Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Meredith Kercher: Evading the Obvious Explanation

Now that there's nothing about the Meredith Kercher case which would be defined as sub judice under English Law (no-one facing an unresolved criminal charge) it may last be safe to point out a painfully obvious probability, and pose the one question which Italian Police and Prosecutors notably failed to ask:

In the two or three months before Miss Kercher was murdered in the cottage she shared with Miss Knox, did anyone in Northern Italy (not necessarily Perugia itself), systematically research the financial means of families of foreign students studying or due to study in Perugia? The Knox family in particular, but it wouldn't be confined to them, at least not in the early phases. Someone would have found out the names of foreign students, found out where they came from, then narrowed their sights a bit onto those who seemed to come from prosperous communities. These would have been researched a bit more deeply, until a shortlist was drawn up, of students with caring families who could afford a ransom, but could not afford (and would not know how to hire) a small army of ruthless mercenaries instead.

The Kerchers are from Surrey, which might excite interest, but there's a bit of a financial gulf between St George's Hill and Coulsden, and once the list-maker discovered the Kerchers came from the latter, Meredith might have been struck from the list.

Eventually, such lists have one name on it, and, with hindsight, Amanda Knox probably struck the ideal balance between wealth and vulnerability, so the name would have been hers. The name would be passed to someone more local, who'd played no part in researching the list, and who was definitively expendable -and they would have to be known to organized crime. The expendable local would have cased the joint, more competently or less, and when he observed a window of opportunity, he would have summoned a small group of specialists, whom he would have led to, and into, the property.

Both Meredith and Amanda have the same general description: English-speaking ,young, female, long brown hair. Miss Knox protests that until she was arrested, she'd never been in the same place as Rudy Guede before, and this would imply that Mr Guede would not have been a reliable authority on the crucial matter of which English-speaking young woman with long brown hair was which.

Fairly quickly, the specialists and their expendable local would have realized that something wasn't stacking up. Almost certainly, the specialists would have realized this long before the expendable local was prepared to admit it. Faced with a choice between total disaster and trying to get a ransom for a different young woman, they would have chosen the latter, and tried, in a few minutes, to establish equivalent information to everything which the researcher had supplied for Amanda after a month's work. That would account for the huge number of injuries on Meredith's body: sexual assault and torture at first, giving way to frustrated psychopathic rage when her answers, or the lack of them, signalled the end of their perceived opportunity for gain. This would have also served to impress Mr Guede with the urgent need not to implicate or identify the specialists in any way. Which he's managed not to do.

A bloody handprint links Mr Guede to the murder scene, but there are also fingerprints for several other persons, none of whom Italian Police have been able to (have tried to?) identify.
Tne unambiguous bloody hand-print emphasizes Mr Guede's expandability.

The above is not a flight of fancy, but a well-informed description of one of the most famous and lucrative industries of Northern Italy, one which every level of Italian officialdom, politics and the judiciary, has always preferred to pretend doesn't exist. Kidnap for ransom.

Amanda Knox is not lucky to get out of jail: she is lucky not have to have spent a few terrified weeks in a cellar or cave, having peripheral parts of herself sliced off and sent to her family through the post, before being found, almost certainly dead, in a car boot somewhere on payment of a ransom. Meredith Kercher was very unlucky, but also possibly, and we will never know for sure, brave enough not to cooperate with Amanda's would-be kidnappers.

A further observation might be that a young member of an important organized crime family, might have felt the need to pull off a major crime to prove his worth. If this was it, it couldn't have gone more wrong. As Medawar has observed elsewhere, "clogs to clogs in three generations" applies to organized crime families as well as industrialists.

The Appeal Court has published its reasoning over Miss Knox's acquittal.
There has been some deabte over whether Miss Knox might have been convicted on the evidence produced by the Italian prosecution, in a "UK" or US Court.

There is no such thing as a "UK Court"; an English Court is presumably what is meant, as the victim came from a long way South of Hadrian's Wall.

But the question really ought to be , what repercussions would there have been for the chief prosecutor and the detectives involved? Because they are the only ones who might be convicted of anything in an English Crown Court on the basis of the case they presented against Miss Knox and her boyfriend! What they did may be legal in Italy, but as the Appeal Court Judge has made very clear, it's definitely not acceptable in Italy and it's certainly not a way to solve a murder.

The case against Miss Knox and her boyfriend looks, for all the world, like an attempt to fill in the obvious two-person gap in the case against Rudy Guede, which is very incomplete despite, in some ways because of, his guilty plea. We'd be a lot nearer the truth if he'd fought the case and forced the prosecution to produce more of their evidence against him.

But that might have cast a spotlight on names and faces which the world still hasn't seen or heard about. Given a choice between that, and a sixteen year prison stretch, Mr Guede willingly takes the porridge. Which implies that the obvious two-person gap is in reality filled by much more frightening and resourceful personalities than those of Miss Knox and her boyfriend.