Kercher family book reveals moment they were told of daughter's murder


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The Independent Online

In the six months since Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were cleared of Meredith Kercher's murder, the British student's parents have been loath to give interviews about their daughter's death.

But on 26 April, Meredith's father John will release Meredith: Our Daughter's Murder and the Heartbreaking Quest for the Truth, a 304-page tribute to his daughter.

The memoir is touted as "a father's story of losing a beloved daughter, and the first account of the torment the family have suffered and their ongoing quest for justice".

Mr Kercher tells of the moment he first discovered what had happened in the rented house in Perugia, where Meredith was found with her throat slit and her semi-naked body draped in a duvet in November 2007.

"I hadn't been able to get through to Meredith on her mobile, which was very unusual, but I tried to keep calm by telling myself the victim couldn't possibly be Meredith," he said.

"The call eventually came from the foreign desk of the Mirror newspaper, from a young girl I hadn't spoken to before. That call ended my world as I knew it...

"I shall never forget her words. 'The name going round Italy is Meredith.' I dropped the phone. I didn't believe it. Not my beautiful Meredith."

The book is being published well in advance of Amanda Knox's version of events, for which HarperCollins paid a rumoured £2.5m.

The Knox volume, provisionally scheduled for 2013, is billed as a "full and unflinching account of the events that led to her arrest in Perugia and her struggles with the complexities of the Italian judicial system". But the media hysteria surrounding the 24-year-old American's quashed conviction and the ensuing commercial offers she received infuriated the Kercher family, who felt the tragic circumstances of Meredith's death had been forgotten. "I think it would be more sensitive to Meredith's memory if Amanda Knox maintained a low profile," said Mr Kercher last year.

"I don't want to say anything confrontational, but I believe it is wrong to capitalise on any murder. Not just for us, but for anyone."

Meredith's former flatmate Amanda Knox and the American's former boyfriend, Mr Sollecito, were acquitted of killing Ms Kercher in October, having served four years in an Italian jail. The Ivory Coast-born drug dealer Rudy Guede remains in prison over the murder, having had his sentence cut from 30 years to 16 in 2009.

Though he denies any involvement, he admitted to being at the house at the time of the murder and his bloody hand print was found on a pillow at the scene. The Kercher family was thought to have rejected the argument that Guede acted alone.

They said the release of Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito meant they "still have no answers". They added that their search for "what truly happened" would continue.