PictureMeredith with her father, John
Today saw an astonishing development in the Meredith Kercher murder case, and this time it was not in the courtroom. Amanda Knox, 26, who has refused to attend her appeal trial, currently on-going in Florence, Italy, admitted on her personal blog site that she was previously responsible for a distressing fake burglary against her own housemates in circumstances eerily foreshadowing an important part of the wider case against her for sexually aggravated murder.

­­As well as the murder, Knox has always been charged with faking a burglary at the scene of the murder in Perugia, Italy, an act the prosecution allege was intended to obscure the true perpetrators of the crime whom they say were Knox, her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede.

Amanda Knox has admitted on her personal blog for the first time that she had previously been involved in a ‘staged robbery’ during her time at the University of Washington. She admitted that the hazing prank, played on her flat-mates at the University of Washington, involved messing up the flat and hiding things to make it appear as if items had been stolen. Knox used "mutual friends" of her other housemates to help fake the burglary in her own premises. She acknowledges that it caused "distress" to her housemates and she and her accomplices had to apologise for the act. She does not disclose, however, what exactly happened or the full role of the "mutual friends".

Picture'Scene of the staged burglary'
In the Meredith Kercher case, the police and prosecution have alleged for years that Knox, Sollecito and Guede staged a fake burglary in her own cottage in Perugia, which she shared with Meredith and two other women to cover up evidence of the murder. The cottage was also ‘messed up’, but police and witnesses independently noted glass was found on top of tossed clothes and belongings in the cottage, suggesting that a window had been broken after the rooms were ransacked. No glass was found on the ground outside the window, which the prosecution believe disproves that the murder was as a result of a ‘burglary gone wrong’.

Rudy Guede’s stated in his testimony that on the night of the murder, Meredith Kercher was angered and upset to find that 300 euros was missing from her bedside table, leading to an argument with Knox which escalated.

Rumours of the hazing prank have been around for years, after a former acquaintance of Knox’s let the story slip, just a month after her arrest. On being pressed for details, the informant clammed up, and the incident has subsequently been vociferously denied by members of Knox’s family and her supporters. Meanwhile her defence have made repeated references to Rudy Guede’s past actions as character evidence against him.

Picture'Knox's blog entry'
The startlingly frank admission by Knox should also be seen in conjunction with the ticket she received for hosting a riotous party at the University of Washington. The party got out of hand, and guests were reported to the police for throwing rocks at passers-by. A picture begins to emerge of a woman who, prior to the crime in Perugia, was not risk-averse, was responsible for anti-social behaviour, and for causing upset and distress to her flatmates. The hazing confession, had it been made before the trial, may have been used as evidence of ‘prior acts of misconduct’. Indeed, the rock throwing party was brought up in the trial as evidence against Knox’s character.

Yesterday’s revelations will come as no surprise to case-watchers. Her decision to stay away from the appeal hearing in Florence was widely seen as an ‘own goal’, and her emailed plea to the court clearly irritated the judge. In it, she suggested that the court would be unable to remain neutral in deciding her fate – a move not designed to curry favour with the judiciary. Whether her latest admission makes an impact on the current hearing remains to be seen.

Picture'Broken glass present on the sill but not on the ground outside'
At the appeal hearing in Florence on Thursday, Raffaele Sollecito’s defence lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, waved a large knife in front of the jury, in an effort to convince them that it could not have been the murder weapon. Whilst this may play well to the gallery, it did not appear to impress the judge. After seven years of protesting her client’s innocence there appears to be little new, legally, that Bongiorno can bring to the table.

Meanwhile, back in Seattle, Knox has yet again reiterated her desire to speak with the Kerchers, despite the grieving family’s numerous rejections of her approaches. The Kerchers, whose stoicism and grace in the face of the trial has impressed observers around the world, have not commented on her latest request. Meredith’s sister Stephanie, who was named Cosmopolitan’s Woman of the Year in 2012, showed typical composure when she was forced to speak out in response to Knox’s macabre July request to be taken to Meredith’s grave by the family, for her personal ‘closure’. Stephanie responded, “Her grave is now the safest place for her, she can rest in peace and be with us. I hope that is respected by everybody.”

Amanda Knox caused further distress to Meredith’s family last month by setting up a personal website with a ‘memorial’ page dedicated to Ms Kercher, using family photos of Meredith, without their permission. The Kercher’s lawyer stated that the site had distressed the family, and asked that the ‘donations’ button in support of Meredith be removed, a request that Knox initially refused, unless she heard the request from them personally. On Thursday, Knox told Italian newspaper La Repubblica,  ’I want to speak to them. I want to tell them I had nothing to do with Meredith's death”. This latest request can only cause further pain to Meredith’s parents, who are both suffering from ill-health at present.

The verdict is expected on January 30. It should be noted that the US rule of double jeopardy do not apply in this case. The hearing in Florence is not a re-trial, but an appeal against the original conviction for murder.

Ivorian Rudy Guede, 27, is currently serving a 16-year-prison sentence for the murder and sexual assault of Meredith Kercher in November 2007, but is eligible for parole next year.

For a guide to the evidence, translated primary documents and court testimonies, visit http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com

(C) Steven Wentworth



B. McPherson
01/10/2014 12:22pm

Such a bizarre and tragic story. ... and getting more so with each new detail.


Leave a Reply