Meredith’s father tells of agony at seeing body

The father of murdered student Meredith Kercher has relived the agonising moment when he travelled to Italy to identify his daughter’s body.

John Kercher travelled to Perugia with his ex-wife Arline and their daughter Stephanie to see Miss Kercher’s body in the morgue after her murder.

In a new book about the killing that robbed him of his young daughter, Mr Kercher admits he was unable to look at his daughter for a final time for fear that he would lose his final memory of her “laughing and happy”.

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“Nothing can prepare you for what it is like to have to travel to a foreign country to identify the body of your daughter,” he writes.

“Now, little more than two months since she had moved to the city, we were approaching it for the first time and she was never coming home.

“It was time to see my daughter. But I could not face going in.

“The brutal reality of having to see what had been done to Meredith had not really hit home.

“I could go no further. For me it would have put a full stop on my memories.

“In the morgue, standing over her body, Arline had said: ‘Your father’s come all this way out here to see you, but doesn’t feel he can.’

“Then she had smiled, for the last time at our daughter. ‘But,’ she had whispered, ‘you know what your father’s like...”’

Mr Kercher’s account of his loss comes six months after Amanda Knox was acquitted of the crime.

Miss Kercher, a University of Leeds exchange student from Coulsdon in Surrey, was found dead on 2 November, 2007 in her bedroom at the house in the Umbrian city she shared with Miss Knox and others. Her throat had been slit and her body was partially covered by a duvet.

Mr Kercher, a writer and journalist, recalled the last time he saw his daughter, two weeks before her murder, when she was telling him about her difficulty in finding a duvet.

“She talked eagerly about Perugia,” he said. “She said she was trying to buy a duvet for her bed but nobody seemed to know where she could find one.

“I remember her saying she was determined to track one down. That this should be the duvet beneath which her body would be found is something that will always haunt me.”