UK

Father of Meredith Kercher was found in street near home before dying from pneumonia, inquest told

Mystery surrounds the death of the father of murdered British student Meredith Kercher after an inquest heard he was found in the street near his home with fractures across his body, with no evidence of what happened shortly before.

John Kercher, 77, was found with injuries to his arm, ankle, face and ribs in Croydon, south London on January 13, 2020.

Police have been unable to establish whether he fell or was the victim of a possible hit and run, an inquest at South London Coroner’s Court was told.

The court heard that Mr Kercher was found lying injured in the road with his arm stretching out, but no one witnessed how he had ended up there despite extensive public pleas. 

Officers and his son Lyle conducted door-to-door searches of the area, but no CCTV footage could be recovered to provide a breakthrough.  

Detective Sergeant Zoe Hendrick, of Metropolitan Police, told the hearing: ‘Two pieces of CCTV were found. As it was a dark, wet and rainy evening it was impossible to identify how he had come to be in the street.

‘Following door to door enquiries and media appeals nothing came to light.’

He was rushed to hospital, but had no recollection of what had taken place and eventually died from pneumonia on February 1.

Mr Kercher was the father of Meredith Kercher, the British student who was sexually assaulted and killed in Italy in 2007 in a case that attracted global attention.

Jonathan Kercher pictured near his Croydon home. Police have been unable to establish the circumstances around his death after he was found collapsed in the street on a wet and windy night

John Kercher, 77, was found collapsed on the pavement yards from his home in Croydon, south London. He is pictured with his daughter Meredith who was murdered in 2007

John Kercher, 77, was found collapsed on the pavement yards from his home in Croydon, south London. He is pictured with his daughter Meredith who was murdered in 2007

Meredith Kercher was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in a case that garnered huge media attention

Meredith Kercher was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in a case that garnered huge media attention

Ambulance crews found Mr Kercher with  a fracture on his right ankle, left upper arm, ribs and the side of his face, and had a cut to his left eye brow.

He was said to have been ‘in distress’ before being taken to Croydon University Hospital for further treatment. 

Doctors found he had low blood pressure and, accordingly, his heart rate was monitored.

Two days later, though, Mr Kercher began encountering breathing problems after developing pneumonia. 

The next day, on January 17, he was placed on a ventilator and operated on for his injuries.  

In the week before he died his breathing got steadily better, but he did not regain consciousness as sedatives were removed and doctors decided to place him on end of life care after speaking to his family.

Assistant Coroner Dr Julian Morris recorded a narrative conclusion of pneumonia and traumatic injuries.

He said: ‘He had suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had previously had a stroke.

‘On the evening of 13 January 2020 he was found injured, conscious but confused, in the middle of the street. He did not recall how he had come to be there.

‘Ambulance and the police attended and he had fractures to his upper arm, legs, ribs and the side of his face.

‘Despite their investigations, police were unable to account for how he came to be on the floor despite enquiries, a media appeal and searching for and examining CCTV.

‘He was treated in hospital for his injuries and required increased levels of respiratory support. He had to be intubated and required a tracheotomy but, although his sedation was reduced, he did not wake up, and he was then given end of life care.’

At the time of the death, the Met Police’s detective sergeant Steve Andrews said: ‘Despite thorough enquiries made so far, including speaking to witnesses and examining potential CCTV opportunities, we’ve not as yet been able to establish how he came to sustain his injuries, which included a broken arm and broken leg.

‘We are keeping an open mind as to the circumstances of his death, including whether he may have been involved in a collision.’ 

A Met Police spokesman added: ‘Police are appealing for witnesses and information following the unexplained death of a man in Croydon.

‘Officers were called at approximately 7.30pm on Monday, 13 January to reports of a man found collapsed suffering injuries on Windmill Road in Croydon.

‘The 77-year-old man was taken to a south London hospital for treatment. He remained in hospital but died from his injuries on Saturday, 1 February.’  

John Kercher is pictured with Meredith's mother Arline and sister Stephanie at a press conference in Italy in November 2007

John Kercher is pictured with Meredith’s mother Arline and sister Stephanie at a press conference in Italy in November 2007 

Arline (left), John (centre) and Stephanie Kercher (right), relatives of slain British student Meredith Kercher, address a news conference in Perugia September 15, 2008

Arline (left), John (centre) and Stephanie Kercher (right), relatives of slain British student Meredith Kercher, address a news conference in Perugia September 15, 2008

John’s daughter, 21-year-old Meredith, was murdered on a student exchange trip to Perugia, Italy, in 2007.

She was sexually assaulted before being stabbed to death in a case that drew huge media attention.

Rudy Hermann Guede, who was 20 at the time of the murder, was found guilty of sexual assault and murder and sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment after his DNA was found at the scene.

However, his sentence was later reduced to 16 years on appeal.

In 2017, he was granted partial prison release to attend school and get a master’s degree.

He has also been granted permission to continue the remained of his term, due to end in March 2022, through community service. 

Meredith’s American flatmate Amanda Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of murdering her but were later cleared on appeal.

Knox served four years behind bars, but was released and returned to the US in 2011 after her conviction was overturned.

She was retried in 2014, but did not return to Italy for the trial and was convicted for a second time.

In 2015, though, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned her second conviction and brought an end to her legal proceedings. 

Since settling in Seattle she has written books advocating for people wrongly convicted of crime and has taken part in a Netflix documentary about her case. 

Rudy Guede, 33, was convicted in 2008 for the killing of 21-year-old Kercher in Perugia, Italy in November 2007. He denies murdering Kercher [File photo]

Rudy Guede, 33, was convicted in 2008 for the killing of 21-year-old Kercher in Perugia, Italy in November 2007. He denies murdering Kercher [File photo]

A vigil is held by staff and students at the University of Leeds to remember murdered student Meredith Kercher

A vigil is held by staff and students at the University of Leeds to remember murdered student Meredith Kercher

Kercher's case drew huge media attention, much of which centred on her housemate Amanda Knox, now 33, pictured centre in 2008 [File photo]

Kercher’s case drew huge media attention, much of which centred on her housemate Amanda Knox, now 33, pictured centre in 2008 [File photo]

Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 36, were convicted of Kercher's murder in 2009 before being acquitted, convicted again and then finally definitely cleared in 2015. Pictured: The former couple in 2007

Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 36, were convicted of Kercher’s murder in 2009 before being acquitted, convicted again and then finally definitely cleared in 2015. Pictured: The former couple in 2007


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