Italy:
Meredith was a smart and determined young woman. She fought hard for her place at University and settled on Perugia as part of an exchange programme for a year. She chose the house on the hill because of the fantastic views. The house had been split into two apartments. Her room was part of a four bed apartment and two Italian girls, Laura and Filomena, lived there. The fourth room had not been rented out when Meredith moved in. The two girls loved Meredith. She was meticulous, reliable and loyal. She quickly made friends with fellow British students, Sophie, Amy and Robyn and was known for her bubbly personality and her kind nature. The fourth room was rented by an American by the name of Amanda Knox.
Knox was very different to Meredith. Knox was the sort of girl who acted like she was “one of the guys” yet was fiercely jealous of other girls. She needed to be the centre of attention at all times and craved constant attention. Her jealousy was evident soon after she moved to Perugia. When she went out with Meredith’s friends she hated when they got more attention. The girls , including Meredith, found her to be quite annoying as she was so loud and too much of an extrovert. She had an obsessive personality. When Laura, her flatmate, got eight piercings in one ear and three in the other, Knox got the exact same. Knox had arrived in Perugia earlier than expected. She got an internship at the Berlin Parliament through family connections and left after only two days. This was typical behaviour for Knox. She looked out for herself yet was in competition with every woman.
Knox got a job in Le Chic, a bar run by Patrick Lumumba. She worked as a waitress there but he demoted her to handing out leaflets as she wasn’t good at her job. In fact, he was so taken by Meredith’s beauty and charm that he offered her a job but she didn’t seem interested.
Meredith tried hard to include Knox in her group of friends but was annoyed by some of the things Knox did, so much so that she told her sister that she fought with Knox the last week in October but did not tell her what the fight was about.
Meredith’s last night
On the morning of the 2nd of November, Knox rang Filomena to tell her that something was not right in the apartment as the front door was open, there was blood on the light switch and blood in the bathroom. Filomena and Laura were away for the weekend and Meredith and Knox were the only ones left in the apartment. Knox told Filomena she had spent the night with Raffaele in his house and had gone back to the apartment that morning for a shower. Despite seeing the front door open and blood in the bathroom, she had a shower anyway and went back to Raffaele’s house. It was then she decided to call Filomena.
Filomena urged Knox to call the police as she was worried that nobody had heard from Meredith and there may have been a burglary. Filomena had been out with her boyfriend, a friend and her friend’s boyfriend. They all returned to the apartment and the police arrived. After a quick search of the apartment, it was noted that the window in Filomena’s bedroom was broken but none of her belongings had been taken. Nothing seemed to be missing from the apartment but rather strangely Meredith’s bedroom was locked. Knox said this was normal but Filomena quickly dismissed this telling police that she had only locked it when she returned to London. Filomena asked her boyfriend and her friend’s boyfriend to knock it down. The room looked like a scene from a horror movie. There was blood everywhere and a foot was visible from under a duvet. The girls were crying and screaming and the two men had to go outside to be sick. Knox on the other hand was just standing in the sitting room with something of a dazed expression. She went outside with Raffaele and they kissed and cuddled. Meredith’s body had been covered with her duvet. Her throat had been slashed and there were cuts , marks and bruises all over her body.
What happened to Meredith
Autopsy results showed Meredith had died from cardio-respiratory failure due to asphyxiation caused by an attempt to strangle her and a subsequent haemorrhage from the biggest wound on her neck. As the wound did not touch the carotid artery it would have taken several minutes for Meredith to die. Along with knife wounds, cuts and bruises, there were bite marks on her tongue and bruises inside her lips and nostrils consistent with someone who had clamped their hand over her mouth.
Meredith’s roommates, friends, Knox and Raffaele were all questioned by police. Her friends were all in shock and deeply traumatised by what had happened. They were appalled by Knox’s actions at the station. She was chatting and joking and sitting on Raffaele’s lap. She did yoga moves and cartwheels and she even complained about being questioned too much.
Due to the injuries and the actual position of the injuries, the police were looking for more than one person in relation to the murder. The break in was suspicious in the sense that nothing was taken. Meredith’s cell phones had been recovered from a neighbour’s garden. Also Meredith’s room was locked. Due to how the glass was scattered in Filomena’s room, there was also a question mark over whether or not the window had been broken from the inside. If this was the case, it seemed more likely that Meredith was killed by someone she knew.
Police began to focus on Knox for answers as she was the first one at the scene and quite frankly her version of events just didn’t seem to make sense. She had said she spent the night with Raffaele yet could not remember exactly what they did as they smoked marijuana yet she could remember seeing blood on his hand from the fish he was preparing.
Raffaele was a lot quieter than Knox. He was not the extrovert that she was. He was very much shielded from the world as a child. However even though he was described as a quiet guy, he seemed to have a dark side. He collected knives as a hobby and always carried one at all times. His father was wealthy and gave him an allowance so he wore designer clothes and drove an Audi A3. He loved horror films and Japanese manga and had a particular fetish for violent porn DVDs. When police searched his home, they got a strong smell of bleach and took one large knife as evidence. They found comics, a mix of porn and horror. One of the stories was about a task to kill a vampire and the other one showed a picture of a murdered woman in a position similar to the one in which Meredith had been.
There were a couple of other details that didn’t make sense. Phone records showed that Knox and Raffaele’s phones were inactive on the night of the murder from 8.35pm when they had been switched off. They were usually on late into the night.
Police found three of Knox’s diaries. The last pages of the diary from early October onwards had been ripped out. The owner of a shop also claimed that Knox and Raffaele had bought bleach the morning after Meredith’s murder.
Knox was repeatedly asked questions by police. She eventually broke down crying hysterically and told police that Patrick Lumumba killed Meredith. Lumumba was her boss at the bar she worked at, Le Chic. She put her hands up to her head and over her ears and was hunched over crying. She was chanting “It’s him, it’s him, I can hear it, he did it” through tears. She said that Lumumba had sex with Meredith and then killed her. She could still hear the screams. Lumumba was arrested.
Now that police had Lumumba in custody, they felt more compelled to keep Knox and Raffaele there. In fact , if they were to believe Knox’s version of events, she had put herself at the scene. All this resulted in the arrest of Knox and Raffaele.
It soon became clear however that Lumumba was not involved in Meredith’s murder. He had an alibi. Knox had made the whole thing up.
Lumumba was released but DNA tests revealed there was another person who had been in Meredith’s room. It was eventually traced to Rudy Guede. Rudy was a young man from the Ivory Coast. He had been abandoned by his mother and was eventually fostered by a wealthy Italian family. He met Knox at Le Chic and had fancied her and asked people if she had a boyfriend. He also met Meredith through the guys that lived in the apartment downstairs. Six days before Meredith’s murder, Rudy had been detained in kindergarten for attempted robbery. He was found in possession of a stolen laptop, cell phone and had a knife and hammer.
Rudy admitted he knew Meredith. He had said he met her at a Halloween party and they had arranged to meet up. At her apartment, they were kissing and talking. She was complaining about a fight she had with Knox and referred to her as a “drug addict”. He said that when he went to the bathroom, he had his head phones on but heard screams and when he came out he saw Knox and a man with chestnut hair running away. Meredith was dying and he tried to save her. His version of events did not add up but they did place Knox and a man fitting Sollecito’s description at the scene.
Knox’s DNA was found on the knife that was taken from Raffaele’s apartment. Some 46 days after the murder Meredith’s bra clasp was found and DNA traces of Meredith and Raffaele were found on the clasp. The floor was sprayed with luminol. Luminol is a chemical that gives striking blue glow when it reacts with iron in red blood cells and bleach. It showed four bare footprints all stained with blood. It was the break police had been waiting for. They had DNA evidence that connected Rudy Guede, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito to the murder of Meredith Kercher.
Rudy opted for a fast track Trial. He was found guilty of the sexual assault and murder of Meredith. Judge Micheli found that “several” attackers had agreed a plan to satisfy their sexual instincts but had failed in their plan due to Meredith’s loud screams and had killed her. He felt that Rudy did not deliver the fatal blow. So if it wasn’t Rudy who administered the fatal blow, who was it?
The Trial of Knox and Raffaele was a different Trial completely. Everyone was interested in the American or rather “Foxy Knoxy” as she was referred to. She was pretty, young, loved sex and was a possible murderer, a femme fatale by all accounts. Her family hired a PR Adviser so she was never out of the media spotlight. During the Trial all eyes were on Foxy Knoxy. Raffaele was almost an afterthought.
Her stepdad described Knox as a naive young girl but that was certainly not the image she portrayed of herself in Court. On the first day of Trial, she was chatty, joking, laughing and smiling. She knew all eyes were on her and loved it. Her performance for the cameras didn’t end there. On Valentine’s day she wore a tshirt with the slogan “All you need is Love”!
It was a Trial that made headlines daily. The Trial exposed mistakes made by police, especially in relation to the bra clasp and the fact it took so long for it to be found. Nevertheless, Knox and Raffaele were found guilty of Meredith’s murder and were handed down sentences of 26 and 25 years respectively.
On Appeal, it was put forward that Knox had been pressured to make compromising statements and DNA evidence was poorly handled. It would be unsafe to leave them in Court based on the evidence before the Court. Convictions were overturned and Knox was on the first flight home. Rudy appealed his conviction. It was upheld but he got a lesser sentence. The Court again agreed that he was not acting alone.
Will there be justice for Meredith?
Italy’s highest Court have ordered a re-Trial for Knox and Raffaele. It is important to note that two days after Knox and Raffaele’s convictions were overturned, Judge Pratillo Hellman told Italian radio that they may have murdered Meredith, it was just that the evidence was not before the Court. The amount of blunders in the case may have cost Meredith’s family the chance of ever achieving true justice. Opinion is divided as to whether Knox and Raffaele are guilty. I don’t know, I wasn’t there. I can only go on what is before me. If there is a question mark over the DNA, there are still many Trials that are based on circumstantial evidence alone and there was quite a lot in the Knox and Raffaele case. Firstly, it never made sense to me that Knox would have a shower after she found the door open and blood inside the apartment. Even if Knox wasn’t afraid for her own safety, surely she should have checked if Meredith was ok especially as she knew Meredith was alone. I also thought it was really strange that she told police that Raffaele cut his hand when preparing fish. It almost seemed like she wanted to have an explanation for why his blood was on the knife. There were many other things that I thought seemed strange, namely the bleach and the phones switched off and the fact she ripped out the pages from October from her diary. While some of these can be explained away or brushed off as coincidence, we must not forget that Knox accused an innocent man of killing Meredith. Why would an innocent person do that?
Some people have said that it is a possibility that Rudy Guede may have acted alone. Perhaps it is but Meredith had over 40 wounds on her body and the Court that heard Rudy’s Trial and the Court that heard his appeal both said that there were “several” attackers. If they reached that conclusion based on the evidence in front of them and if Knox and Raffaele are innocent, then who else was in the room?
Unfortunately the sad truth is that all the unanswered questions may never be answered or explained. The next step is the re-Trial which seems too little too late. If Knox is convicted it is very unlikely that the US will extradite her but at least a re-Trial may be able to give some closure. During the course of the original Trial I tried to keep an open mind but there was something about Knox’s eyes that were hiding something. If eyes really are the windows to our soul then Knox’s soul is as dark as they come. If innocent of murder, she is still guilty of lying and is cold-hearted and callous and has no compassion for other human beings. So while I’m interested in reading books about different Trials generally, I refuse to purchase Knox’s new book. To make money from such a tragic incident is typical of the Knox who loved the spotlight from the moment she was first arrested. Hopefully one day she will realise that Meredith and Meredith’s family are the real victims.
UPDATE: Sollecito and Know were once again found guilty. They can appeal that decision. It is very unlikely that the US will extradite Knox even if the guilty verdict is upheld.
Read about another case Nicola Furlong here