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Anorak | Objectified Amanda Knox: Making A Killing From Meredith Kercher’s Death

Objectified Amanda Knox: Making A Killing From Meredith Kercher’s Death

by | 9th, October 2011

AMANDA Knox is innocent. She did not murder Meredith Kercher. She did not kill her, either. So, why is the Sunday Times leading with:

“THE KNOX FILES – THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS”

They are:

Why did she change her story?
Why did she frame a friend?
So who did murder Meredith Kercher?

Only, these questions have been already answered. Knox had no lawyer at the time when she claimed that Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the Le Chic bar where she worked, had killed Kercher while she was in the kitchen blocking out the sound with her hands over her ears. The Italian Supreme Court tossed out her alleged “confession”. Knox then said she had spent the night with Sollecito at his place.

All three are John Follain’s “Killer Questions”.

Follain has book to sell. Death in Perugia: The Definitive Account of the Meredith Kercher Case from Her Murder to the Acquittal of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox will be published by Hodder & Stoughton on October 25 at £12.99.

He also wrote Death In Perugia – The Definitive Account of the Killing Of Meredith Kercher.

Death is now a packaged read published in time for Christmas.

The story goes like this:

They may have been coached to hide their true feelings, but the expressions of the judges and jurors were an open book. Surprise and shock registered on the faces of the appeal tribunal in Perugia as they watched a video taken by the forensic police who searched the whitewashed cottage where Meredith Kercher was murdered.

That summer’s day in the medieval, vaulted Hall of Frescoes was the pivotal scene of the 10-month appeal trial of Amanda Knox, 24, and Raffaele Sollecito, 26 — the moment that freedom suddenly became possible, if not probable, for the former lovers.

This much is certain. The police’s ham-fisted approach to DNA evidence and forensics should never convict Knox and Sollecito.

The convictions for sexual assault and murder have been quashed. There is not a shred of evidence to link Knox and Sollecito with Kercher’s death.

And then the story begins anew:

But, far from resolving the mystery of how and why Meredith died, the acquittal has fuelled the unanswered questions over her fate. Are we “back to square one”, as Meredith’s brother Lyle said after the verdict? What are the mysteries still to be resolved? And will we ever know what truly happened?

The questions can only be answered by Meredith Knox (dead) or Rudy Guede, the one person to have been convicted of Kercher’s murder, and any protagonists that may have helped him.

This book may not have a conclusion, but it does have those past convictions – both overturned – to return to.

The investigators thought Knox had handed them the keys to the mystery. Under questioning she placed herself at the crime scene on the night before the body was found. She had been in the kitchen, with her hands over her ears, she said, while Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese bar owner for whom she worked as a waitress, killed Meredith.

Police promptly arrested Lumumba, Knox and her boyfriend. But Knox later went back on her testimony, insisting she had been with Sollecito at his flat all night. Investigators were forced to release Lumumba after witnesses testified he had been working at his bar on the night of the murder. Knox and Sollecito stayed behind bars.

Forensic evidence then prompted the arrest of another African immigrant, Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast drifter. Part of his palm print was on a cushion under Meredith’s body, his DNA was in her body where he had apparently groped her sexually, and his DNA was mixed with hers in drops of blood inside her shoulder bag.

All good stuff armchair detectives can take subjective view on. But we have heard it before. What will the book tell us that we do not know?

There were mixed traces of Knox’s and Meredith’s blood in the bathroom and another room. Bloody footprints had been left by Knox and Sollecito in the bathroom and in the corridor. Knox had behaved bizarrely at the police station after the murder, kissing and caressing Sollecito and doing yoga exercises. Sollecito had said he spent much of the murder night on his computer, but this was disproved by experts. Still, this was all circumstantial evidence rather than proof.

And it was all presented to a jury at appeal – and they dismissed it.

The Rome forensic police came to the rescue of the prosecution team. They reported that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of a kitchen knife found at Sollecito’s flat — and Knox’s was on the handle. This was believed to be one of the murder weapons.

Forensic pathologists said Meredith’s wounds had been caused by two knives, pointing to more than one killer.

They did not state it – they suggested it based on their experience. It is not a fact that more than one knife was used.

The team from Rome also reported that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp. (Only much later would it emerge that the police had retrieved this from the bedroom floor a full 46 days after first spotting it.) The case rapidly became a sensation. The prime suspect was an intelligent and alluringly pretty American, only 20 at the time, who, reporters joyously discovered, had been nicknamed “Foxy Knoxy” back home in Seattle. That this was for her skills on the soccer pitch was lost in the rush to find out more.

The Fox in the Box.

Investigators leaked Knox’s diary, in which she had listed seven sexual partners, three of whom she had slept with after her arrival in Italy, including a man she had met on the train on her way to Perugia. On Facebook she had put down as her interests: “Men.”

The interesting part are when the author recalls his meeting with Knox in prison:

I was told she had been reading — in Italian — the 427-page summary by the two judges at her trial, who had dissected the inconsistencies in her evidence. This summary included the judges’ own reconstruction of what might have happened on the night of the murder, based on the evidence that had been put before them.

They suggested that Knox, Sollecito and Guede had arrived at the cottage at about 11pm. Knox and her boyfriend had gone to her bedroom to have sex, and, excited by a situation “heavy with sexual stimulus”, Guede had walked into Kercher’s room wanting to have sex with her.

Kercher rejected him — she was tired, and had a new boyfriend anyway — but Knox and Sollecito intervened to assist him. According to the judges, they were probably drugged on hashish and seeking “erotic sexual violence”. Forcing Kercher to yield to Guede was a “special thrill that had to be tried out”.

They suggested Sollecito cut Meredith’s bra with a small knife he always carried — collecting knives was a hobby. As Guede sexually assaulted Kercher with his fingers, Sollecito stabbed her in the neck. Kercher screamed — a neighbour heard her — and Knox stabbed her in the throat with a kitchen knife, the judges argued. She took several minutes to die as she inhaled her own blood.

Only problem is that none of that could be proven. The lurid detail are the stuff of fantasy. It gives a mucky sexual thrill to read, wallowing in the Foxy Knoxy misogyny and allowing people like Matthew Wright to ask seemingly sensible human beings if they would like to have sex with an objectified Amanda Knox. This is where the Italian prosecution went wrong: they created a tableau that they had no hope of proving.

Still, as Follain told us in 2009, Knox player her part in court:

Kercher must have died a slow death. Knox replied: “I heard that she had her throat slit and from what I saw in CSI these things are not quick or pleasant so I said, gosh . . . bleargh . . . this brutality, this death . . . bleargh . . . it really did shock me,” Knox replied.

It was a disgusting death. I imagined it was a slow death, a death that was shocking, yucky, disgusting,” Knox said, crossing her hands repeatedly in front of her chest.

It was odd language to some. But it’s just the language of a young American, albeit without the swearing.

Follain continues:

This was an insight into the mystifying processes of Italian law. How could justice be served by trying Guede separately? Why had he not been brought to give evidence at the first Knox trial? Why were his accomplices “unidentified” when Knox and Sollecito had been convicted of joining him in the murder?

Guede’s lawyers said he would appeal for a new trial if the Supreme Court confirmed Knox’s acquittal — on the grounds that it would contradict the Ivorian’s conviction for killing Meredith alongside unidentified accomplices.

“So I’m supposed to be Meredith’s only assassin?” Guede is reported to have told a prison visitor. “I’m supposed to have struck that poor girl with a knife 40 times? I confessed my responsibilities and I accused those who were in the house with me.

“I’m in prison, and the others are free and happy at home. If it wasn’t them in the house that damned evening, who are the other accomplices supposed to be? The money made available to Amanda and the media strategy helped to free her.”

Did the media help? Knox’s father Curt Knox and mother Edda Mellas, hired two lawyers and consultants in Perugia and Rome to fight their daughter’s corner. They hired PR consultant David Marriott, to get their story on the US news.

Good for them. To most of us Amanda Knox is figure created on the TV news. We saw her in court on the telly. We saw her acquittal on the telly. If the cameras can lie about smirking Knox, why not let us see the woman from all angles?

Knox is not culpable. Her parents have spent a fortune on her defence. Any money Amanda Knox gets is her dues.

In selling her story, of course, she will keep the case alive. But her choices were limited once her parents invited the media in: she can disappear from public view and look shifty and culpable; or she can tell her story and make the best possible life for herself.

We might not all turns a cartwheel and lie when hearing that a friend has been brutally murdered, but we would all of us want a better life…



Posted: 9th, October 2011 | In: Key Posts, News Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink