Armchair Detectives

I break with my catch up for an up to date event, because I have words in my head that I need to use up!

Last night The Boy and I ended up watching the new Amanda Knox documentary on Netflix. We have always both been interested true crime type things, and so the odd documentary like this is something we both want to watch and don’t have to compromise on!!


For background, Amanda Knox was a university student from Seattle who went to Perugia in Italy as an exchange student. There she met her flat mate Meredith Kercher, an English exchange student, and an Italian boy called Raffaele Sollecito who she dated very, very briefly.

Meredith was murdered and her body was discovered on 2 November 2007. Amanda and Raffaele, her boyfriend of 5 days, were blamed.

What followed made a mockery of the Italian justice system.

I don’t remember the initial reporting. I was in Bermuda having a ball. The news was full of things that would depress me and so I never really looked at it.

This case didn’t just last a couple of weeks though. It kept going back and forth until March last year. By this time I had grown up a little and was aware what is going on in the world! I still however never took much interest in this case. It just never really caught me.

Going into the watching of the documentary last night, I only had the bare minimum knowledge – Amanda and Raffaele had been accused, found guilty, appealed, found innocent, found guilty at retrial, and the finally fully acquitted at the highest court of law.

Can you even imagine?!

Here is what I picked up from watching the show last night:

The prosecutor is a egotistical ass, and a dangerous man. A self professed fan of detective fiction, he seemed to think he had the super powers of his idol, Sherlock Holmes. What appeared he did have is a handful of knowledge of behavioral analysis which he used when investigating the case and questioning Amanda. It is, I believe, proof that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

I believe that Perugia wasn’t equip to deal with this kind of case, especially with all the international press presence. I think they bumbled the investigation – maybe because it was lead not by an experienced police man, but by a solicitor? I think that their forensic teams were hugely inept, and that due to their errors, a case was built around innocent people.

Because of the above, the truth will never be known. Amanda and Raffaele will always have a cloud of suspicion following them. I think people accused and acquitted of murder often do, but this time it is much more so.

But here is the one overriding thing I took from it…. The press were unacceptably intrusive and they should be ashamed. Especially Nick Pisa, the ego-maniacal asshole who covered the case for the UK’s Daily Mail, who agreed to be interviewed by the docu-team.

This guy made my blood boil. At the point at which he said, and I’m paraphrasing, that he didn’t have time to check the facts of the information he was being given and subsequently broadcasting because he could have lost the scoop to a competitor, I think I cursed at the tv. I was so mad.

This is a shining example of the fall of journalism. It was more important to him to get his name and work on the front page than being truthful and accurate.

They went through social media accounts of Amanda and Raffaele and found photos of them that would lend to the story that they were mentally unstable murderers. Innocent pictures from Halloween and excursions, where they were holding weapons of some description. I have photos on my social media of me holding a shot gun. It’s not proof that I am a pro-gun person. It was that I wanted to try clay pigeon shooting with a friend who had grown up running a shoot in Essex.

They got hold of her prison diary from an unnamed source, and printed it. Not in full, but again in part to prove that she was a femme fetale. Why did she write a list of the guys, seven in total, that she had slept with? Because during questioning at some point they had lied to her and told her she was HIV positive. Why would they do that? And what kind of morals leads a journalist to use that to further the story that she was a murderous whore?

Sadly I have first hand knowledge of reading press reports on a loved one and it being bullshit. It’s common practice now to write not the truth, but a good story that will increase readership of whichever rag they work for. No one seems to care about facts. They may check them but it doesn’t mean they will use them. They appear to manipulate their story to fit their agenda. To hell with the life of the person they are often unfairly persecuting, and their family or friends.

I have no idea if Amanda and Raffaele are innocent or not. This documentary was only an hour an a half, so didn’t touch on much at all. I would, having watched it, lean towards their innocence but I don’t know enough to be firm in that statement.

What I do know is that inept police work, abysmal prosecutors, lazy defence and biased and self serving reporting isn’t something that is unique to this case or to Italy. It happens globally on a daily basis, and that terrifies me.

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