Meredith Kercher's Family Testifies at Knox Trial

Family of slain British student Meredith Kercher calls her "conscientious."

ByABC News
June 6, 2009, 11:59 AM

PERUGIA, Italy, June 6, 2009— -- It was quiet and somber in the Perugia court today as the parents and sister of murder victim Meredith Kercher took the stand to speak of the "conscientious and intelligent" girl they had sent off to Italy to study but who never came back.

Meredith Kercher, 21, an exchange student from Leeds University in England, was found dead -- strangled and with her throat slit -- in the Perugia apartment she shared with American student Amanda Knox and two Italian women. Meredith died Nov. 1, 2007, exactly two months after she arrived in this picturesque university town.

Her roommate, Knox, 21, and Knox's former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 25, are on the stand in Italy accused of her murder, along with a third person, Rudy Guede, 22, who was convicted to 30 years in prison for his role in her murder last October.

In a courtroom with relatively little press or public, and with U.S. media noticeably absent, the Kerchers were straightforward and dignified when quietly giving their testimony -- even in the face of the two young people, who were their daughter's age, who they believe killed her.

But the pain of their loss is still strong.

"Her death was unreal in many ways," said Arline Kercher, Meredith's mother, "and still is. I still look for her."

She said the brutal and violent nature of her death made it even worse. It had brought everyone "great sorrow," she said. "We will never, never get over this. It's such a shock to send your child to school and not have her come back."

Meredith's sister, Stephanie, spoke about their relationship, which she said was very close, and about Meredith's excitement about going to study in Italy.

"She was really looking forward to coming," said Stephanie Kercher. "She wanted to make the most of her year in Italy, she wanted to pick up the language and learn about the culture."

And Meredith Kercher was excited about the chocolate.

Both her parents and her sister recalled her enthusiasm for the chocolate with smiles.

Meredith "chose Perugia because it was small, it had good airport connections -- and it had a chocolate festival," said Arline Kercher.