Knox in the box

October 4, 2011

I’m not sure what I think about the Amanda Knox affair. She didn’t come over well in the lead-up to the original trial, and all the ‘Foxy Knoxy’ stuff certainly blackened her name. Then, when she started dressing like a nun in the witness box, she seemed shamelessly manipulative. The trouble is that we still don’t know what to do with women who step out of line. We don’t like facing the notion that women, as well as men, are capable of horrific crimes. We are supposed to be the ones who nuture, the endlessly patient and kind Florence Nightingales who soothe others’ paths through life. We are not supposed to go mental with knives. Looking at Knox, you did get a sense, though, that all was not as it should be. Meanwhile, her murdered friend Meredith Kercher was, by all accounts, a nice girl from South London with a very supportive family.

Yet, despite all this, I’m as bad as anyone else – I can’t really bring myself to believe that she had a hand in her former flatmate’s death, and in so grisly a fashion.

To be really sure of what happened, I suppose I’d have to trawl through the details of the crime – and I can’t bring myself to do this. I remember a horrific number of wounds, some talk of black magic, and a bevy of suspicious visitors to the flat. What on earth were these girls up to? Whatever Amanda Knox may now be – it is four years since the murder and she has no doubt been changed hugely by the whole experience – it’s clear that the life she was living back then was Not Good. It really puts you off allowing your children to try living abroad. I’m not sure I’ll ever let mine go as far as Catford, at this rate – which is silly, as grislier things happen at home, as I know.

It’s also true that Italian justice comes out of this looking very bad. If the evidence, four years ago, was compelling enough to convict Knox and her boyfriend, how can it now be ‘unsafe’? All very strange. All very corrupt. And not a great ad for the European Union.

Now, worst of all, it looks as though Amanda Knox has gained a strange sort of heroine status. She is trending on Twitter, she is all over the news, there are Americans no doubt dancing in the streets and seeing the whole affair as some sort of US victory over Europe. There is talk of who will play her in the movie (it’s got to be Lindsay Lohan, in my view). I don’t wish her ill, not at all. It’s just that, whatever Hollywood A-lister signs up, however huge her inevitable book deal and no matter what rewards her notoriety heaps upon her, her poor friend Meredith Kercher is still dead.

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  • Sarah, Maison Cupcake October 4, 2011 at 10:31 am

    It’s like something out of “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt.

    Although it’s not the same situation, I can’t help thinking back to the Louise Woodward case in which she was acquitted of killing the baby but there was still a grieving family over the death of a child. I recall the British media were just as critical of the US legal system as the US media are now being over Italian justice.

    At least in this case someone has been convicted over the murder and the question mark is over whether or not Amanda Knox was also involved. I know little about the case and so have no opinion either way.

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 4, 2011 at 11:19 am

      Gosh yes, it is like the Secret History. That was a fantastic book, how horrifying to have something similar in real life. But I think Amanda Knox, her boyfriend and the man in prison for murder share a horrible secret together.

      Though I have tried not to read too much about the Kercher case, I do remember that there were so many knife wounds from two different knives that police originally thought there must be more than one killer. Why that evidence is now ‘unreliable’ I don’t know, though. Horrible

  • Addy October 4, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Well said. I have mixed opinions on this. Part of me thinks the naive gauche look she displays is all an act for the cameras; the other part of me wonders whether the Italian police got it horribly wrong. I feel for Meredith’s parents who will never know how or why their daughter died.

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

      I really feel for Meredith’s parents, too. Whatever they may have felt about Amanda Knox, at least it seemed clear what had actually gone on in the flat. Now it’s anyone’s guess all over again. I can’t imagine anything more dreadful.

  • English Mum October 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Hmmm I know what you mean. Reading more deeply into it yesterday I saw that Knox paid nearly £19000 in compensation and was sentenced to 3 years in prison (which she’s obviously already served) for lying and saying that the boss of the bar she worked in murdered Meredith while she was in the next room. Apparently the poor man spent 2 weeks in prison before she admitted it was a lie. So whatever happened, I don’t think she’s a completely innocent victim.

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 4, 2011 at 11:22 am

      I think you’re right. And, given everything else in this case, he was probably lucky to get only two weeks in prison. What an awful thing to do and shows how desperate she was to implicate someone else. And why do that, if she had nothing to fear? I don’t think anyone will ever get to the bottom of it – sadly for Meredith Kercher’s parents.

  • notsupermum October 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I feel so sorry for Meredith Kercher’s family today. They have been so dignified but are now left having to deal with this new ordeal. I think the trial was compromised by the media attention plus the slap-dash way the evidence was mishandled.

    Amanda Know, if innocent, did not cover herself in glory during the whole process either. Her erratic and bizarre behaviour does not fit with the profile of an innocent person, so I have my doubts about her aquittal.

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      I completely agree, it’s awful for Meredith Kercher’s family. Nothing could be worse than the murder of a daughter, but then to face four trials and now these appeals and still have no real idea of what went on …. a nightmare. The more I read about Amanda Knox, the more I worry that she has very little contact with reality, which means we will never know the truth. Maybe she doesn’t even know it herself.

  • Louise October 5, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Difficult, this one … I admit to not having really followed what was happening recently. I just wonder whether one would be able to claim one’s innocence for four years if guilty, or is Knox a brilliant, cool-headed liar? Not sure that too much can be read into her original statements – I am sure that if I was grabbed by the police and accused of murder I would say all kinds of weird things, just because of the panic – was she interrogated in English or Italian?
    I get in a flap when there is a police car behind me when I’m driving – even though I am doing nothing wrong, I’m sure they would discover something if they stopped me!
    I just hope that now she is free she will have the common sense to just get on with her life and not sell her story to all and sundry, making millions along the way – some respect should be shown by her for the Kercher family who still have no answers and no daughter.

    • Dulwich Divorcee October 5, 2011 at 11:22 am

      Hi Louise, I think she’s actually learned Italian in prison but I agree that the language thing could have made things a lot more confusing for her ….. you never know how you’ll react in a crisis, it’s true, but I’m pretty sure neither of us will be accused of murder any time soon! I think it’s also quite telling that the first thing she said on arriving back in the States today was that the whole thing seemed ‘unreal’. I suspect she’s a bit of a fantasist with a very hazy grip on reality, and I’m not sure that she will have the sense to steer clear of all the money-making opportunities she’ll be swamped with. Awful for the Kerchers when the inevitable books/films come out about their poor daughter.