A step by step reconstruction of what happened in Meredith Kercher’s room
By Ron Hendry
This article contains graphic crime scene photographs and a graphic detailed description of the crime.
It is possible to look at the facts and the evidence surrounding this crime and reconstruct what happened, with the understanding that the reconstruction is broadly accurate but not perfect.
We do not know Rudy’s motivations for the acts he committed. We do know he had alienated the family that tried to help him get started in life, and he had no known job or means of financial support. He was caught after breaking and entering a building in Milan, and at that time, he was in possession of property stolen in another burglary. It therefore seems likely that theft was his main intent on the night of November 1, 2007, at least initially.
Following is what appears to have happened:
After entering the cottage at about 8:50 pm, Rudy begins to go through Filomena Romanelli's room. He also takes a quick look in Laura Mezzeti's room, where he leaves a drawer partly open. While looking around in the place, he realizes he needs to use a toilet, so he goes to the nearby bathroom. After a couple of minutes, he hears a sound at the front door and realizes someone has come home. Meredith Kercher arrives at the front door of her apartment flat at about 8:55 pm. She is wearing a blue zippered Adidas jacket over a thin, off-white long sleeved sweatshirt with a tee shirt overlay. She is also wearing blue jeans and red and white Puma shoes. Meredith is carrying an off-white shoulder bag, which contains, among other things, a book she has borrowed from a friend. Upon entering she locks the door from the inside and walks straight to her room.
There, she walks to the far wall and turns on the overhead light. She tosses the borrowed book and a notebook on the bed and hooks the shoulder bag on the desk chair. It is 8:56 pm. Meredith now gets out the cell phone she uses to call her family and friends in the UK, sits down on the edge of her bed, and initiates a call to her mother.
For reasons only Rudy knows, he makes the decision to go to Meredith's room, neglecting to flush the toilet lest he lose the element of surprise. Armed with a sharp pocketknife, he bursts into the room and confronts Meredith. She stands up, but Rudy grabs her before she can react defensively. She pulls away, but he turns her around and brings her flush against his body. This early struggle results in lateral contact with the bed frame and mattress and possibly the corner of the nightstand.
Once Rudy has Meredith under control from behind, he positions the tip of his knife against the right side of her throat. He makes three knife wounds to the right side of the throat during this initial phase of the struggle, with one being a stab wound that penetrates about 1-1/2 inches. Meredith instantly begins bleeding and raises her right hand to the wounds.
Rudy’s intent with these initial knife wounds may be to subdue and control his victim rather than to kill her. But as the struggle moves across the room toward the window near the desk, it becomes more violent. Either Rudy is consumed with an urge to kill, or he cannot control Meredith any other way, or he realizes she has recognized him.
Eventually Meredith falls to her knees. Rudy, still on his feet, straddles her from behind. From this vantage point, he grabs her jawbone with the fingers of his left hand, pulling her head back Then, with his right hand, he stabs her throat and drives the knife blade to its full depth. He pulls the blade upward until the wound is 3 inches in length. Large quantities of blood immediately flood onto his hand and his pants.
Rudy releases Meredith’s head and steps back as she collapses and begins to eject a large volume of blood onto the floor in front of the wardrobe closet. The initial blood deposits are likely oriented in the direction of the nightstand. Meredith attempts to crawl in a clockwise direction, propped on her right hand while clutching her left hand to her throat. She probably remains fully conscious for only a minute or so.
With the struggle over, Rudy seizes the collar of the blue sweatshirt Meredith is wearing and pulls her toward the nightstand, leaving a heavy trail of blood. After moving her upper body for about 1-1/2 feet in a counterclockwise arc, the jacket begins to come off, and she is caught up in the mat on the floor, so Rudy tosses it toward the desk.
The photo above of the duvet shows a series of four butterfly blood stains inferring placement next to blood source such as Meredith’s throat and lateral movement.
When Rudy is finished in the bedroom, he heads into the bathroom, steps out of his right shoe and washes the blood off the top of the shoe in the bidet. Then he wipes the excess blood off himself and his pants. He leaves a number of stains made with diluted blood on the blue rug in the bathroom. One of them is a partial footprint. He also leaves diluted bloodstains in the basin of the bidet.
The photo above shows the counterclockwise blood trail beginning at the lower right arrow and then changes appearance at the other arrow. The large area free of blood where marker L is located was likely where the floor mat had earlier been. A small portion of the floor mat is visible beside the tennis shoe.
He then grasps the left sleeve of the sweatshirt to pull Meredith until she is face down on the floor with her head on the left side of the wardrobe closet. At this point, she makes a final attempt to rise, grasping the open wardrobe with her left hand.
The photo above shows the aspiration blood drops and the hand markings at the arrows were left after Meredith had been moved to her final position on the floor.
He then pulls both shirt layers up over her bra, at which point she aspirates blood onto her bra. He then rips her bra off with force causing the bra to separate at the threaded seams.
After her bra is removed, Meredith aspirates blood onto her exposed upper body.
Next Rudy pulls her pants and underwear off. At this point, she has completely lost consciousness,
Rudy grabs the pillow and places it under Meredith's hips. In lifting up Meredith’s hips to slide the pillow under her, he steps on the pillow several times. His bloody fingerprint will later be found on the pillow along with his shoe prints.
Blood is now beginning to run down beside the nightstand and also toward the wardrobe closet. Rudy finds a couple of towels, perhaps making a trip to the bathroom. He uses them to wipe away blood. He then performs some form of sexual assault that leaves his epithelial DNA, but no semen, inside her body.
The photo above shows the print that was left on the bathmat in the bathroom. This print was made in bloody water.
Rudy returns to Meredith’s room, where he searches through her handbag and possibly the nightstand and carry bag on the floor. He takes money, credit cards, keys and cell phones. Rudy’s DNA will later be found on the handbag. He locks the door to Meredith’s room, leaves bloody shoe prints running down the corridor toward the exit, where he opens the front door with Meredith’s key and walks out into the night. In all likelihood, no more than half an hour has elapsed from the time she arrived home.
The bloody hand swipe markings seen in the photo above were likely left by Meredith’s left hand in a final attempt to stand up.
Rudy begins to disrobe Meredith. He pulls the blue Adidas sweatshirt downward until it comes off, turning the sleeves inside out. He then removes her shoes and socks before rolling her onto her back, at which point she aspirates some blood onto the side of the wardrobe.
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Professional Opinion From Forensic Engineer Ron Hendry