The sorrow of families lost in lurid sex tales
Few criminal cases have been as distastefully reported as the murder of Meredith Kercher.
Four years on from the British student's killing much of the media at home and abroad continue to present the horror story of her violent death like a lurid TV movie with only one star - Foxy Knoxy, the pouting sex-crazed siren convicted and now cleared of murdering her.
As soon as the pretty 20-year-old student Amanda Knox was identified as a suspect in her housemate's murder, any notion of sensitivity towards the families of the dead girl or the accused couple went out the window. The over-riding atmosphere was one of drooling enthusiasm for any details which added sexual flavour to the Foxy persona. It might have borne little resemblance to the real girl but it was just too juicy for journalists to resist.
There was frenzied chatter about Knox owning a sex aid (perversion!) and photos of her cuddling her co-accused boyfriend (exhibitionism!). When the prosecuting lawyer suggested a sex game had gone wrong the sound of journalists' eager jaws hitting the floor in excited delight was overwhelming.
The Italian lawyers played up to the steamy atmosphere with a grotesque kind of glee, with Carlo Pacelli only last week describing Knox as a "diabolical, Satantic, demonic she-devil'' who "likes hot, wild sex''. Not the strongest legal argument, but God it made great front page copy.
And there in court, listening quietly, sat Meredith's mother, shrunk by sadness and pain, not in a sexploitation movie but in real life.
Anyone remember her name?