Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Meredith Kercher's family maintained dignified silence and waited for justice

Meredith Kercher's parents, John and Arline Kercher, who maintained a dignified silence throughout much of the lengthy Italian legal process over their daughter's murder will speak to the media today.

Unlike Amanda Knox's parents, who launched a PR blitz in their native America and Italy aimed at convincing the world their daughter could not be a murderer, the Kerchers nursed their grief in private and prayed for justice.

In their worst nightmares the couple could not have imagined what lay in wait for their 21-year-old daughter as she left for her year abroad.

Only two months after her departure, Mr Kercher heard a British student had been murdered in Perugia and he rang his daughter immediately.

He tried about a dozen times but there was no answer, just an automated message.

After 40 minutes, her phone rang when he called it. But there was still no answer.

When an hour had gone by, he called the foreign desk of a British newspaper he worked for, but they had no information about the identity of the dead girl.

Two hours later they called him back and told him they had the name of the murdered student: Meredith.

That was how he found out, and that was how the nightmare became a reality.

Mrs Kercher said she will never get over her daughter's horrific death.

Giving evidence in the trial in June, she told the court in Perugia: "Her death was unbelievable, unreal. In many ways it still is. I still look for her.

"It's not just her death but it is the nature of it, the brutality of it, the violence of it and the great sorrow it's brought everyone.

"It is such a shock to send your child to school and for them to not come back.

"We will never, never get over it."

She had a close relationship with her daughter - one of four children - and they chatted on the phone every day.

The Kerchers have let it be known that obtaining justice for their daughter, affectionately nicknamed "Mez", was of the utmost importance.

When Ivorian national Rudy Guede was convicted of the murder in October last year, they came one step closer to seeing this goal realised.

But they still had a long, hard wait ahead of them for the conclusion of the trial of the other two suspects.

In the meantime, every detail of the murder had to be raked over and the events of the November night their daughter was killed replayed again and again.

Last month they broke what had been a long silence on the second anniversary of her death to tell the world how much they missed their daughter.

In a statement released through their lawyer, they said: "The two years since Meredith's death have passed very quickly. But we still miss her more than ever.

"We can only hope now that a conclusion is reached (soon), so that we can finally dedicate ourselves to remember Meredith for the person that all of us knew and not as a victim or as a news item."

The couple will speak at a press conference at a hotel in Perugia at 11am local time (10am GMT).

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