The Trials of Amanda Knox
Only in Italy could the world’s most watched murder trial be allowed to take a two month break for the summer holidays, the lead investigator refrain from entering the crime scene because of a bad hair day, and the chief suspect spend over a year in custody without being charged.
When an American student was found guilty of murdering an English one with the help of an Italian and African, only to be later acquitted, the resulting culture clash deeply divided the world’s media along national lines.
Meredith Kercher was a dark-haired, 21 year old, Leeds University European Studies student who went to the central Italian city of Perugia for a year exchange at their University. Within three months of her arrival, she was dead.
She left behind her parents, two brothers and one sister in Coulsden, Surrey. The privately educated ‘Mez’, as friends and family called her, had gone to study modern history, political theories and the history of cinema, a mix of subjects reflecting her hard working but engaging personality. She wasn’t all about work, however, as shown by appearance as the love interest in a music video shortly before she left.
Amanda Knox was one of three girls that Meredith lived with in Italy. Amanda was the blue-eyed and blonde, 20 years old, Washington student studying Italian, German and creative writing. In September 2007, she’d said goodbye to her two sisters in Seattle and to her parents who had funded her Italian year away. Amanda called herself ‘Foxy Knoxy’ and seemed to be two different people according to her online postings. She wrote that she was a non-drinking, non-smoking practitioner of Yoga but she was shown to be drunk in one YouTube entry.
At first the two girls clicked and along with their Italian flat mates, one of whom was called Filomena Romanelli, they all enjoyed their white walled, red roofed, hillside flat. Admittedly, like a lot of student accommodation, it was close to some dodgy, drug-dealing areas, but no one could suspect that in just over two months, it would be the scene of a worldwide murder investigation.
Amanda Knox met three characters who would play crucial roles in the ensuing maelstrom. It was at a concert in mid October that Amanda was first introduced to computer engineer student, Raffaele Sollecito. Raffaele was a bespectacled, pale faced, middle-class, 23 year old who had his own flat in Perugia thanks to his parents. The cannabis enthusiast is said to have had a worrying fascination with both knives and violent Japanese comics.
The second character was 20 year old Rudy Guede. He was a dual Italian and Ivory Coast national who had been adopted by a Perugian family but was now dabbling in cannabis dealing.
The third was Diya ‘Patrick’ Lumumba. The Congolese Lumumba owned a local bar, ‘Le Chic’, where Amanda worked most Tuesdays and Thursdays.