Translated story originally written by Rosa Scognamiglio: https://www.msn.com/it-it/notizie/italia/guede-la-sera-del-delitto-il-carcere-la-libert%C3%A0-la-mia-verit%C3%A0-su-meredith/ar-AA14xfEv
Guede: “The evening of the crime, prison, freedom. My truth about Meredith”© Provided by Il Giornale
“I should have done more to help Meredith. That’s the only regret that I’ll have forever.” Rudy Guede, now 35 years old, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison for complicity with “unknown persons” in the murder of Meredith Kercher, which took place in Perugia on November 1, 2007, confides this in an interview. The courts determined that he was not the one who held the knife that killed Meredith Kercher.
In 2021Guede was released from prison after obtaining a reduced sentence. He is employed and has written a book, in collaboration with journalist and writer Pierluigi Vito: “The benefit of the doubt, my story” is the title. “This book was born from the desire to tell who I am and clarify the procedural story that overwhelmed me”, he explains, specifying that part of the proceeds from sales will be donated to charity.
Rudy Hermann Guede: “you read as you write”, not ‘the French spelling’. He immediately makes it clear in the first lines of his book. Did it bother you a lot that for years someone misspelled your last name?
“The French-speaking pronunciation is not wrong. The point is that since I’ve been in Italy everyone has always called me Guede, just as you spell it. I was ‘il Guede’ to friends and acquaintances. When, during the years of the trial, I heard Ghedé pronounced – in French, in fact – I did not identify with it, it was not me. And then it seemed that it was done almost on purpose to emphasize, in a negative way, my Ivorian origins”.
The title of the book is simple but effective: “The benefit of the doubt. My story”. Why did you feel the need to tell your life?
“This book was born from the desire to tell who I am and to clarify the procedural story that overwhelmed me. So many lies have been told about me. It would have been easy enough for people to read the court documents and ask people who really knew me, to know who Rudy Guede really was”.
What do you mean?
“They described me as a robber, drinking and doing who knows what. And to think that I was also acquitted ‘for not having committed the fact’, precisely, from the crime of theft in Meredith’s house, even if this is never reported or even the opposite is said. I am not saying that I am an impeccable person or that I have never made mistakes. During adolescence I certainly did some but let’s talk about stunts, trivial things that any kid may have done”.
His childhood was, let’s say, a bit turbulent from the point of view of family stability. How much has the lack of a united and present family affected your growth path?
“It made a lot of impact. I especially missed the fact that I didn’t have my mother by my side. I arrived in Italy very young, I was five years old. I lived with my father and new partner but she had no great sympathy for me. I was in my first year of elementary school, I remember, when I had to learn to cook to feed myself. I couldn’t find anyone to welcome me when I came home from school, I had to provide for myself for everything. Do you know what it’s like to grow up without a mother’s hug or kiss of a bedtime, knowing that you live on another continent? It is a circumstance that inevitably marks you deeply”.
But in Italy he was welcomed and liked by many people. Mistake?
“Very true. Starting with the teacher Ivana and her children: they were like a second family for me. I met many beautiful people who flooded me with affection and warmth. And for that I will be forever grateful.”
Despite the ups and downs, until the age of 20, everything runs quite smoothly. Then comes that “cursed day” – as the prosecutor Giuliano Mignini called it – of November 1, 2007. In the book he writes that he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Did you feel, to some extent, a bit of a victim of this tragedy?
“The victim of this story is Meredith. And her family who is forced to live with inexhaustible pain. When I say ‘I was in the wrong place at the wrong time’ I mean that I was young and didn’t have the tools to deal with that situation. I let myself be overcome by fear. In fact, that’s the only big regret I’ll have forever.”
What does it refer to?
“I should have helped Meredith. I should have rushed out of the house in Via della Pergola that evening and shouted for help, called for help. And instead, I repeat, I got scared and ran away.”
What do you remember about Meredith Kercher?
“The sweet smile. She was a cheerful, nice and intelligent girl.”
In his story, in reference to the events of that evening, he mentioned the name of a person: that of Amanda Knox. He says he saw and recognized her on the driveway of the house in Via della Pergola. Are you still convinced it was her?
“What I wrote in the book and also in the proceedings of the trial. I don’t have to say anything else.”
In an interview with the weekly “Oggi”, Amanda Knox said of her that although she paid her debt to society “she remains a criminal”. Do you want to reply?
“As they say in these cases: ‘no comment’. I’m going my own way.”
Prison has taken many things away from him – he wrote it in the title of a chapter – but it has also given him the opportunity to put his life in order. He graduated and worked consistently. Have you ever thought that, perhaps, prison was good for you to ‘straighten out’?
“Prison in itself does not give you anything: it is you who must put effort and a lot of good will. Not all prisoners want to get back into the game, to study and learn new things. Prison ‘gives’ you if you are willing to welcome what comes. In my case, I must say, I was also very lucky. I’ve met some great people who have supported me.”
How does having freedom again feel like?
“My soul has always been free, even when I was in prison. Regaining freedom, in the physical sense, meant reappropriating time and space. It is as if my soul has rejoined the body. That’s what I was about, finding freedom.”
Allow me an “obnoxious” question. Can you clarify, once and for all, the question of the residence permit: do you have it or not?
“In the morning I work at the Centro Studi Criminologiche in Viterbo, where I take care of the library, and in the evening in a restaurant where I have a permanent contract. Do you think they would hire someone who does not have the documents in order? The answer seems obvious to me.”
Returning to your book, there are two expressions that struck me pleasantly. About your father, you wrote: “Sometimes, however, time gives a second chance.” Did you catch it?
“I think so. I have a fulfilling and satisfying life from all points of view. I can say I’m serene.”
The other expression is about your teacher Ivana: “Only time will show us what will flourish in you”. Who is Rudy Guede today?
“A man who has matured and grown. I work, I try, as I can, also to help others, I have friends and a love life that gives me joy. After all, when you have received good, you can only reciprocate by doing your utmost for the less fortunate people. I continue to strive hoping to become, day after day, the best version of myself.”