Was Chris Watts having an affair with another man? UPDATED

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There seems to be a little corroboration to support the Gay Man Mistress scenario. However, one wonders whether the man’s description of Chris Watts’ car and home didn’t simply come from watching the news or snooping on Facebook. Something similar happened with John Mark Karr in the JonBenet Ramsey case. His “inside knowledge” turned out to be not so inside at all – it turned out anyone who’d been paying a lot of attention to the media would have known what he knew. The same could be true here.

Here’s People’s latest tease on the whole idea:

Chris’ alleged ex-lover, whom HLN said had been sought out by their team, said that he and Chris were allegedly in an approximately 10-month relationship after meeting online last June.

They saw each other off and on through the spring, ending things in March or April, the man said.

His story has not yet been independently corroborated by news outlets, including PEOPLE, but his account of an alleged relationship with Chris does contain details about Chris’ life that are not readily available online and in public documents. Identifying information about Chris’ truck and his home matches PEOPLE’s reporting.

A source close the investigation tells PEOPLE that Chris has had relationships with both men and women outside of his marriage.

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If this part is right, then Chris Watts shares the same trait with Scott Peterson. Peterson was cheating on Laci since even before they were married, and then throughout their marriage. Laci appeared either unaware of it, or pretended not to know if she did.

It’s hard to imagine Shanann would have pretended not to know, especially if the affair involved another man. Perhaps she found out, or perhaps she was murdered before she could find out. Perhaps part of who Chris Watts felt he needed to be involved not being married and not being a father.

According to the Daily Mail “the other man” and Watts met after chatting via dating app MeetMe just a short time before Shanann. Celeste and Bella were murdered.

‘He reached out to me and messaged me,’ the man alleged. ‘It was small talk. He told me his age. He had two daughters. 

‘He told me he was looking for a relationship in the long run. I asked why his profile said straight. He said he was not out and not ready to be out as far as sexuality.’

‘We had many conversations,’ the man told Banfield. ‘I asked him to make sure he’s not bisexual cause he had two children. He told me he didn’t know. At that moment he was attracted to me as a male.’

The bombshell allegations even state that the man spent time with Watts’ family.

With the anonymous person speaking to Banfield, telling her Watts lied about his relationship status and reassured the man that he and Shanann ‘didn’t have sex anymore’.

‘Bella made a comment… She asked if she could sleep with him and mommy,’ he said. ‘That’s how I found out he was married. I asked why he lied to me. He told me he knew he wouldn’t have a chance with me if he told me he was married. He told me what I wanted to hear. He knew I had good morals.’

And then here is where it gets dodgy and in my view, less than credible:

According to the interviewee, Watts told him his spouse [Shanann] was ‘verbally and emotionally abusive,’ that ‘he didn’t love her’ and that ‘she didn’t love him’.

At this point it’s very early, it’s just hit the media. Trent Bolte is the man in question.


Bolte [whose twitter feed is protected] describes himself as Nurse, MUA, beauty guru, boy who loves makeup. I like dancing, jenga, cheddarwurst, and inspirational speaking. My passion-EVERYTHING.

He also appears to be an ex-stripper based on his bio hashtag.

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Since Shanann worked in a children’s hospital, it’s possible she met Bolte through her work.

The Twitter profile is located in Casper, Wyoming, which makes the claim feel like a stretch. Casper is about 270 miles from Frederick, Colorado, or 4 hours drive.

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A guy on Reddit was saying the caller interviewed by HLN was very hesitant in his answers, and had to be prodded repeatedly. He says his gut instinct is this is a con.

Another post on Reddit:

He posted on fb about the affair, stating that it’s a witchhunt to find watts mistress

Is it a rumor or is there substance to it? Is it a guy just wanting attention? What does your gaydar say?

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Chris Watts is definitely very well groomed and appeared in shape when interviewed.

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In terms of True Crime Intertextuality, there’s the Shrien Dewani case. Dewani was engaged to a beautiful Indian bride and was murdered on her honeymoon. Although Dewani was implicated he was ultimately acquitted. It later transpired he was a closet bisexual. Read about that here.


Further reading on this topic: 

Chris Watts: Bisexual or Not?

Chris Watts: The Psychology of Bisexuality

Christina Giscombe reviews SLAUGHTER

This is a blockbuster of a book covering:

  • Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook)
  • Stephen Paddock (Life is Beautiful Concert, Las Vegas)
  • Tsarnaev brothers (Boston Marathon Bombings)
  • Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech)
  • Nikolas Cruz (Parkland, Florida)
  • James Holmes (‘Dark Knight Rises’, Aurora movie theatre, Colorado)
  • Matti Saari (Kauhajoki College, Finland)
  • Beslan school siege, Chechnya


There is also a detailed reference to John Hinckley Jr, would-be assassin of Ronald Reagan in Washington DC, as an example of the use of the ‘insanity’ plea, which James Holmes attempted to emulate by acting ‘crazy’ in court at his trial, with his bright orange hair and faux staring eyes.

nikolas-cruz-mug-shot-credit-broward-sheriff-office-and-instagram-v1We tend to look at these killers as monsters.  The callous disregard and lack of empathy for their victims makes our blood run cold.  The sadism and cruelty involved in the senseless slaughter of innocent concert-goers, high school pupils or cinema goers is incomprehensible to us.

The Columbine killers, Klebold and Harris, not content with planting over 99 bombs, lay in wait for their prey to come running out of the school doors so they could shoot down the fleeing teenagers as they believed they were escaping.  This shows a sang-froid, in that there is an element of deliberate torture rather than a straightforward ‘revenge for all the bullying’.

The Columbine killings happened eighteen years ago, amongst the first high school massacres of modern times, yet still it provides a blueprint for copycat killers today, the most recent being Nikolas Cruz in Florida.  What is it about Columbine that leads to this phenomenon?

Nick Van der Leek gets under the skin of what this is all about, behind the lurid headlines.  Police psychologists at the time claimed it was not possible to draw up a profile of a high school killers from the Columbine incident.  However, many mass murders and school massacres later, Van der Leek would dispute this view, as his intricate analysis of each event, his thorough examination of the psychological, philosophical and moral issues involved, has enabled him to formulate a clear profile.  He sets out a conclusion of what each of the killers has in common with the others.

The author identifies several common factors, which includes the Freudian concept of anal fixation which holds that a person whose development is arrested at this early unconscious level will be obsessed with detail, routine and accuracy to a near unreasonable degree.

There isn’t any psychoanalysis involved in the book, but the term ‘anal’ is a useful shorthand description by Nick of the salient personality trait.  Another is high anxiety levels.  Social anxiety can be particularly acute in adolescence, when rejection by one’s peers can tip an already fragile teen over the edge.  As a society, we have winners, so there are ipso facto ‘losers’.  Van der Leek shows how being a ‘loser’ as all of his examples are, militates as a simmering resentment in the sufferer, like a steaming pressure cooker about to blow its lid,  culminating in a murderous desire to wreak revenge on the perceived popular, successful, happy peers, who are blamed in the loser’s mind for the loser’s ‘reject’ status.


Stephen Paddock in Vegas.

Whilst Van der Leek rejects a genetic factor – Lanza’s features seem to show a congenital problem and Stephen Paddock had a sociopathic ‘most wanted’ bank robber father – seeing this as the easy explanation, instead he tries to pinpoint why each of the most notorious killers has such an apparent lack of humanity. Where does it come from, this cool regard for others as objects that can be picked off like sitting ducks, like a swarm of ants going about their busy lives that can be extinguished with just one stamp of the foot, as it were.  From whence does this cruel brutality emanate?

Van der Leek can supply some answers to these questions by looking at the common memes, the symbology, the ‘manifestos’, stories, videos, texts, social media and wargaming software of the virtual world of outgunning your adversaries online and how the lines blur between fantasy and reality.

We meet Lanza’s dysfunctional mother (whom he shot dead first, before advancing onto the elementary school in Connecticut to commit one of the worst school shootings known).  There is the surreal casino world of the ever-disintegrating inner life of Paddock, who picked off 53 concertgoers from a hotel window in Chicago.


The pious but feral Tsarnaev brothers and their amazing police chase and shoot-out across Boston, a few days after the bombings.  Cho, Cruz and Saari are all shooters considered weird by their contemporaries, and we examine their cowardice, their adolescent quasi-Nietzschean nihilism, through their manifestos, contacts with extreme ideologies and their professed sense of alienation from their fellows.


There is the wealthy Holmes and Hinckley and how their parents try to buy their killer offspring off their murder raps (or attempted murder in Hinckley’s case).  This is underscored by the appalling tragedy of Beslan where hundreds of young children were killed all for the sake of ideological and political terrorism.  Yet, for all the claimed high-mindedness of the hostage takers, Van der Leek identifies the same type of anal-sadism driving the cruel brutal behaviour towards fellow human beings, especially women and children who are innocent civilians in all this.

This book is unique, as I am not aware of another book that has gone into so much depth, outside of the Manson killings or Columbine ones.  If you want to know what makes these ‘monsters’ tick and understand the profile of what personality traits they are most likely to exhibit before they commit their atrocities, or even if you just want a jolly good ‘true crime’ read, this is the perfect interactive Kindle publication for you.

Slaughter can purchased on Amazon at this link.



Oscar Pistorius Anniversary: Revisiting Reeva’s Perspective


Who was Reeva when she lost her life? One of the more obvious ways of answering this question is by looking at the profile pictures she used on Facebook and twitter to present herself.

You might laugh and say a selfie really doesn’t say that much, but that depends on the depth or shallowness of the self in question. Reeva wasn’t shallow, and what’s more, as a brand ambassador, her social media was – and had to be – a tangible extension of Reeva herself. It was both Reeva, how she saw herself, and how she wanted to be seen.

How did she wanted to be seen? Well, like this:


This was the image Reeva used as her twitter profile, as well as her background picture on Facebook. As Reeva put it, “a classic model.” That’s how she wanted to be seen, and at 29 years of age, it made sense to have a more mature vibe about her.

On Facebook, Reeva was in the process of spinning off a public, less personal profile. Before she did, she used this image [in fact it was a composite] to communicate another, a more assertive, sexier femme fatale.


The message of this Reeva was black and white: I know who I am, it’s my time now, I mean business so don’t mess with me [wink].

The recent film told from Reeva’s perspective touches a little on Reeva’s softness and her assertiveness. But what did they base their premise on?

Have you noticed, Lifetime, the channel that made Blade Runner Killer have recently removed the words “told from Reeva and her mother’s perspective” from their description of their film?  The only record we have that they even used these words is from the media themselves, who cited this premise from their press release and website.

Odd isn’t it, to have the movie premised on Reeva’s perspective, and then to edit out your premise?

Irrespective of whether your film’s premise is edited in or out, it still remains the same, doesn’t it? Blade Runner Killer is the first film about this case told from Reeva’s perspective.

In any event, in July 2014, shortly after publishing Revelations, the first narrative to explicate in detail a referenced timeline making the case for premeditated murder [not even the state did that], a description of the murder from Reeva’s perspective provided at the very end of the book, I gave the following interview.

The timing was ominous – Oscar’s PR was going into high gear, hoping to sabotage the court narrative with the “poison apple” of the re-enactment video.  If the prosecution had referred in any matter whatsoever to the broadcast on channel 7 [which Oscar’s defense claimed wasn’t authorized by them], Oscar’s advocate could have asked the judge to declare a mistrial. If a mistrial had been declared, Oscar would have been set free, and could then set about pursuing his accusers…like me.

It was in this “knife-edge” scenario that I gave the following interview…

Van Breda: Monday’s Closing Arguments – what to expect?

More than three years have passed since the grotesque triple murders that rocked the affluent De Zalze Estate in Stellenbosch on January 27th, 2015. Monday, February 12, 2018 will mark the 64th day of this extraordinary trial, a trial about a third longer than the Oscar Pistorius trial which stretched to 43 days.

During the three years following the murders of his parents and brother, triple-murder accused Henri, who was barely 20-years-old at the time [he’d emerged from his teenage years just three months before the murder], has matured. He’s become handsome, more confident and, if he had a stutter, at 23 he’s a well-spoken young man.


During the three month hiatus since Judge Desai reluctantly postponed proceedings [at the behest of Henri’s advocate Pieter Botha], Henri and his girlfriend have relocated yet again, while Marli continues to live with a teacher in an undisclosed location. Marli would also have received her matric results some time in early January.

On February 12th, when the court reconvenes, what can we expect?

  1. Expect fireworks. The public are often of the view that the first day of a trial, and the last day, and perhaps the accused’s evidence, are the sum total of a trial. The closing arguments are a distillation from opposing counsels of matters of fact. A certain amount of conjuring is done here, to persuade a judge either that there is absolute certainty on a particular issue, or that there is absolute uncertainty. Both counsels must juggle which facts they wish to bolster, which facts of the defense [common cause] they wish to use against the opposing case, and how best to discredit or otherwise make a mess of opposing argument, while making their own seem logical and consistent.  Although a guilty person may have certain truths playing against them, the fact is, a defense counsel has access to the accused, and thus is in possession of a much greater context of information, which can be used to poke holes in a prosecutor’s contentions and speculations.166c0444b5b64675be5959d39831c92c
  2. First strike. Advocate Susan Galloway will go first, presenting the state’s final closing arguments. These are likely to fill at least the morning session.  Going first has a few advantages. The state starts with a clean slate, and if their arguments are clear and vivid, they can powerfully shape and control the mindset no matter what comes afterward.
  3. How long will the arguments last? In the Pistorius case, Gerrie Nel’s closing arguments on August 8th, 2014 [about 18 months after the incident] lasted all day, until 15:00. Once the state was done, Barry Roux asked for an adjournment so he could marinade in the state’s contentions, and kick off with his own, perhaps slightly fine-tuned arguments the next morning. Even Oscar packed away his notebooks as a subtle nudge to indicate his preferences.  Judge Masipa consulted with court officials and then elected to sit for “another half hour.”  Roux’s closing arguments were thus broken into two segments, but effectively, he also got the last word.620x349rth
  4. Getting the last word, especially if one provides powerful insights, twists and turns right at the end, can and sometimes does change the outcome of case. Think of Johnny Chochrane’s famous closing: “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” So yes, a closing can discolor the original mindset portrayed by a prosecutor, and foist the all-important doubt onto a court that a defense must rely on to get their client off the hook. Expect Botha’s epilepsy narrative to feature strongly as their “game-changer”. weapons-750x458
  5. Closing arguments will not only summarize the respective cases, they also serve to highlight and emphasize the strongest points from each side. What do you think is the strongest aspect of Galloway’s case? Leave a comment and let’s see which aspects she chooses to emphasize. What’s the strongest element of Botha’s case? Does he even have a case? Leave a comment, and let’s see how evenly matched both counsels are.
  6. After closing arguments, court adjourns so the judge [there are no juries in South Africa] can apply his or her mind to the case. In the Pistorius case, the adjournment was for about a month. Arguments were heard on August 8th and 9th, and Masipa adjourned until September 11th. The verdict phase in the Pistorius case lasted two days, and shoddy as the original verdict from the court a quo was at the time, it was unanimous. Masipa and her two assessors inexplicably found Oscar not guilty of murder, premeditated or otherwise.
  7. After the verdict is it over?  Three months after Oscar was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to a ridiculous 10 months imprisonment [effectively], the state applied for leave to appeal, and Masipa granted it. Judge’s usually grant appeals, although Masipa refused leave to appeal when the state applied after the second sentence – 6 years for murder – was seen to be too light as well. The state then applied directly to the Supreme Court of Appeal, who granted the appeal and directly elected to sentence Oscar themselves [to an effective 15 years, less time already served].

In the Van Breda case, I expect there to be an appeal after the verdict, which suggests that although the Van Breda case appears to be over at the beginning of 2018, in fact, it’s likely to be a long period of legal struggle, in my view, for Henri.

Bear in mind that five years after Reeva Steenkamp’s murder, that case still hasn’t been concluded either. Oscar has appealed the Supreme Court’s sentence, to the Constitutional Court, and presently remains in legal limbo.  The state have filed opposing papers, and now the Constitutional Court must decide whether it’s willing to consider Oscar’s application. The Constitutional Court usually doesn’t involve itself in ordinary criminal cases.HenriBreda3

Only the mega rich have the resources to take their cases through the legal washer, and so it’s a matter of access to his enormous inheritance, whether Henri will follow the path pioneered by South Africa’s highest-profile convicted murderer yet.

Sidenote: Interestingly, on the five year anniversary of Reeva Steenkamp’s murder, no South Africans have made any documentaries, and no local reporters have written on the case at all since the Supreme Court of Appeal verdict in December 2017. In the Van Breda case, although three books were written, there’s been a vacuum of reporting on this case since the adjournment in November 2017. When it comes to trial reporting in South Africa, the media seem to have a season for reporting, and an off-season. South Africa is a unique case of a crime infested country that still needs to play catch-up to the true crime trends in other countries. 

Ray D’Arcy to Amanda-Waiting-to-be-Heard-Knox: “Why do you *keep* coming out to tell your story?”

Fullscreen capture 20180204 174325Every time Amanda Knox steps out of the cozy confines of Seattle, vitriol follows. Every time she’s asked to relate the events surrounding Meredith Kercher’s murder, she tells the same less-than-convincing story. So why does she keep doing it? by Nick van der Leek

Overall I found Amanda Knox’s demeanor in this interview to be suitably grave, until the moment she spoke about what she calls “the single victim fallacy”, and then dug the hole even deeper when she sang Come Out Ye Black and Tans, complete with an Irish accent, and then couldn’t stop laughing.

It’s this behavior that caused a riff not only between Knox and Meredith, or Knox and Meredith’s friends, but it’s what’s made her something of a misfit before and after the crime, and to the present day.

In the context of living together, a new lodger singing loudly and frequently, just being inappropriate constantly at inopportune moments eventually gets old, and then it gets irritating. Meredith eventually conveyed as much to her friends and her sister.

At 1 hour 9 minutes into D’Arcy’s interview with Amanda Knox which aired Saturday January 3rd, 2018, D’Arcy says, in the context of Meredith not being the only victim: “So you were wronged as well?” Knox answers unabashed: “Yeah!”

D’Arcy then offers an interesting insight into how he sees the whole debacle. If it was him, knowing what Knox had endured [in the media, in Italy and elsewhere], he said he’d stay home, close the door and pull the curtains.

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D’ARCY: Why do you come out and tell your story?

KNOX [Sighs heavily]: Well…one…reason is because a whole load of people have authored my experience, for me, and they’ve done a terrible job of it. Um…I feel like…my story belongs to me. And I’m the only one who can…tell it…TELL IT!

Not the noblest of reasons then, for wanting to be heard.  Interestingly, Knox didn’t actually author Waiting to be Heard, it was ghost written by Linda Kuhlman, and as narratives go, was pretty thin around the pertinent issues at hand.

When the New York Review of Books published their review of Waiting to be Heard, it was titled Amanda in Wonderland. The author of that article was taken aback by the publisher’s contention that Knox was telling the full story of what happened to her, from her point of view for the first time.

In reality, the story had been told inside out, drawn through the washer of four individual trials, explicated in dozens of books [including Sollecito’s which came out before Knox’s], analyzed in hundreds of magazine articles and circulated in thousands of newspaper columns in many languages. Blogs and counter blogs erupted, wiki sites and counter wiki’s dueled online, along with true crime forums entirely dedicated to one case. Knox herself, and her family, saturated the media with coverage of her that was more akin to a PR campaign than anything else.

In terms of Knox’s ability as writer, she’s not yet authored her own standalone work, despite claims in a People magazine article recently that she was working on another memoir titled Lady Justice.

In November 2017, coinciding with the ten year anniversary of Meredith’s murder [Knox’s claim to fame as she sees it, but infamy in fact] she wrote an article titled Mourning Meredith.

It starts as follows:

Ten years ago tonight, my friend was raped and murdered by a burglar when she was home alone in the apartment we shared while studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. 

In fact, Meredith was not raped, and neither was she murdered by a burglar. Whether Meredith was home alone is also a matter of some dispute. In other words, in just a single sentence from an article penned by Knox herself, one can see how full of crap her writing is.

….a whole load of people have authored my experience, for me, and they’ve done a terrible job of it…

To date I’ve written two trilogies on the Knox case, one, Deceit, – the most reviewed of 71 books currently published on Amazon – was quickly but briefly banned.

All the books I’ve published on Knox have been heavily trolled, earning negative reviews within hours of publication.

I’ve written about a number of high profile criminals, but Knox’s army of supporters are by far the most aggressive and vindictive.  That said, some of Knox’s critics are also some of most obsessed in the true crime genre.

Knowing the case file, and understanding what Knox has gotten away with, it’s difficult not to be angered by Knox.

Ten years later, Knox is back trying to claim ownership of “her” story [the story about how she didn’t murder someone]. By saying “my story belongs to me”, it sounds as if Knox is pitching for some sort of second book or movie deal; she seems mostly adamant about making a financial case for “her” story.

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In Knox’s February 3rd interview, I was surprised at two things above all:

Firstly, by how often she referred to herself as a slut or a whore. In the archives I’ve gone through, and remember, I’ve written two trilogies with two final books on the way,  it’s not accurate to say that’s how she was depicted in the media, then or now. I’ve not depicted her that way, nor in those terms, and I can’t say I’ve come across those depictions, other than occasionally on social media. So who is Knox referring to? The Italian police circa 2007?

Knox also seems to be trying to cotton-on to the #MeToo movement, except it doesn’t quite work. Or does it? Perhaps I’m in the wrong demographic.

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The second thing that surprised me was when Knox became emotional, and just how emotional she became. She chokes up and seems to start crying. Knox first becomes tearful as she describes Lumumba’s family having the “Jesus” [actually it’s the “bejesus”] scared out of them. Knox doesn’t mention that she could simply have told the police she’d been mistaken at any time afterwards, and Lumumba would have been off the hook.

I’ve listened to many prison intercepts immediately after her arrest [Knox, Sollecito and Lumumba were arrested and jailed on the same morning] yet Knox doesn’t communicate the sort of remorse we see on TV, or mention Lumumba to her parents. She’s never adamant to them that he’s innocent, and that it’s her fault he’s in jail.

Imagine how that conversation might have gone if it happened.

KNOX: My boss, I accused him and he’s in jail but he didn’t do it.

MOM: Why’d you do a thing like that?

Because I tell lies? Because I’m a liar?

KNOX: Um…look, the point is he’s innocent. Will you make sure Mignini gets that message?

MOM: Okay but if he’s innocent, who did it? Why did you falsely accuse him?

Fact is, she falsely accused him and the accusation remained in force even when her memory cleared. While he was under arrest it was to her benefit. It was only when Rudy Guede was found, that Lumumba was released about two weeks later, but by then the damage to his reputation [thanks to Knox] was done.

Isn’t it ironic, Knox petitioning for the rights of falsely accused person’s, when that’s exactly what she did to him?

As easy as it is to be duped by  her emotion – and it may well be sincere, in the sense that a narcissist’s sense of victimization is piercing – just nine minutes after the tears she’s singing and laughing uncontrollably. That’s Amanda Knox for you.

Knox, overall, seems to have aged a lot more than ten years since the murder in 2007. There’s something gaunt and sterile about her now. The frivolity is still there, one can see that in Knox’s goofy logic and in the dress code of her oddball boyfriend Christopher Robinson.


Coming back to the original question:

Why do you come out and tell your story?

In studio, Knox casts about towards the ceiling, in search of the most appropriate response. Knox has had ten years of practice – writing about it, performing in front of cameras, reading about herself and thinking about it – how to portray herself just right.

Why do you come out and tell your story?

Well, because you’re innocent, right? Oh no, that’s passé.

For Meredith. In order to set the record straight in terms of justice, and to assure them that Knox is above reproach. No, that’s passé too.

Because you want to set the record straight, once and for all, after ten years you finally have it all down to bite sized chunks. No, during this interview she essentially glosses through things just as she did in her book, with the exception of the break-in to Filomena’s room.

It’s odd that, because that was the first thing she mentioned in her memorial to Meredith:

Ten years ago tonight, my friend was raped and murdered by a burglar…

She leaves that out during her run through of arriving home and finding weird things. There’s an open door, there’s poop, and there’s splodges of blood in her bathroom. No big deal, she has her shower and heads off.

Besides the burglar narrative, what’s missing from the umpteenth reiteration of the story?  There’s just no reason for Amanda Knox to check on Meredith. Meredith’s the only resident that’s supposed to be home that weekend, and she’s supposed to Knox’s friend [according to Knox].

Also, Knox knew Meredith was supposed to be home, but unless people researched elsewhere for the full context, they wouldn’t know that much of Perugia had decamped for the long holiday weekend. Knox naturally doesn’t tell them that while everyone had gone to be with their family and loved one’s, Meredith and herself were exceptions.

In the last couple of narratives I’ve done, I’ve made it explicit via a detailed timeline, that despite Knox’s contention that she was spending all her time at Sollecito’s, actually, she wasn’t. In fact, within a few days of their dalliance they appeared to be not getting along very well, and Knox seemed to be cheating on her new Italian love. Sollecito says as much in his memoir, noting it wasn’t easy getting his thesis done while Knox sang Beatles songs, kept him awake and woke up at the crack of dawn.

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They even spent Halloween apart – Knox partying with…who again?  Because it wasn’t Meredith and her friends.

As it stood, when Knox went home for her shower, Meredith was already dead, and it was her blood in the basin, and some of Amanda Knox’s blood too.

In her book, the one she sold for $4 million, in her published version of events, during her first visit to the villa, Knox notices the front door open and Filomena’s broken window and showers anyway.

Here’s a quick recap of the pertinent narrative highlighted in pink:

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Fullscreen capture 20180204 182759-002Knox calls Filomena afterwards to tell her her room’s been broken into [so Filomena can sort of take responsibility for the crime scene] and then decides to check in to Seattle too, right then, even though it’s around 01:00 on the other side of the world, and it’s been weeks since she called her mother.

Filomena has to tell Knox to call Meredith, and Knox’s mother has to tell her to call her roomates [and later the police], but she waits until they arrive, and then Sollecito calls to report a break-in where “nothing has been taken”.

Meanwhile, Filomena’s worried about Meredith, and Knox is worried about poop that’s not even in her bathroom.  The blood? It’s no biggie.

The poop of course belonged to Rudy Guede, and so highlighting that to the cops from the get-go was an early ploy to get the cops focused on a third suspect. But who would know to do that?

Knox, unperturbed about Meredith, tells the police it’s normal for Meredith to have her door locked. It’s eventually Filomena’s friend who breaks the door down to reveal a bloodbath, with Meredith at the center of it. While Filomena screams, Knox is mute, and Sollecito kisses and comforts her outside.

Why do you come out and tell your story?

Is Knox aware that her friend is dead? How long has she been aware?

Why is Meredith’s door locked?

Why would a murderer who didn’t live there, lock the door behind him/her, and why are bloody shoe and footprints partially washed away?

Who would be more likely to clean up a crime scene – someone who lived there, or someone who didn’t?

Why do you come out and tell your story?

And why does Knox return to Sollecito carrying a mop and bucket on that day of all days. She was well-known among her roommates to be something of a slob.  She had to be reminded to wash and clean-up after her. it was another pet-peeve with Meredith.

Also, why is Knox’s reading lamp on the floor in Meredith’s room, when the door’s kicked open?

Why do you come out and tell your story?

So if Meredith was supposed to be home, and there was blood, why not knock on her door and say, “Hey, you okay?” There’s no reason to do that if Meredith’s dead, although a clever storyteller would do that.

Of course this lack of care and consideration for Meredith is the theme of the whole interview with D’Arcy. Knox doesn’t waste a breath talking about the things Meredith has missed out on over the last 10 years.

When Knox is asked about her friendship with Meredith, she immediately begins fudging. She doesn’t have much to say about Meredith, “out of respect.”

If your neighbor accused you of stealing his car when you were honeymooning in the Caribbean, why would you come out and tell your story, ten years after the false accusations?

If you’d written a book about your lousy neighbor, and were paid $4 million for it, might the reason you’d be back not be to sell more books? Perhaps you’re thinking of settling down and starting your own family, and you’re in need of a nest egg. Perhaps your not extremely successful partner is pressing for this too. And the fastest way to earn dosh is to talk about how you didn’t steal your neighbor’s car?

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Amanda Knox was so wronged, she earned a $4 million advance on her book, and continues to do speaking engagements at $7000 a ticket – which doubles as PR for the book that earned those millions.

Her co-accused, Raffaele Sollecito was also offered a $1 million advance on his book.

But ten years later the money is mostly gone, the story has been wrung out, and Meredith remains murdered without sufficient explanation or recompense.


The Trilogy Revisited

“There’s no denying My Family and Other Animals captures the magical nature of childhood.” Moonshake Book review

magical childhood

While it plays well on paper, a family member shooting a pet dog even by accident is somehow less funny [and seems less realistic] when conveyed on television. The death of Achilles, Gerry’s first pet – a tortoise that fell down a well – is also sketched in comic terms.

gerry and turtles

Once again what plays well on paper:  Margo’s suggestion of forcing strawberries down [Achilles’] throat (to give him, as she explained, something to live for) somehow plays less well when actually dramatized. In the context of Gerry becoming a world famous naturalist in real life, this appropriation of doomed or damaged pets for reasons of comic relief seems disingenuous rather than charmingly eccentric.

Leslie’s love for guns within the context of a budding naturalist also irks, not just because killing animals is the antithesis of conservation, but because it somehow feels embellished.

Leslie unpacked his revolvers and startled us all with an apparently endless series of explosions while he fired at an old tin can from his bedroom window.

Larry endorsed My Family as “a very wicked, very funny, and I’m afraid rather truthful book…”

I’m afraid he may have been right on the first two counts, but not the last. As much as seaside mansionthere is an impression of not having any money, the Durrells nevertheless employ a chauffeur and a chef. Whatever the deprivations of their accommodations, they lived in a sumptuous seaside mansion. So what’s going on here?

It may seem silly, sixty years after the book was published, a book that was prescribed reading when I was in high school, this serious effort to deconstruct the narrative psychology behind The Durrells. But there is a method behind this silliness. It is to contrast the idyll that is the Corfu Trilogy with the true story of the Durrell clan.

Some may think that silly too, until we begin to fully contextualise the brokenness that gave rise to these happy tales, and then bend this process of compulsive fictionalising and reinvention back onto society and ourselves.  The full extent of the contrivance is less entertaining than it is tragic.

It’s then that we can seriously ask – and seriously answer the original question.

Do fairy tales do any harm?

The point of this process is less to point fingers than to simply understand how the process works, and perhaps remind ourselves how ubiquitous a seditious psychology is, not only in popular entertainment, but in our own compulsive consumption of it.

We find not only is it all too common, it is a profoundly damaging psychology with severe, sometimes unfathomably severe consequences. I will illustrate how severe by digging into an archive of similar writers, as well as my own diary.

When the temptation arises [as it will] to become dismissive of an investigation into the impact of fairy tale commerce on the psychology of children, it may be useful to invoke a true crime analogy.

Time and again criminals appear in court, called to account for the most egregious of accusations. In the case of Oscar Pistorius, we have a celebrity alone at home with his girlfriend. Shortly after 3am on Valentine’s Day he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to death, four shots through a locked bathroom door.

In court, instead of an account for why he murdered his girlfriend, we get a fairy tale involving a burglar. The fairy tale is defended by his legal counsel and preposterous as it sounds, believed, ultimately, by the presiding judge.  It demonstrates that we live in a world where many cannot tell the difference between fact and fiction even in a courtroom.

Before the nightmare, Oscar supposedly was living a fairy tale life, but that isn’t true either. The able-bodied narrative turned out to be a fairy tale too.

We make the mistake, just because a crime hasn’t been explicitly committed, to be dismissive of fairy tales, and to dismiss the tellers and the tales.

So, coming back to The Durrells, even if there are a few inconsistencies in a television series, it’s not as though a crime has been committed, right?

… doesn’t matter a jot…

Well actually, a great deal of harm does come from compulsive escapism.  Like the compulsive eccentricity of a jogger, we might look on from the side-lines and clap, assuming that exercise, even manic exercise, is mostly harmless.

One feature that seems to define the Durrell canon is its eccentricity. Some things simply don’t add up, don’t make sense, but it’s just part of its charming eccentricity, right?

The book is simply one hell of an uplifting and beautiful read from a gifted writer.

Of course, it is much much more than that.

THE OTHER DURRELLS is available on Amazon