Monday, November 22, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report: Motive In The Meredith Kercher Case And Its Addressing In The Report DRAFT

Posted by James Raper

superceded by revised post 12 april 2011

I have read the Massei Report which in the main I thought was excellent. He was incisive with his logic, particularly, though not exclusively, with regard to the staging of the break in and how that necessarily meant that Amanda was present at the scene when the murder was committed.

However, I thought that he was rather feeble in his coverage of the defendants’ motives as to the attack which led to this brutal murder. Perhaps he thought it better to stick with the indisputable evidence.

Since this pointed to a sex attack, he surmised that Guede had a go at Meredith first, and then - because the stimulation was too much for them - he was joined by Amanda and Raffaele. This works but does seem a bit weak. There were, to my mind, undoubtedly other factors at work, and it is these which I wish to address.

For instance, Massei asks, though he says we can not know, had Amanda egged Guede on as to the “availability” (my word, not his) of Meredith during or prior to their presence at the cottage?

Frankly the answer to that has to be “yes” since it is a bit difficult to figure out why Amanda and Raffaele would otherwise wish Guede to join them at the cottage. I doubt that Amanda and Raffaele would have wanted Guede around if they were just going there to have an innocent cuddle and sex and to smoke cannabis, as Massei implies.

The evidence is that Raffaele hardly knew Guede and in the presence of Amanda was very possessive about her. If he had known of Guede’s interest in Amanda he would have been even less keen to have Guede around.

Also, if all was so innocent beforehand, then why would Guede have tried it on with Meredith and then pressed the situation in the face of her refusal to co-operate, knowing that there were two others there who could have come to her assistance?

The answer is of course that Guede knew full well in advance that there would be no problem with Amanda and Raffaele. He had been invited there and primed to act precisely in the way he did, at least initially. Why? Well there is plenty of evidence as to why Amanda, in her mind, may have been looking for payback time on Meredith. Come to that later.

What does not get much attention in the Massei Report, other than a terse Not Guilty at the end, is the matter of Meredith’s missing rent money and credit cards and whether Amanda and Raffaele stole them.

It is as if the Judge (well, the jury really) felt that this was a trivial issue that brought nothing much to the case and thus it was not necessary to give it much attention. And indeed there is no summation of or evaluation of that evidence.

Now that does surprise me. Of course there may have been some technical flaw with the charge and the evidence. But in the absence of any comment on this then we do not know what that may be. What I do know is that the matter, if proven, is not trivial.

A theft significantly ups the stakes for Amanda and Raffaelle just prior to the murder and produces a dynamic, which, threaded together with a sexual assault, makes for a far more compelling scenario to murder.

It also leads one to conclude that there was a greater degree of premeditation involved : not premeditation to murder but as to an assault, rather than the more spontaneous ” let’s get involved” at the time of the sex attack as postulated by Massei. An Italian lawyer could tell us whether this would have added extra time on to their sentence. It is worthy of consideration.

What is the evidence? What evidence was before the court? I do not have access to trial records, only what I have read about the case in the book “Darkness Descending” and on the True Justice for Meredith website. Therefore I stand to be corrected if I misrepresent the evidence or if my interpretation of it does not met the test of logic.

There were two lay witnesses who were compelling in the trial. The first was Filomena Romanelli, the flatmate and trainee lawyer. If there was anyone who was going to ensure that the rent was paid on time, it would have been her.

She gave evidence that the rent being due very soon she asked Meredith about her contribution of 300 euros and was told by Meredith that all was OK because she had just withdrawn 200 euros from her bank. Filomena assumed from Meredith’s reply that the balance was already to hand.

Is there a problem with this evidence? Is it hearsay and thus inadmissible under Italian law?

Perhaps it is not enough by itself because of course had Meredith not in fact withdrawn the money from her bank, or sufficient funds to cover the stated amount, then that would be a fatal blow to that part of the theft charge. Her bank manager was summoned to give evidence, essentially to corroborate or disprove Filomena’s testimony.

I do not know what exactly that evidence was. One would assume that at the very least it did not disprove her testimony. Had it done so that would, as I have said, been fatal. It is also unbelievable that Massei would have overlooked this in the Report. I am assuming that Meredith did not tell a white lie and that the bank records corroberate this.

There may of course be an issue of timing as I understand that the bank manager told the court that transactions at a cash machine are not necessarily entered on the customer account the same day . However that does not seem to me to be significant.

One must also think that the bank manager was asked what other cash withdrawals had been made if the credit cards were taken at the same time as the money. I understand that there is of course a caveat here: my assumptions in the absence of knowing exactly what the bank manager’s evidence was.

It would be useful also to know how and when the rent was normally paid. It sounds as if it was cash on the day the landlord came to collect.

We do know that the police did not find any money or Meredith”˜s credit cards. Had Meredith, a sensible girl, blown next month’s rent on a Halloween binge? Unlikely. So somebody stole it. Again, just as with the fake break in, when according to Amanda and Raffaele nothing was stolen, who and only who had access to the cottage to steal the money? Yes, you have guessed it. Amanda, of course.

Does the matter of missing rent money figure anywhere else? There is the evidence of Meredith’s phone records which show that she rang her bank late on the evening of her murder just prior to the arrival of Amanda, Raffaele and Guede.

Why did she do this? What do you think? What is the first thing you do when you discover that your credit cards are missing? Obviously have a good look round. Then you ring your bank to put a stop on them. It may have been that she was not actually able to do that at that time of night. But worthy of further investigation.

The missing money also figured in the separate trial of Guede. He made a statement which formed the whole basis of his defence. Basically this was that he had an appointment with Meredith at the cottage, had consensual foreplay with her and was on the toilet when he heard the doorbell ring etc, etc.

What he also added was that just before all this Meredith was upset because her rent money had disappeared and that they had both searched for it with particular attention to Amanda’s room. Now why does Guede mention this? Remember this is his defence. Alibi is not quite the right word. He had plenty of time to think about it or something better.

His defence was moulded around (apart from lies) (1) facts he knew the police would have ie no point denying that he was there or that he had sexual contact with Meredith : his biological traces had been left behind, and (2) facts known to him and not to the police at that stage ie the money, which he could use to make his statement as a whole more credible, whilst at the same time giving the police a lead. He is shifting the focus, if the police were to follow it up, on to the person he must have been blaming for his predicament, Amanda.

If all three, Amanda, Raffaele and Guede, went to the cottage together, as Massei has it, then Guede learns about the missing rent money not as referred to in his statement but because Meredith has already discovered the theft and worked out who has had it and challenges Amanda over it when the three arrive.

Perhaps this is when Guede goes to the toilet and listens to music on his Ipod. After all he is just there for the sex and this is all a distraction.

I expect, however, that Guede’s “evidence” was not a factor in the jury’s consideration. Neither Guede’s lawyers nor those for Amanda and Raffaele wanted Guede to testify at the trial, for obvious reasons Without Guede testifying his statement would have been objectionable if not inadmissable.

I would have thought, though, that the prosecution could have brought him in as a witness, with the agreement of the judge, to testify as to the missing rent money only. Guede and his lawyers might well have agreed to this on the basis that such limited questioning would not have incriminated him further and might well have had a beneficial effect in his appeal. Convicted criminals often give evidence in court. What weight is attached to the evidence of a convicted criminal is a matter for the jury.

As the prosecution have appealed Amanda’s and Raffaele’s sentences, asking for lengthier terms, could they produce Guede now? I don’t know.

When were the money and credit cards stolen? According to Amanda and Raffaele they spent Halloween together at Raffaele’s and the next day went to the cottage. Meredith was there. Meredith left at about 1pm to spend the evening with her friends and Amanda and Raffaele left at about 3pm.

This is according to Amanda and Raffaele of course but probably likely because if the money had already been stolen Meredith may likely have known with different consequences for everyone. So Amanda and Raffaele could have stolen the money and credit cards after she left - the day of her murder.

Incidentally Filomena testified that Meredith never locked the door to her room except on the occasions she went home to England. Meredith was a very trusting girl.

What motive had Amanda for wanting the money apart from the obvious one of profit? There are numerous plausible motives.

To fund a growing drugs habit which she shared with Raffaele? Not an inconsiderable expense for a student. Both Amanda and Raffaele explained their confusion and hesitancy as being due to the fact that they had been going rather hard on drugs.

To embarrass Meredith vis a vis her landlord and the other flatmates? Because Amanda’s own financial circumstances were deteriorating and to fund her own rent contribution? She was probably about to be sacked at Lumumba’s bar and to add insult to injury would likely be replaced by Meredith. In fact Meredith was well liked by all whereas Amanda’s star was definitely on the wane.

That must have irked Amanda. Filomena testified that Meredith and Amanda had begun to have issues with each other towards the end.

With Meredith’s money both Amanda and Raffaele could have afforded something a little stronger than the usual smoke and I speculate that they spent the late afternoon getting stoned. Did they use the credit cards? If they did then it was probably small cash withdrawals but the likelihood is that they did not as in the limited time prior to Meredith’s death they had the use of her ready cash, and after her death the safer thing was to destroy them.

Of course Amanda was still an employee of Lumumba and she would have to turn up that evening for work, but perhaps she no longer cared all that much about the consequences.

Again I speculate that she and Raffaele met Guede before she was due at work, discussed Meredith’s “availability” and Amanda, Raffaele and Guede agreed to meet up on the basketball court at Grimana Square between 11 and 11.30pm, by which time Amanda would expect to have got away from the Le Chic bar.

What else did Amanda and Raffaele have in mind when arranging the meeting or when thinking about it afterwards? Guede was of course thinking about sex and that Amanda and Raffaele were going to facilitate an encounter with Meredith later that evening.

However Amanda and Raffaele had something else on their minds. The logic of their position vis a vis Meredith cannot have escaped them. They had taken her money and credit cards whilst she was out. Had she not already discovered this fact then she would in any event be back, notice the money and credit cards were missing and would put 2 and 2 together.

Very probably Meredith had not already discovered the theft because, spending a quiet time with friends, she had no cause to use her credit cards. What would happen? Who would she tell? Would she call the police? How are they going to deal with this? Obviously deny it but logic has its way and the situation with or without the police being called in would be uncomfortable.

They decided to turn the tables and make staying in Perugia very uncomfortable for Meredith. Now the embarrassing, for Meredith, sexual advances from Guede were going to be manipulated by them in to a sexual humiliation for Meredith.

Meredith was not going to be seriously harmed but as and when they were challenged by Meredith over the missing money, as inevitably they would be, she was to be threatened with injury or worse. Knives come in useful here.

She would likely then give up her tenancy at the cottage, perhaps leave Italy. Whether that looks like the probable and likely outcome I leave you to judge, but just how much of this would be precise and careful planning given, as seems likely, that Amanda and Raffaele were going hard on the drugs?

They were not in a position to act any earlier than they did. They knew that Meredith was away with her friends and probably would not come home until much later. Amanda was expected at Lumumba’s.  Guede was not available until the pre-arranged time.

In the event Amanda did not have to go to work. She and Raffaele were at a loose end until the time of their pre-arranged meeting with Guede. They got to the basketball court early. They had to wait for him. They could not ring him as he did not have a phone.

We know Amanda and Raffaele were on the basketball court (some of the time if not all of the time) between 9.30 and sometime just before 11.30pm. This is because of the evidence of a Mr Curatolo, the second compelling lay witness. He testified to seeing Amanda and Raffaele having heated arguments, and occasionally going to the parapet at the edge of the court to peer over.

What were they looking at? Go to the photographs of Perugia on the True Justice for Meredith website and you will see. From the parapet you get a good view of the gates that are the entrance, and the only entrance as I understand it, to the cottage.

So why the behaviour observed by Mr Curatolo? They may have been impatient waiting for Guede to arrive. Were they actually to go through with this? One might speculate that Raffaele was not actually as keen on it as Amanda.

Was Meredith at home, alone, and had she found the money was missing and had she called the police or tipped off someone already? Who was hanging around outside the entrance to the cottage and why?

There was, apparently, a car parked at the entrance, a broken down car nearby with the occupants inside awaiting a rescue truck, and the rescue truck itself, all present at different times. Amanda and Raffaele did not wish to be observed going through the gates with these potential witnesses around.

We, of course, cannot know for certain what went on in the minds of Amanda and Raffaele and account for much of their movements between the time of them leaving the cottage at, they say, 3pm and their departure from the basketball court at around 11.30pm. It has to be speculation but there is a logical consistency to the above narrative if they had stolen Meredith’s money and credit cards earlier that day, and their meeting up with Guede just before 11.30pm does not look like a co-incidence.

From there on in to the inevitable clash between Amanda and Meredith over the money and credit cards, the threats and intimidation by Amanda and Raffaele to scare her, the sexual assault as part of that, and the tragic death of Meredith.

In a civil case in this country, the standard of proof is “the balance of probabilities” rather than the higher standard of (to paraphrase) “beyond reasonable doubt” in a criminal case.

If my earlier caveat about the bank manager’s evidence not disproving that Meredith had withdrawn her money is unnecessary then, at the very least, on the balance of probabilities, it is proven that Meredith had that money, and the credit cards, and that Amanda and Raffaele had stolen them from her. Some might think (I do) that it is proven on the higher standard too.

It is a shame that the Massei court did not consider and evaluate all of the evidence before it.

It did not need to fear that by doing so it may have been including something which others might consider eminently appealable,  since the evidence and reasoning on which it did convict Aamanda and Raffaele of murder was sound and impeccable.

Addendum : There have been a great many useful comments on this post. As a consequence I accept that the scenario outlined above requires at least two modifications and these are in my last comment below.



Thanks James Raper, for examining this. The theft of Meredith’s cash and credit cards is very important. Foxy may have seen Meredith’s cash as easy target. Motive was spite as well as greed.  Drugs destroy bank accounts fast.

I think you’re right about the timing of the theft. “That drugged up tart” knew when to act.

Guede threw in a bit of truth to steady his story.

Posted by Hopeful on 11/22/10 at 09:00 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)


Thank you, your post raises a lot of questions and suggests some very well reasoned solutions.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 11/22/10 at 09:14 PM | #

This sad tale sounds plausible or, at least, not incompatible with the report.

The scenario should be a barrack rather than a house rented by university students. The E300, and the useless credit cards, are not obviously the main problem, because we are talking about the thing that in italian is called “nonnismo” and in english is probably translated in “hazing”.

Am I correct ?

Posted by ncountryside on 11/22/10 at 10:37 PM | #

Indeed these were areas not wellexplored yet, thank you!

And yes, ncountryside, Amanda was so frustrated with Meredith for all the reasons we know that it is very likely that she wanted to “teach her a lesson”. Hazing was not a new thing for her (didn’t she organized one in Seattle, with a fake rape or something of the kind?) and jealousy was raging.

Add to that the cocktail of sex and drug, the new weirdo boy friend looking for “extreme sensations”, the money pit that drug was, and ... ecco!

Posted by Patou on 11/22/10 at 10:46 PM | #

Five (of six) lay judges are women.

Posted by ncountryside on 11/22/10 at 11:07 PM | #

An interesting and persuasive analysis of these issues from, one assumes, a lawyer (?)  It would make sense that Guede was invited to the cottage for these reasons, and therefore, in instigating the attack, had no fear of AK & RS coming to Meredith’s assistance; on the contrary, he knew that they would support him.

The bringing of the kitchen knife to the cottage does indicate premeditation.  However, if they intended to assault Meredith only, did they really not think that she would have contacted the police afterwards? Meredith’s attempt to phone the bank in the context described would also make sense, although it has always puzzled me why she did not retry.  She must have known the code for UK and Abbey, like many banks, has 24 hour lines.

Guede’s DNA on the purse does also raise questions about earlier theft, though he may simply have handled/moved it.  I wonder about AK’s normal hours of work at Le Chic, and whether it was plausible that she expected to do such a short shift, and then be available to meet others at 11-11.30.  Appreciate illumination on above, small, points.

Posted by Lola on 11/22/10 at 11:18 PM | #

This is a very interesting analysis. Thank you, James Raper. There is no doubt in my mind that Amanda Knox was the instigator of the crime. Anger and jealousy was obviously an issue in this case. I agree with Lola that the crime (at least the attack) was premeditated. They brought two knives, one of them a big kitchen knife. You do not “happen” to carry a big kitchen knife around.

It would be interesting to know if Meredith Kercher carried her rent money around in her purse/wallet or if she kept it in her room. If she would have left her rent money at home, only a limited number of persons would have known about it. Amanda Knox would probably have been one of those who knew where to look for it.

Posted by Nell on 11/23/10 at 12:59 AM | #

Thank you for a very interesting take on this case James.

I believe Amanda Knox and her “chicks don’t know what they want” mentality could quite easily have given Guede the green light to try it on with Meredith and perhaps even convince him that Meredith was available and that she did actually like him.

Who better than a female flatmate and so called friend to convince a male suitor of this?

However, I think Guede was unwittingly duped by Knox.

He was to be a patsy in Knox’s pre planned hazing come sexual humiliation of Meredith and this to me explains the fact that Guede started the attack on Meredith and Knox and Sollecito flew in the room to assist him rather than help Meredith in her plight.

I have never gone along with the courts ruling of no premeditation.

I think Knox stole the money when she was having lunch with Sollecito and saw Meredith leave to visit her friends.

The credit card theft was part of the tampering of the crime scene and staged break-in.

I really do believe (and this is evident to this very day) that Guede was to be framed right from the start, hence the leaving of his feces in the toilet and the desperate but failed clean up to remove their presence from the key areas of the attack.

Posted by Black Dog on 11/23/10 at 06:19 AM | #

Nell, I believe I read that Meredith kept her rent money in the drawer of her bedside table (unlocked). Trusting, indeed. Others please correct me if I am mistaken.

James, thank you for an interesting take on motive. It all sounds plausible to me.

I think I know why the judges’ report (Massei) handled things as they did. It’s like they were just going for the scenario that was the most supported by facts, not adding in anything. Sort of like assigning only necessary motives but not sufficient.

Druggies seeking money for drugs is the oldest motive in the world. Those who claim “Amanda had no motive!” are being really obtuse.

Posted by Earthling on 11/23/10 at 06:30 AM | #

having always felt that the theft was the crux of this crime, i could not agree more, mr. raper. you do bring an interesting and compelling view about the timing of meredith’s call to her bank and the missing credit cards. definitely makes a lot of sense.

at one point, i recall that one of the italian roommates mentioned amanda questioning as to whether she could still live in the house….AFTER meredith was dead.

she had a problem…she was short of cash. she stole from meredith and meredith found out. meredith would reveal amanda’s actions (or her suspicions) to the other two roommates upon their return and amanda had a very small window in which to resolve this.  she had a plan—raffelle would be her alibi and rudy would be the fall guy—(what did sollecito say “black man suspected, black man arrested…or something to that effect??)...problem solved…money shortfall check, meredith gone check, amanda free to go on her merry way, check with the perhaps added bonus that patrick would keep her on. the reasoning of the narcissist is just that simple.

Posted by mojo on 11/23/10 at 09:09 AM | #

The fact ignoring movie industry in this context could be named as receiver of stolen goods. Inclusive individual actors.

Posted by Helder Licht on 11/23/10 at 10:14 AM | #

It’s all plausible (give or take having to ignore the fact RS and AK had commitments in the evening and so wouldn’t, realistically, have agreed to meet Guede -  though they could have known he’d be there), but you could invent another 500 scenarios and they would be equally plausible. 

What has always made me suspect that AK and RS were guilty were the lies, AK’s email and statements and the mobile phone evidence.  But that, for me, isn’t enough for a conviction without credible witness or physical evidence.  The witnesses aren’t without flaws and I’ve no idea about the reliabiility of the physical (forensic) evidence.  There are obvoiusly 2 mutually incompatible arguments that have done the rounds on the internet for years and I’ve no idea which is true.

The stock answer to that is that you have to trust the Italian justice system, but I really wouldn’t trust any justice system anywhere. Once there is a presumption of guilt, one is in big trouble, guilty or not.  What is slightly scarey is that police investigator saying he knew they were guilty without seeing any physical evidence, because, from his psychological training, he could ascertain guilt by their behaviour.  That nonsense doesn’t make AK and RS innocent of course.  I wouldn’t be so crass as to declare their innocence or support the mostly awful and crass campaign of FOA, but the way the prosecutio/police has behaved (and leaked evidence, some of it false) does make one suspicious of the whole thing.

Unlike James, I wasn’t all that struck by the Massei Report.  The logic around the fake break-in in particular failed to convince.  Because there was no glass outside, the rock must have been thrown from the inside?  Really?  That was just an example, but I was surprised (and strangely disappointed) that all the bits I read weren’t a bit more convincing.

Posted by Pippov on 11/23/10 at 02:00 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)

Just to briefly answer your first point, Pippov:

1) Sollecito’s arrangement to drive a friend to the station to pick up a case was last minute.  Perugia is not the largest of towns, such a favour would have taken 20mins, maybe half an hour at the outside.  And the coach that his friend needed to meet was arriving at midnight, leaving the time upto say 11.45pm totally clear.  Of course this arrangement was cancelled.

2) Knox was working for a bar, but not always in the bar, she was handing out flyers, I understand, a lot of the time.  Not the hardest job to slip away from.  And she was told she didn’t need to go to work at around the same time Sollecito found out he no longer needed to meet a bus at midnight.

Hardly commitments that would prevent the two doing what they wanted that evening.

We will have to disagree on the Massei Report.  I have found it to be extremely thorough and detailed, the reasoning around the staged break in is a lot more in-depth than you suggest - you really should read the whole report as the threads that are developed are all pulled together in the conclusions of each section and the document as a whole.

I think the forensic evidence is sound, the Massei Report details all the arguements and discussions held around the forensic evidence and quite conclusively says it is sound.

The police, in my understanding, found Knox and Sollecito’s behaviour suspicious from the off, their stories did not add up and they were less than fully co-operative with the police (unlike the other young people who were also questioned - many of whom were English and being questioned via interpreters like Knox).

Police around the world are trained to look for suspicious behaviour, with the lies and changes of stories and confessions of being there at the time of Meredith’s murder, if the police had not considered it worthwhile to investigate Knox and Sollecito we would all be asking why not.

The Italian Justice system presumes innocence until the 2nd appeal is concluded.  A far greater presumption of innocence than you will find in any other system in the world, as far as I am aware.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 11/23/10 at 02:40 PM | #

Yes, the behaviour, inconsistent and incomplete stories, lies etc were more than enough for trained and experienced police officers to suspect guilt/involvement even before physical, forensic and witness evidence was available. 

Not sure what the leaked ‘false evidence’ is Pippov ... though must admit photo of the bathroom covered in the pink solution was a bit misleading but then don’t know if police made clear from outset what this was. 

‘Another 500 scenarios ... would be equally plausible’.  That seems overstretching things.  If only three of them involved then possible credible scenarios of what led up to the assault appear to have been covered on this site and in reports.

I can understand why Judge Massei acquitted them on charge of theft.  There was ultimately no definitive evidence of this and defence claims of reasonable doubt on this issue could have undermined arguments.

Posted by Lola on 11/23/10 at 03:16 PM | #

Well a lot of the things that led people (or me at least) to assume AK and RS were guilty early on turned out to be untrue.  The bloody bathroom (and AK taking a showere there) is probably the most obvious and must have been leaked by the police or prosecution.  I only realised that was a misrepresentation a couple of months ago and at first thought the non-enhanced photo was simply FOA lies.  Why did the police do that if the case is so watertight?  Maybe just getting one’s retaliation in first, presumably, in a media war.

Also at various times I’ve read that AK and RS were discovered standing oustide the house with mop and bucket.  I’ve read that there was a receipt for bleach in RS’s flat.  That the washing machine was on when the police first entered the house (washing AK’s clothes being the implication).  That the Harry Potter book that AK said she was reading at RS’s was discovered at AK’s flat, flattening her alibi.  That RS’s flat stank of bleach.  Where and why did all that stuff come from, if not the police?  As I say, it’s presumably just a cultural thing, and just media manipulation, but it suggests a culture where honesty doesn’t play too big a role.

I’m not intending to be provocative with all this or even suggest AK and RS are innocent.  I’ve no idea, but my natural distrust and distaste for any police leaves me wanting a bit more than the Massei Report has to offer.

Regarding the theft, it’s a bit crazy that this wasn’t investigated more.  I.e. Before any physical evidence was taken.  Given (initially) it was a possible motive for the crime, why not investigate where the money went?  If it was a recent cash point withdrawal, this would have been eminently possible.  Unless it was buried along with RS’s and AK’s clothes. 

Maybe getting into cloud cuckoo land here, but couldn’t police dogs have tracked down AK’s and RS’s buried clothes and knife?  They must have been buried quite close to the house.  Or would a few goes in the washing machine have cleared up all traces of blood?  Maybe so.

As I said, no offence or provocation intended and apologies if any taken.

Posted by Pippov on 11/23/10 at 04:27 PM | #

Hi Pippov. You seem to be energetically re-surfacing the conspiracy-theory accusations against the police that have long been dispelled and that had no bearing at all on the courtroom or the Massei report.

The police DID search hard for those items you suppose were buried. The theft WAS very fully investigated. Micheli made no mention of a bucket or mop and we have not made a big deal of it since.

And the enhancing of the traces in the bathroom was correctly explained at the time, although the conspiracy theorists have fooled many people into thinking that actually it wasn’t.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/23/10 at 04:43 PM | #

Yes indeed, I for one always knew about the traces in the bathroom, as I saw the non-enhanced situation at the very beginning.

If I am correct, I even jumped to the roof when this idiot of Steve Moore used as an argument the fact that, if you look at the pictures showing the bathroom covered in blood, you understand there was no attempt to clean up (duh… do not believe I will ever trust the FBI after that! They should forbid him to say he was part on the FBI…)

Posted by Patou on 11/23/10 at 04:51 PM | #

Hi Pippov

I often wonder if the problem here is that the general public are not aware of how much evidence there is in any given case. I believe research has been done surrounding ‘the CSI effect’ on jurors, I would imagine public opinion is similarly influenced.

Reality is nothing like the movies - evidence is hard to find - its often destroyed, lost or overlooked etc and investigations are always disputed in court - especially where the defendants have such excellent legal representation. Its only natural that the DNA evidence is disputed - that eye witnesses are grilled and questioned - that Amanda claims she was under duress when she confessed! What else can they possibly do?

Its due to their outstanding representation that so much of the evidence - such as her confession - was thrown out of court. In light of these famous and influential lawyers its safe to assume justice has been served.

I would like to add that like yourself - I am not trusting of legal systems and police investigations. But why - in such a high profile case - are there no independent charities that have taken the cause of these two young convicts!? There are many such charities set up specifically to defend the falsely accused. None (as far as I know) have even mentioned Amanda Knox. She would be an ideal case - young, a good student, and for the most part with no record of violent behavior. Why then have these experts not thought to use their voice in her defense?

Posted by Giselle on 11/23/10 at 05:17 PM | #

Two doubts about James’ post.

The first:

“….I do not know what exactly that evidence was. One would assume that at the very least it did not disprove her testimony. Had it done so that would, as I have said, been fatal. It is also unbelievable that Massei would have overlooked this in the Report. I am assuming that Meredith did not tell a white lie and that the bank records corroberate this. ….”

In the Micheli Report, at circa page 60, the Court stated about the presence of the cell-phones and the money, but at the same time was unable to decide when the goods were exactly stolen. I am not a lawyer but, in my opinion family Kercher’s lawyers are perfectly entitled to ask for further investigation in case of doubt. In other words “Meredith did not tell a white lie” for the Court and money were there. Right ?

The second:

“ …I expect, however, that Guede’s “evidence” was not a factor in the jury’s consideration. Neither Guede’s lawyers nor those for Amanda and Raffaele wanted Guede to testify at the trial, for obvious reasons Without Guede testifying his statement would have been objectionable if not inadmissable.

I would have thought, though, that the prosecution could have brought him in as a witness, with the agreement of the judge, to testify as to the missing rent money only. Guede and his lawyers might well have agreed to this on the basis that such limited questioning would not have incriminated him further and might well have had a beneficial effect in his appeal. Convicted criminals often give evidence in court. What weight is attached to the evidence of a convicted criminal is a matter for the jury. ….”

Imho an italian lawyer’s opinion about this part should be welcomed. I guess, James Raper is a lawyer from US and used to american procedures, less to italian, of course. Perhaps this kind of deals are not allowed in italian Courts, at least not in the form he describes.

“…. As the prosecution have appealed Amanda’s and Raffaele’s sentences, asking for lengthier terms, could they produce Guede now? I don’t know…..”

I think the answer is yes, but with the above precautions.

Moreover Sollecito’s defense is going to do circa the same with Alessi’s witness. In fact from Sollecito request of appeal, page 36:

“ …. 4. Ovviamente, l’attendibilità dei testi non può essere messa in crisi nè a causa dello stato detentivo, nè a ragione dei crimini contestati, non potendo derivare da tali fattori (inconferenti rispetto al fatto narrato), sic et simpliciter, una presunzione di inaffidabilità delle dichiarazioni rese. Basti solo considerare che, nel nostro sistema, anche nei confronti dei collaboratori di giustizia (c.d. pentiti), che in genere si sono macchiati dei più terribili reati, non esiste una presunzione di inattendibilità e l’indagine sulla credibilità deve essere compiuta dal Giudice prescindendo dalle qualità morali della persona.  Per di più, ai sensi del 2° comma dell’art. 603 c.p.p., trattandosi di prove sopravvenute, l’assunzione delle testimonianze di Alessi, De Cesare, Castelluccio e Trinca deve essere disposta dal Giudice, salvo che non sia vietata dalla legge o manifestamente superflua o irrilevante. ….”


More letters from our mp:

Posted by ncountryside on 11/23/10 at 05:45 PM | #


As Peter mentions, you should familiarize yourself with the Micheli report as well.

In his comprehensive sentencing report for Rudy Guede, who is one of the three that has been convicted, Micheli like Massei, chronologically details the abundance forensic evidence that leads to the guilt of all those involved in the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher.

In fact, unlike most of the US media that are omitting to mention the highly depraved nature of this crime, all of the Italian media are reporting that the prosecution will be seeking a life sentence for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito come appeal time.

Posted by True North on 11/23/10 at 05:50 PM | #

Hi Pippov,

Maybe it was good for me that I came to the case fresh at the beginning of the trial and not the initial investigation, so I only took in the evidence that was actually tried in the courtroom.

It must have been very confusing from the beginning and with the press going mad with the “facts”. I’ve found, through this case, that the belief that the media is honest, objective and in search of the truth is incredibly naive. I would blame the media for mistakes and misinformation flying fast and furious. How many times have we seen identical phrases copied and pasted from one news organization to another riddled with mistakes and quotes from the suspect’s family members and pr spokespeople?

It’s not just good detective work to look at family members, roommates, boyfriends, ex-spouses, etc. with a skeptical perspective when someone is murdered, it is also common sense. The same goes for the people who alert the police or “happen” to be at the crime scene before the police. The fact that they showed little interest when the door was broken down is clear. The fact that the policemen smelled Amanda when she claimed to have showered is witness evidence not a “hunch”.

The luminol bathroom controversy is ridiculous. Anyone in their right mind would run screaming from the house if they saw that. What was suspicious was that the front door was open, there were bloody tracks (from Rudy Guede) in the hallway. A “break-in” in Filomena’s room. She claimed to have showered while leaving the front door open.

When she was asked to explain the bloody footprint on the bathmat but no prints leading up to it, she explained that she shimmied naked on the bathmat into her room to get her towel and then shimmied back. This was in November and it was cold and the front door was left open. By anyone’s logic, she was lying. If you are innocent you don’t need to try so hard to make up ridiculous stories. That’s why you can see that the email she sent is screamingly obvious to anyone with common sense.

I agree with you that some “facts” have turned out to be false and this can be confusing. However I place the blame for this on the media and not the police (though I’m not saying some clerk somewhere along the line didn’t collect some $ from a media person to leak some information or misinformation). I thought that the strong odor of bleach in Raffaelle’s apartment was true. Someone please correct me if this was untrue.

Posted by bedelia on 11/23/10 at 05:59 PM | #

I think someone needs to do a summary of the Massei report just as was done for the Michelli report. I think if a summary was sent to the news organizations detailing the key points, a lot more reporters would be inclined to read it. I just don’t see reporters reading a dense 400 page legal report for a 10 minute TV spot.

Posted by bedelia on 11/23/10 at 06:03 PM | #

Hi former bad girl. In fact Mignini is rather famous for not leaking and not using the media to advance his cases, and what “facts” strayed out did seem to have been highly encouraged by reporters and often proved valid in the long run.

And not only did the defenses seem to leak prolifically and not always very accurately- the Sollcito family is charged with having made a police evidence video showing Meredith uncovered available to Telenorba, a TV channel, to advance Raffaele’s interests in the case.

On the need for a Massei summary, an excellent point. We do hear from various media friends what a tough one this case is to stay on top of, especially as the main documents and reporting are all in Italian and events seem to proceed in slow motion.

Although the Massei report itself concludes with a long summary, there does seem a need for something quicker to extract the main points from. We have part of it summarised already in bullet points and hope we might get it all up next week.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/23/10 at 06:14 PM | #

Thank you Lola. It had also occurred to me that it was a short shift if Le Chic closed at around 11.30. But as Innai points out she was probably going to spend most of her time handing out flyers and therefore knew that she would not be missed.

Does anyone know when Lumumba usually closed up? Perhaps flexible depending on business. It seems that he had not been running the bar long and was trying to drum up trade. Both he and Amanda might have expected a dip the night after Halloween. And what were Amanda’s hours?

According to Lumumba’s alibi witness, who left Le Chic at 10.30pm, the only people there before 10.30 were himself, Lumumba and two belgian girls who passed through. Hardly a busy start, though of course it might have got busier later on.

Perhaps Amanda did not care if she was missed. She must surely have been aware that Lumumba had some issues at to her behaviour at work and was probably on the verge of sacking her. The thing about Amanda is that if people have issues with her, however well intentioned, then that seems to become a big issue for her. Enough of an issue for her to falsely accuse Lumumba of murder! She might well have intended to hand in her notice that night if need be.

Why did Meredith not re-try with her bank? I do not know but again we do not even know that she did not get through - at that time of night it would presumably have been to leave an answering message.

We do not know whether it was investigated. I had earlier assumed that it must have been. Was a stop put on the cards? If it was not investigated then that would be an embarrassment for Mignini and not just the police. In Italy the prosecution work hand in hand with the police during the investigative stage and are not simply handed a file afterwards. Enough of an embarrassment for Mignini and his prosecution colleague to softpeddle on the theft aspect of the case?

You say that there was no definitive evidence of theft. So what about Meredith’s credit cards? I think we can take it that she did not misplace them round at her friend’s house and they obviously existed in the first place.

Of course the charge, as framed, accused Amanda and Raffaele,not Guede who could have taken them, but one would think with A and R’s knowledge and complicity (like the money - hush money?) but surely after Meredith was struck down.

The problem with the foregoing remains, for me, Meredith’s phone call to the bank before they arrived. I cannot think of an even mildly daft reason, let alone a plausible reason as to why should ring her bank at that time of night unless it was because of her credit cards. Strike me down here if you can.

Posted by James Raper on 11/23/10 at 06:29 PM | #

Former bad girl, you are right about Raff’s apartment stinking of bleach—that was testified to at the trial by Armando Finzi, chief inspector of the Flying Squad of Perugia, who performed the search of RS’s house on November 6th. Massei English Trans. p. 106:

“In the house there was a strong smell of bleach. He [Finzi] remembered the terms following the first action that he reported at the time: ‘I was with my back to the door; there was the dishware drawer; I opened it. I opened the top cutlery drawer ... we had clean gloves on, new. The first thing [99] I saw was a big knife. Let me state beforehand that it was extremely clean.’”

Posted by Earthling on 11/23/10 at 06:46 PM | #

Didn’t Lumumba say in evidence that he wasn’t on the point of sacking AK?  I.e. Wasn’t that just a line he came out with to the press in fury straight after he was released? 

That’s actually just a question Peter and absolutely definitely not a conspiracy theory.

Posted by Pippov on 11/23/10 at 06:52 PM | #

Hi Pippov. He said he had not decided on Amanda’s future as a waitress and what he said after Capanne prison he has stuck with for more than two years. The false charge did after all put his bar out of business.

It is a common conspiracy-theory point to make a lot of this to explain away what might have been one provocation upon Amanda, her possible misinterpretation of the text Patrick sent saying he did not need her that night.

The key point here is what Amanda might have thought, not what Patrick intended.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/23/10 at 07:06 PM | #

James Raper: “I cannot think of an even mildly daft reason, let alone a plausible reason as to why should ring her bank at that time of night unless it was because of her credit cards. Strike me down here if you can.”

I tend to agree with you. Absolutely.

Then, we are trying to explain Amanda’s behaviour and event plannning in a rational way. She was not a rational girl and was probably driven by jealousy, anger, and drug… I guess logic and objectivity were not her best assets then.

Posted by Patou on 11/23/10 at 07:06 PM | #


“….Why did Meredith not re-try with her bank?....”

Perhaps because the Abbey/Santander number to dial in UK is 08459724724 (the numer in Meredith cell-phone memory), but in Italy you have to dial 00441908237963 (i.e. not the British numer with 0044). The only other way to get in touch with the bank then should have been by a pc with an internet connection. Did Meredith own one ?

Posted by ncountryside on 11/23/10 at 07:51 PM | #

James, by ‘no definitive evidence of theft’, I meant of the credit cards actually being found on the accused, although the assumption is of course that, as the only known people in the house during the period, they did indeed steal them. Even if it were Guede, it would have been with the others knowledge.

A plausible reason as to why Meredith should ring her bank at that time of night other than to report her credit cards missing, might have been to simply check her account balance or transactions.  I know I have done that on many occasions in the evenings. 

My earlier comment about AK not thinking the obvious, ie that someone of Meredith’s character would have contacted the police afterwards, assumes rational thinking, which AK, probably under the influence of drugs, did not possess.

On a side note, I listened to Steve Moore’s recent interview on Kiro FM.  His statements regarding Dr Stefanoni ‘not allowing the defence to look at the DNA evidence’ and in effect ‘commiting perjury’ on the witness stand are astounding.  How does he get away with such statements?

Posted by Lola on 11/23/10 at 10:52 PM | #

Hi Lola

Ouch! Guess I asked for that! Yes it is plausible that Meredith rang her bank to check her balance. It is also plausible that she had already checked her balance not so long before when she withdrew the 200 euros.

Posted by James Raper on 11/24/10 at 03:03 AM | #

Hi James and Lola. The reason for that call does remain murky. Two other explanations are that

(1) someone else was seeing if the account could be accessed (ncountryside above explains that it couldnt be using that number and an account number and password would be required

(2) someone hit the speed dial unintentionally and the call was made by mistake.

Here are some past posts and comments that breifly mention the call and the cards.

Lot Of Evidence Introduced…

Trial Happenings On Friday

The Summations

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/24/10 at 03:39 AM | #

Guede’s prints were found only on the outside of the purse, which led to the suggestion (I can’t recall where) that perhaps Meredith had been convinced to make a “loan” of her rent money to the eager dopers. I can imagine such convincing happening only at knifepoint, as she knew rent was due, and that it was no trivial amount.

She was the “party pooper”, the conscience putting the damper on party-girl’s fun. If the three were already under the influence when they encountered Meredith (and I really have to hope they were somewhat out of their minds to be able to inflict such savage wounds) then the last thing they wanted to do was stop the music and go home because the “grownup” said she had to study. They were after getting completely blotto, by any available means.

As to Meredith being “humiliated” by Guede, it takes a racist to think that the mere idea of having a Black lay a hand upon you represents humiliation. Perhaps that would have been devastating to a Knox. I(being of “mixed” ethnicity myself) tend to agree with Button (of the eclectic chapbook) in her assessment of a strong racial motive in the events of that night. After all, Knox believed it was her place to deign to allow Meredith to date Giacomo.

Meredith had a tan complexion (beware of people who emphasize your “exotic” looks—I broke up with a guy when i realised he saw me as an exotic object he was collecting). While I don’t think it likely that Meredith would have wished to waste much time on a “drifter”, she might not have viewed Guede as human scum who should remain at a minimum of a bargepole length from a woman not of his race.

I can, however, believe that the likes of Knox and Sollecito would see—and I’ve used the term before—a Mudblood as dispensible, and a black as disposable

Posted by mimi on 11/24/10 at 04:07 AM | #

@James Raper-
I think you are right on target regarding the theft of the money and credit cards…

I don’t think that Meredith’s being humiliated had anything to do with race. I think the humiliation was attributable to Meredith’s having had her body involuntarily exposed and fondled and perhaps made to beg for her life, regardless of of whom the perpetrator was.

@Peter or Machine-
Is there any information as to whether Meredith’s cell phones were fingerprinted?  If not, perhaps they should be/have been.  If they could find DNA of Sollecito/Guede/AK on a bra clasp, it seems sensible that they could also find it on the cell phones, possibly giving info as to who threw the phones away…....

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 11/24/10 at 06:25 AM | #

Hi Peter do you know much about the prevalence of polygraph tests in Italy? Presumably they are inadmissable in court as in other countries but could defendants request to submit to one?

Posted by pensky on 11/24/10 at 08:09 AM | #

Regarding the call to the bank - please correct me if I am wrong - but I remember the Massei Report said that it was an English number without the area code +44.

Being from England I assume it was an 0845 number that she dialed (used for many banks and businesses) - these numbers cannot be dialed from abroad. Therefore Meredith either made a mistake or she mis-dialed.

The question is - if her credit cards were stolen - why did she not call her family to have them cancel the cards or check online for the number she could dial from abroad (Italy).

Posted by Giselle on 11/24/10 at 08:34 AM | #

Curt Knox is being interviewed on the BBC’s Today Programme. You can e-mail comments and questions. Here’s the link:

Posted by The Machine on 11/24/10 at 09:06 AM | #

You are not wrong Giselle.

Personally I do not believe it was Meredith who made the call to her bank; being English she would have used the international dialing code as she always did when she called Blighty.

In answer to your question - in my opinion, the reason she never made the call to her family or her bank to report the cards stolen and cancel them was because they were taken from her after her death as part of the staged break in.

I do not think many people leave credit or debit cards stashed at home along with money; people may leave money stashed at home as they are scared to carry X amount with them in case they lose it or are robbed, or indeed they get into a really good night out and start breaking into their rent money - but normally they always carry their cards in case of any eventuality.

If the cards are robbed from them in a mugging for instance, or indeed they are lost, at least they can report them missing and have them cancelled.

For this reason I believe Meredith kept her rent money at home but carried her cards with her.

Posted by Black Dog on 11/24/10 at 11:24 AM | #

Hello James, no ‘ouch’ intended.  Maybe, as you say, she had checked her balance earlier or maybe she was merely fiddling with the phone.  Is uncertain area.  Black Dog, wasn’t the call made at 10pm?  Wonder what the English Bank manager’s testimony was with regards to date/time of the 20 euros withdrawal.

Posted by Lola on 11/24/10 at 05:29 PM | #

@Black Dog - I agree with you about the cards probably being stolen after the murder. If they were in Meredith’s purse/handbag was there DNA or blood found on the zipper?

I don’t think the motive for murdering Meredith was to shut her up after stealing her money/cards (I don’t know if that’s what James was saying in his post anyway).

I think Massei had it right - Knox and Sollecito were suddenly free of any commitments, got drunk and high, met Guede either to score drugs from him or just bumped into him, invited him to Knox’s place, Meredith was there and things went wrong.

I think Knox maybe did “borrow” some of Meredith’s rent money, and maybe that sparked a row, but it didn’t have to, since she already hated Meredith for being everything she pretended to be but wasn’t and for shaming her -Meredith probably called her a few choice names that shamed Knox in front of her boys Guede and Sollecito - over the money, her sexual habits - that enraged her, and out came the knives.

Guede and Sollecito are both cowards, the latter is also a druggie with a serious detachment from reality and a penchant for extreme porn and combat knives.

Posted by lilly on 11/24/10 at 05:48 PM | #

@lilly - In my opinion James means that, if investigation can demonstrate that credit cards and money were stolen by almost one of the three BEFORE Meredith’s return home, then a skilled lawyer could try to convince the Court that PREMEDITATION was present.

At this point evidence of the phone call to the bank and the cash withdrawal are vital. And, of course, with premeditation NO circostanze attenuanti generiche, and then life sentence. This problem was indeed well understood and well explained, but in italian, at the end of Judge Micheli’s report.

Posted by ncountryside on 11/24/10 at 07:23 PM | #

@Lilly - some good points in what you say.

One thing in particular that has always struck me (and one which not many people have taken up on) is Knox seeing herself at the centre of attention musically - trying to play guitar and even forcing it on people with her endless annoying drone of playing the same chord over and over again - but Meredith had already appeared in a professionally made music video.

One can almost feel the jealousy and envy that the perfect person Knox, clammering for attention - was harbouring. It is very sad indeed that something so cool was seen by Amanda Knox like this. She is a classic narcissist. In this I have no doubt.

R.I.P. Meredith Kercher.

Posted by Black Dog on 11/25/10 at 12:10 AM | #

Blackdog - I believe that you are probably right. Amanda’s behaviour does seem to exhibit the classic symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.

The narcissist bathes in self esteem, loathes any form of criticism, let alone self analysis, and will attempt to manipulate his or her environment to avoid this. Since the disorder has it’s roots in childhood the narcissist continues to display immaturity into adulthood.

Raffaele is the perfect foil for her, a passive-aggressive who could be easily manipulated by her and who probably enjoyed this. Both characters are lacking in self esteem and perhaps they are, in this bizarre way, soul companions. Despite wobbles they have stuck together throughout.

Whatever personality disorders they may have that does not affect the fact that they would have had full knowledge of the rights and wrongs, and the consequences, of their actions (drugs are no excuse) and justice for Meredith must be done.

Posted by James Raper on 11/25/10 at 02:48 AM | #

NPD? Often pondered over by professionals. The jubilation and blanking-out that cracked briefly when the sight of the knife drawer in the kitchen of her home had her gasping seem to be on the wane now.

We see reports of her happy in group activities in Capanne; but her lawyers suggest it is tougher. She might be experiencing increasing flashbacks in her cell which require sedatives to calm her down and help her to get to sleep at night.

The immense pressure upon her from her family and friends and the PR not to crack and to maintain the facade may soon come to be more than she can bear. Her mother says she is really unable to tell a lie and if Edda means a good convincing lie that sticks, Edda may be right:

Amanda does not make a very good liar and there come these periods when she really tells it like it is, as when she upset people in Berlin. Sollecito in contrast seems to show signs of untreatable psychopathia, symptoms which have kept his father attentive and concerned for over a decade.

My guess is that Amanda does long for male company and normality, while Sollecito really doesnt give a damn and will whine for the next 30 years. I can see Sollecito splitting and selling her out without turning a hair, while Knox perhaps comes to be the one that in her own roundabout way tells it like it really was. The Italian system very much favors that, especially for young people.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/25/10 at 02:50 PM | #

Yes. His father does seem to be attentive. I think I read somewhere that his father was accustomed to ringing once, if not several times, a day. I know that family is a strong thing in Italy, but even so! It does not fit with the image of machismo that young italian men are supoosedly famous for cultivating.

In group photos of Raffaele with friends he is always on the edge of the group as if he does not quite belong. Did Raffaele ever have a genuine girlfriend? A psychopath has no genuine empathy for others and if this is what he is then Amanda was just the girl to enable him to role play the understanding boyfriend. Now, of course, when he walks in to court he is centre stage anyway. His body language now is a complete contrast with Amanda’s.

Whilst Raffaele struts she looks pensive, meek and mild, though no doubt she has been told to behave that way for the court and the cameras.If there is not a genuine conversion under way then she may find this difficult to maintain. She could indeed crack at some stage.

Posted by James Raper on 11/25/10 at 05:08 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)


My understanding (see Massei Report Translation Pg.61/62) Sollecito had had only one “fling” (my word) as an adult, which was earlier in 2007.

I feel that Knox is probably quite a good “actress”.  The turn around in the words of her step-father and the change in her apparent demeanour appear to me to be merely a different approach to the system.  I can’t help but find it unpleasant - I don’t believe things have changed, merely the public veneer.

Sollecito looks a different person - at the sentencing last year I thought he might have been close to coming apart at the seams, but now he looks confident and relaxed….and a lot less like the bespectacled young man Knox “loved”. I wonder how much he has changed.


Posted by Nolongeramember on 11/25/10 at 05:39 PM | #

Hi James. Yes the facts on his prior virginity etc are correct as far as we know. He made no attempt to hide them and his solitary kinkiness at school was public knowledge after his room was searched.

Does it almost seems like Amanda has empowered Raffaele and he has disempowered her? Amazing that having demonized everything else under the sun, the conspiracy theorists have not demonized him.,

This reaching out by her to him (if not an act, agreed) is the mirror opposite of how things seem to have been in their brief relationship where both really seemed to like her being the one on top.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/25/10 at 06:43 PM | #

Hi Innai. Yes on Knox redux, I guess this is a three-way bet between being all an act that will be sustained, being all an act that will suddenly snap, or being all a slow evolution.

Seems some of our psychologists would put even money on each. I hope for the 2nd or 3rd possibility because that would seem to most help all of those hurt.

On the 1st possibility, posters on PMF in the last few days were examining the condition among released inmates known as recidivism.  This summary from Wikipedia reflects the textbooks:


Recidivism is the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they have either experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or have been treated or trained to extinguish that behavior…

Criminal recidivism is highly correlated with psychopathy. The psychopath is defined by an uninhibited gratification in criminal, sexual, or aggressive impulses and the inability to learn from past mistakes. Individuals with this disorder gain satisfaction through their antisocial behavior and lack remorse for their actions…

Findings indicate psychopathic prisoners have a 2.5 time higher probability of being released from jail than undiagnosed ones, even though they are more likely to recidivate.

It has been shown that punishment and behavior modification techniques do not improve the behavior of a psychopath. Psychopathic individuals have been regularly observed to become more cunning and better able to hide their behaviour. It has been suggested that traditional therapeutic approaches actually create psychopaths, if not worse, then far more adept at manipulating others and concealing their behavior. They are generally considered to be not only incurable but also untreatable.

Psychopaths also have a markedly distorted sense of the potential consequences of their actions, not only for others, but also for themselves. They do not, for example, deeply recognize the risk of being caught, disbelieved or injured as a result of their behaviour.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/25/10 at 06:59 PM | #

Hopeful really has a way of connecting the dots that most of us don’t even realise are dots. Now she has posted this very insightful comment on the changes in Knox and Sollecito, on the Amanda Knox court photos thread.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/25/10 at 07:40 PM | #

Yes Peter, during Amanda’s testimony she claimed that when she went to the questura she “didn’t expect to be interrogated at all”. This was somewhat chilling because she inadvertantly let slip her arrogant belief that she was above suspicion. None of the other girlfriends of Meredith would have expressed such surprise at being questioned even at an unscheduled time. They had nothing to hide and were keen to tell all that they knew. Amanda’s deliberate ambiguity and obfuscation in accusing Patrick was hedging her bets. It’s like a dream to me and I can’t be sure if it’s real or not (but if they arrest Patrick it sure takes the heat off me). Her account of her interrogation is that she had to say the same things over and over and that she was “trying” to help them. If you are asked to repeat things during an interrogation it is to reveal inconsistencies and she delivered on that. As Mark Twain said, if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.

Posted by pensky on 11/26/10 at 12:50 PM | #

Very nicely put Pensky! Perhaps Amanda should now set about reading Mark Twain…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/26/10 at 08:37 PM | #

Just to say that I am persuaded by the above helpful comments that the more likely scenario is that the credit cards were stolen after poor Meredith was attacked. However I still think it likely that the money had been stolen earlier. That is just my take on things. Of course no one can be sure for certain.

As has been pointed out, people carry their credit cards with them usually in their purse or wallet.

Neither of them, Guede, Amanda or Raffaele, would have tarried long after the attack. Meredith’s ear splitting scream would have put the fear of god in to them and they would not wish to be discovered by a curious passer by. It is likely that they ran like blazes leaving Meredith with her life ebbing away. Later when Amanda and Raffaele returned it would have occurred to them that they had to take Meredith’s credit cards as well, assuming that they had earlier stolen her rent money.

A burglar, drug addict, or whatever, would also want to flee as quickly as possible, but perhaps not empty handed, and the first thing they would check was Meredith’s purse - a quick and obvious target for their interest.

A similar thought may have crossed A and R’s minds especially if, having taken her money earlier in the day, this was playing on their minds. The credit cards still being there but the money being missing would look suspicious.

They overlooked the obvious fact during the staging that nothing had been taken from Filomena’s room but the taking of the money and credit cards should be sufficient.

Incidentally I suspect that they may have returned to the cottage not once but twice. First for the staged break in and then again for the clean up.

As to the call to the bank one scenario might be, amongst the others mentioned, that Meredith had only just discovered the theft of the money. In a panic she initiated the call only to recall that of course they were in her purse.

Another thing about the staging of the break in, and there are many ludicrous aspects, but this not mentioned by Massei, is the obvious time it would take someone to get in through Filomena’s window having first thrown a stone from presumably the raised ground outside. Does anyone think that Meredith would not have heard the glass shattering and not have got out calling the police in the process?

On motive generally, people often talk of motiveless crimes when what they really mean is senseless. There is usually some motive but how do you get in to someone’s head to establish it? Not an easy task. Fortunately proving motive is not a pre-requisite. Were that the case there would be a lot of killers loose on the streets.

We can, of course, infer motives from circumstances. Meredith’s case is positively dripping with highly plausible inferences. As the recent post on girls who kill demonstrates, jealousy is a potent motive.

I have no doubt that Amanda’s jealousy towards Meredith, mingled with a narcissistic temperament, was the trigger for everything that followed.

I also suspect that Amanda, who it seems got on well with Meredith initially, may have looked up to her at first, only to perceive that she was then being undercut by her. Is there a sense of betrayal here? When Amanda was convicted it is reported that she burst in to tears saying “This is an absurd situation. Meredith was my friend, she was good to me. This is pure fantasy”. Amanda, your sense of betrayal was the fantasy. And yes Meredith, I have no doubt, was a good friend to you however difficult you made that for her. The betrayal here is yours.

Posted by James Raper on 11/28/10 at 02:30 PM | #

I was just reflecting on the terrible ordeal that Meredith went through - and it is an extreme case of where a flatshare can go wrong. Flatsharing with a bunch of random people is something people firstly do for cost reasons - but also for social reasons - it will often be a good social outlet when relocating to a new town/country.

The chances of getting the bad apple of a flatmate in Knox (which results in death) are one in a million I feel. Another unfortunate thing is random flatmates plus drugs - is a combination that can also be dangerous.

If this tragedy never happened - one feels that things were coming to a head in the flat anyway. Meredith and the other girls would have grown tired of Knox’s obnoxious behaviour and may even have asked the landlord to have her thrown out. If the girls had some basic house rules - it would seem Knox was breaking them ie. disgusing hygiene habits in the shared bathroom, bringing random men into the flat without clearing with flatmates, possibly drug use and drug dealing in the flat.

We don’t know what kind of standards (if any) the girls may have expected of each other in the flat - but the other 3 girls would have being having issues with Knox and her alone.

Its horrible that fate conspired on Meredith that she alone was to be home that night and her other flatmates (and the boys downstairs) were all away on the public holiday.

We hope that justice is done once again for Meredith in the coming days.

Posted by gabster1971 on 09/22/11 at 11:21 AM | #

Amanda Knox had ca.4000$ in her bank account and Sollecito was rich. It is quite implausible that they would go through all the trouble of “making things uncomfortable” for Meredith just because they took her money. In fact it is rather implausible that they would steal her money to feed their drug habits. The motif can only be of an emotional kind.

Posted by sms27 on 11/11/11 at 02:03 AM | #

An interesting thing about the money is that Guede said in his Skype chat or one of his other early statements that Meredith went to Knox’s room and found Knox’s money was missing too. Guede expressed surprise that Knox never mentioned this theft to police. Not sure what to make of it. How did it help Guede to have made up this lie?

Posted by brmull on 11/11/11 at 02:09 AM | #

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