UK

Profile: Meredith Kercher

  • 27 March 2015
  • From the section UK
Meredith Kercher

The Kercher family have often said they may never know what happened to Meredith, who was 21 when she was found dead in the flat in Perugia she shared with Amanda Knox.

Known as Mez to her friends, Meredith saw her time in Italy as a dream trip. Her parents said she was excited about learning the language, meeting new friends and immersing herself in a different culture.

Miss Kercher had chosen the central Italian city for her exchange trip, over Milan and Rome because she believed it would be safer.

"She fought so hard to get out there," her father John has said.

"There were quite a few setbacks but she was determined to go and kept persisting and eventually got what she wanted."

But three months after leaving the University of Leeds to start her year-long exchange in Italy, she was found dead.

The European studies student was embarking on a course on modern history, political theories and history of cinema and had moved into a flat she rented with American Knox.

It was there that Italian police discovered her body - she had been stabbed to death.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito
Knox and Sollecito were arrested in November 2007

Her flatmate and Rafaele Sollecito, Knox's then Italian boyfriend, were convicted of the murder in 2009.

At the time, prosecutors said the pair had been involved in a sex game with Miss Kercher that had gone wrong.

Prosecutors later alleged that the murder resulted from a heated argument over cleanliness in the Perugia apartment.

In 2011, an eight-member jury cleared both Knox and Sollecito of Miss Kercher's murder after doubts were raised over procedures used to gather DNA evidence and they were freed after four years in jail.

A retrial was ordered in 2013 after an appeal by prosecutors, who argued that important DNA evidence had been disregarded, and in 2014 the original guilty verdicts were reinstated.

But in March 2015, in a final ruling in the long-running case, Italy's top appeals court overturned the convictions again.

Miss Kercher was found in her bedroom, partially covered by a duvet. Her throat had been cut and the bedroom door was locked but the window had been broken.

'Sociable and loving'

She was, according to an Italian she was said to have dated, very different from her American flatmate.

"The two were like chalk and cheese - totally opposite in character," 24-year-old Giacomo Silenzi said.

"Meredith was calm, sweet and shy. Amanda was an extrovert and always showing off."

Meredith Kercher's brother (right) and sister Stephanie at a press conference
The Kercher family have said they want justice for their sister

Described as sociable and loving by friends and family, Miss Kercher was often seen in photos smiling broadly.

She grew up in the suburb of Coulsdon, in the southern outer reaches of London.

Before heading north to university, she was educated at the £10,000-a-year private Old Palace School in nearby Croydon.

She was the youngest of four children, with older brothers John and Lyle and sister Stephanie.

The family have kept up a campaign to find out what happened in Perugia.

"It's very difficult being without my sister," Stephanie said in 2014 after hearing the news that Knox and Sollecito's guilty verdicts had been reinstated.

"There's so many things that happen that I want to tell her about or want to call her about."

She said at the time that she hoped the ruling would mean the end of their ordeal so her family could begin to "remember Meredith".

Rudy Guede in 2007
Rudy Guede was eventually convicted of Meredith Kercher's murder

Only one person remains in jail for her sister's murder.

Rudy Guede, from the Ivory Coast, was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2008 but that verdict included a ruling that he did not commit the crime alone.

And for the Kercher family, there is still no closure.

"I think we are still on a journey for the truth and it may be the fact that we don't ever really know what happened that night, which is obviously something we'll have to come to terms with," Stephanie Kercher said.