THE father of murdered student Meredith Kercher is revealing his horror at the murder in a new book.
Entitled Meredith: Our Daughter's Murder And The Heartbreaking Quest For The Truth, John Kercher's account of his loss comes six months after Amanda Knox walked free from prison in Italy, acquitted of the crime.
While a number of books on the murder case that grabbed international attention have been published, this will be the first to emerge from a Kercher family member. It gives the 21-year-old victim's father the chance to tell his story at least six months before Knox, from Seattle, tells her version.
Publisher HarperCollins acquired the rights to Knox's memoir for a reported ¤3m and have tentatively scheduled its publication for 2013.
While Knox's book promises a "full and unflinching account of the events that led to her arrest in Perugia and her struggles with the complexities of the Italian judicial system", Mr Kercher's will celebrate his daughter's life. The 304-page work is also billed as "a father's story of losing a beloved daughter, and the first account of the torment the family have suffered and their ongoing quest for justice".
In it, he describes the moment he learned that the young woman whose death in the Italian university town had been widely reported was his daughter.
"I had been unable to get through to Meredith on her mobile, which was very unusual, but I tried to keep calm by telling myself the victim couldn't possibly be Meredith," he wrote. "The call eventually came from the foreign desk of a national newspaper, from a young girl I hadn't spoken to before. That call ended my world as I knew it...
"I shall never forget her words. 'The name going round Italy is Meredith.' I dropped the phone. I didn't believe it. Not my beautiful Meredith."
Although Miss Kercher's family has spoken out previously, they have given few media interviews and kept a far lower profile than Knox's family as they struggled with their grief.