The Curious Incident of the Pipes in the Night Time: an Amanda Knox kitchen sink drama

 

An Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito ‘Leaking Pipes’ Riddle

raff plumber

Amanda and Raff were caught with a mop propped up against the front door of the cottage when the postal police arrived unexpectedly at 12:35 on the morning of 2nd Nov 2007, to return a handed-in lost mobile phone.  Since a body is found at the house later (Meredith Kercher’s) at 13:05, Amanda must have been fretting how this mop must appear to those with suspicious minds.

 

Amanda thinks hard, and in a light bulb moment, she recalls an incident the previous night, which was at least half-true.

 

We can see how the lie develops. In her email home, to 25 people in her address book, typed at 2:45 am in the early hours of Sunday, two days after the murder, she claims Raff accidentally spilled some water, so that was why she had to fetch the mop from the cottage and then take it back.  She was just taking it back, when the police arrived.

 

i also needed to grab

a mop because after dinner raffael had spilled a lot of water on the

floor of his kitchen by accident and didnt have a mop to clean it up.

so i arrived home and the first abnormal thing i noticed was the door

was wide open. 4 Nov 2007 Email to all.

MOP

 

The mop Amanda ferried backwards and forth in Perugia, between the cottage and Raff’s apartment.

In his statement to the police, 5 Nov, Raff doesn’t mention anything about a flooded kitchen or leaking/burst pipes at all.

Statement to police 5 Nov 2007:

QA I have known Amanda for about two weeks. From the night that I met her she started sleeping at my house. On November 1st, I woke up at around 11, I had breakfast with Amanda then she went out and I went back to bed. Then around 13:00-14:00 I met her at her house again. Meredith was there too. Amanda and I had lunch while Meredith did not have lunch with us.
QA Around 16:00 Meredith left in a hurry without saying where she was going. Amanda and I stayed home until about 17:30-18:00.
QA We left the house, we went into town, but I don’t remember what we did.
QA We stayed there from 18:00 until 20:30/21:00. At 21:00 I went home alone because Amanda told me that she was going to go to the pub Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends.
QA At this point we said goodbye and I headed home while she headed towards the center.
QA I went home alone, sat at the computer and rolled myself a spliff. Surely I had dinner but I don’t remember what I ate. Around 23:00 my father called at my home number 075.9660789. During that time I remember Amanda had not come back yet.
QA I browsed at my computer for another two hours after my father’s phone call and only stopped when Amanda came back presumably around 1:00.
QA I don’t remember how she was dressed and if she was dressed the same way as when we said goodbye before dinner.
QA I don’t remember if we had sex that night.
QA The following morning around 10:00 we woke up, she told me she wanted to go home and take a shower and change clothes.

By the time they are arrested 5 Nov 2007, and in prison, 6 Nov 2007, the lie begins to develop bells and whistles:

The questions asked by the agents of the Squadra Mobile made me remember that that day the water pipe under the sink had detached itself and this fact makes me very suspicious since it is not possible for it to detach itself. In any case, the fact is that it flooded half the house. (Raffaele Sollecito Prison Diary 7 Nov 2007)

 

So already, Raff is trying to preclude he had anything to do with their detachment.  He is anxious that police are suspicious that the pipes under his sink seem to have been manually dismantled.  His initial reaction is to claim not to know anything about it, and implies to police someone else must have done it ‘since it is not possible for it to detach itself.

Raff’s father, a doctor specialising in urology, came forward to explain to police Raff had indeed mentioned the pipe’s leaking when he last spoke to Raff, at 20:42, on the phone, before the murder.  Therefore, there can be zero connection between the leak and the murder.  Straight away, our minds are concentrated on why the Sollecitos are keen for police and the courts to disregard the leak.

Trial Judge Massei, in his Motivation Report, convicting the pair, established that Papa Raff, being as he is, a respectable upright citizen, could not have been lying when he said Raff mentioned the pipes leaking after washing up and ‘there had been a flood’. His last call to his boy was 20:42, yet in her various testimonies Amanda moves the leak further and further back from, 21:45 to 22:30 and 23:30.  Why?  What can it mean?

20:42:56 Raffaele’s phone has a call, and is located in Corso Garibaldi (p339). The call is from his father, who has just come out of the movie theatre and recommends the film; Raffaele mentions the leaking pipe in the kitchen to him; Amanda and Raffaele must therefore have finished dinner around this time (p341, p384). Raffaele tells his father that he is with Amanda, and will be with her the following day as well, having in fact organised a trip to Gubbio; he mentions noticing the water leak while he was washing the dishes (p52). TJMK Timeline for 1 Nov 2007, based on Massei (by Catnip)

raff plumber 2

Unfortunately for Amanda, developing her half-lie into a full-blown one, in her statement to the police 6 Nov 2007, she had said they ate after 23:00 and after that the ‘pipes under the sink broke‘ as they washed up.  At the trial, she kept up the later time, despite the phone evidence it cannot have happened after 20:42, if Dr Sollecito is to be believed.

 

AK:
It was after supper. We had eaten very late, perhaps around 11.30, and then we made love and then we went to sleep.
GCM:
Did you smoke the joint before, during, or after this moment of intimacy?
AK:
What?
GCM:
The joint, when did this take place?
AK:
After supper, after the water leak.
GCM:
Before you had got together, you and Raffaele Sollecito, is that right?
AK:
Yes, what happened? He was very annoyed by the fact that this thing … this tube … the water came out of this tube. He said: “Come on, we’ll put …” perhaps a towel, but then no, then he said: “Oh, let’s roll a joint”, like that.

And then something happened to the faucet of the sink?

AK:

Yes. While Raffaele was washing the dishes, water was coming out from underneath. He looked down, turned off the water and then looked underneath and the pipe underneath “got loose” [in English, the lawyer translates “broke” (si e rotto), the interpreter translates “slowed down” (si e rallentato)] and water was coming out.

GCM:

Can you say what time this was?

AK:

Um, around, um, we ate around 9:30 or 10, and then after we had eaten and he was washing the dishes, well, as I said, I don’t look at the clock much, but it was around 10. And…he…umm…well, he was washing the dishes and, umm, the water was coming out and he was very “bummed” [English], displeased, he told me he had just had that thing repaired. He was annoyed that it had broken again. So, umm…

LG:

Yes. So you talked a bit. Then what did you do?

AK:

Then we smoked a joint together. What we did is, we said all right, let’s find some rags, but he didn’t have a “mop” [in English] how do you say “mop”? [The interpreter translates “lo spazzolone”, the lawyer “il mocio”] he didn’t have one, and I said don’t worry, I have one at home, I’ll bring it tomorrow, the leak is in the kitchen, it wasn’t like it smelled bad or anything, we could just forget about it for the night, and then think about it tomorrow. So, we went into his room, and I think I, yes, I lay down on his bed, and he went to the desk, and while he was there he rolled the joint, and then we smoked it together.

Friday 12 June 2009 Amanda testifies

Trial testimony 13 June 2009:

 

GM:So, I wanted to know something else. At what time did the water leak in Sollecito’s house?
AK:
After dinner, I don’t know what time it was.
GM:
Towards 21, 21:30?
AK:
21, that’s 9? No, it was much later than that.
GM:
A bit later? How much?
AK:
We had dinner around…10:30, so that must have happened a bit later than that. Maybe around 11 [slow voice as though thinking it out, lots of ‘I don’t really know’ gestures].
GM:
And then, the next morning, at what time did you go to Sollecito’s house to clean up the water? Was the water still on the floor?
AK:
There still was a bit, there still was a bit of water on the ground, but not too much to clean up.
GM:
From 23:00 onwards, at what time did you go to his house to clean up the water?
AK:
Twenty-three…okay. The next morning, I didn’t look at the clock, but I went to my house around 10:30. And then I went back, it must have been before midday.
GM:
What day are we talking about?
AK:
We’re still talking about Nov 2.

 

 

 

Remember, according to Raff’s father, the leak was over by 20:42, before the time of the murder.  Thus, we can guess the leak is actually a significant event that was indeed connected to the murder.  The pipes were dismantled and whilst Amanda wanted to explain there was water, which ‘Raff accidentally spilled’ on the floor, and that’s why she had a mop, Raff, on the other hand, tried to distance himself from it, in the earliest police interviews, describing it as ‘suspicious’ as ‘pipes don’t detach themselves’.

So, why did Amanda claim it was much later, ‘after 10:30’ at least?  And we see their two stories begin to correlate into a script by the time of the trial.  A clue is in her earliest statement to the police.  She told police 6 November 2007 the leak was after 23:00, so, no doubt, her lawyers advised her to remain consistent to her original story.

In regards to things I know for sure happened the night that Meredith was murdered was that Raffaele and I ate fairly late, I thought around 11 in the evening, although I can’t be sure because I didn’t look at the clock. After dinner I noticed a little blood on Raffaele’s hand, but I was under the impression that it was blood from the fish. After we ate Raffaele washed the dishes but the pipes under his sink broke and water flooded the floor. But because he didn’t have a mop I said we could clean it up tomorrow because we (Meredith, Laura, Filomena and I) have a mop at home. I remember it was quite late because we were both very tired (though I can’t say the time). (AK statement to police 6 Nov 2007)

ak mop

Amanda also needed to be consistent with what she wrote in the early hours of 4 Nov 2007 in her email home to the world.  But wait, there’s a dilemma.  In that email, she said ‘Raff spilled the water accidentally.’  Whoops!  No matter, Amanda, being somewhat of a wordsmith and skilled at being less than frank, and a stranger to the truth, gets around this in her letter to her lawyers 9 Nov 2009 and ‘spilled’ becomes ‘the water spilled from the leaked pipe.’

I told them [we] watched the movie Amelie together, that we ate dinner [tog]ether, that after dinner Raffaele washed the dishes and spilled water on the floor when the pipes came loose. I told them that [we] smoked hash somewhere in that time but I couldn’t remember [mo]re. (Letter to lawyer 9 Nov 2007)

We can reasonably deduce from this, it was important for the pair to establish they were caught up elsewhere in a domestic crisis as of the time of the murder.  The fact-finding Massei Court established the mean likely time of death was between 22:30 and 23:30. Far from being suspicious and incriminating – dismantling the pipe in a clean-up operation – Amanda and Raff can instead use the ‘half flooded house’ to their advantage, as an alibi.

However, come 2013, Amanda can relax and breathe again, and this time the clock winds back to 21:15 as a nod to Papa Sollecito:

After the movie ended, around 9:15 P.M., we sautéed a piece of fish and made a simple salad. We were washing the dishes when we realized that the kitchen sink was leaking. Raffaele, who’d already had a plumber come once, was frustrated and frantically tried to mop up a lot of water with a little rag. He ended up leaving a puddle. Waiting to be Heard 2013

 

So now the ‘half-flooded house’ is just ‘a puddle’.

Strangely, she leaves out the curious observation about the ‘blood on Raff’s hand’ she so graphically recounts to the police on 6 Nov 2007.

Raff in Honor Bound 2011, too, has acquired a whole palette of gilt paint in the intervening years as he gilds the lily lavishly, with a tale of woe about how he’d only just had a leaky pipe in the previous week; he’d bought something to fix it (putty?) but the pipes somehow managed to detach themselves.  Note how their stories now nicely complement each other.

However, it is just one short paragraph, as Raff doesn’t want to dwell on this mishap for too long.

Today’s tale is a far cry from his 7 Nov 2007 Prison Diary entry: ‘the fact is that it flooded half the house’ to Amanda’s testimony in court 2009, ‘then he said: “Oh, let’s roll a joint”.   By the time of their books, 2011 and 2013, why, the pipes were always leaking, in fact, it had happened just the week before, we are assured, in retrospect.  Even Raff’s landlady is wheeled out to say, yes, we had leaky pipes.

But, hey! It’s a plausible explanation for the Vileda mop…Is it?  As a flourish around the edges of the lily, Raff later claims Amanda proceeded to mop his floor on the morning of 2 Nov 2007, lest anyone have any doubt as to what the mop was for, whilst he pottered around making breakfast after she arrived back from the cottage, late morning.  The ‘puddle’ from twelve to sixteen hours ago, is still there, it seems.

So, what can we deduce to be the real incident of the pipes in the night-time? We can safely disregard Francesco Sollecito’s statement that his son said it happened before he rang 20:42 him on the murder night.  He is a scared father protecting his son and his own reputation.  Amanda’s anxiety to make it coincide with the time of death informs us that the leak is indeed a part of the crime scene.  The developing tale of  how ‘the pipe was always leaking’ and Raff’s early desperation to deny the pipes’ detachment was anything to do with him, informs us it was everything to do with him.  Yes, there was a leak, but that leak was caused by Raff, himself ,unassembling the U-Bend of his sink, causing the police great suspicion, hence we have the story that first, it was water spilling from Raff cooking pasta, then it was a ‘burst pipe’ and then it was a faulty repair which spontaneously fell apart.  The pressing need to deny the mop had anything to do with murder clean up, notifies us that it had everything to do with the murder clean up.

The sheer amount of water that ‘half flooded the house’ was the result of a massive clean-up operation; the washing machine had just completed a cycle when police arrived and freshly used bottles of bleach were found under Raff’s sink, together with bins full of used latex gloves and rags.  However, the pair have an explanation for all of this.  Of course they do.
As Dr Francesco Sollecito MD, urologist, famously said, “We can make water run uphill”.

Under the sink – Police video at Sollecito’s apartment 16 Nov 2007

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Sources:

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com The Murder of Meredith Kercher wiki

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php  True Justice for Meredith Kercher

 

 

 

 

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