The father of murdered British student Meredith Kercher collapsed in mysterious circumstances near his south London home before dying in hospital, an inquest has heard.
John Kercher, 77, was found with injuries to his arm, ankle, face and ribs in Windmill Road, Croydon, on January 13, 2020.
He was rushed to hospital but could not remember anything that had happened and died of pneumonia on February 1.
An inquest at South London Coroner’s court on Thursday heard how police have been unable to determine whether he fell or was the victim of a possible hit and run.
Jonathan Kercher pictured near his home in Croydon. Police have not been able to determine the circumstances surrounding his death after he was found collapsed on the street on a wet and windy night
John Kercher, 77, was found collapsed on the sidewalk of 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 received a lot of media attention
The court heard Kercher lay injured on the road with his arm outstretched, but no one saw how he got there despite extensive public pleading.
Officers and his son Lyle conducted door-to-door searches in the area, but no CCTV footage could be found to secure a breakthrough.
Detective Sergeant Zoe Hendrick, of the Metropolitan Police, told the hearing: “Two pieces of CCTV have been found. Because it was a dark, wet and rainy night, it was impossible to figure out how he got out into the street.
‘After house-to-house investigations and calls from the media, nothing came to light.’
Ambulance staff found Mr Kercher with a fracture to his right ankle, left upper arm, ribs and the side of his face, and a cut on his left eyebrow.
He is said to have been ‘in distress’ before being taken to Croydon University Hospital for further treatment.
Doctors discovered that he had low blood pressure and his heart rate was checked accordingly.
Two days later, however, Mr. Kercher developed breathing problems after developing pneumonia.
The next day, on January 17, he was placed on a ventilator and operated on for his injuries.
His breathing got better in the week before he died, but he did not regain consciousness when sedatives were removed and doctors decided to put him on end of life after talking to his family.
John Kercher is pictured with Meredith’s mother Arline and sister Stephanie during a press conference in Italy in November 2007
Arline (left), John (center) and Stephanie Kercher (right), relatives of murdered British student Meredith Kercher, address a press conference in Perugia September 15, 2008
Assistant coroner Dr. Julian Morris noted a narrative conclusion of pneumonia and traumatic injuries.
He said: ‘He suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had previously had a stroke.
On the evening of January 13, 2020, he was found injured, conscious but confused, in the middle of the street. He couldn’t remember how he got there.
Ambulance and police arrived and he had fractures to his upper arm, legs, ribs and the side of his face.
“Despite their investigation, the police were unable to explain how he got on the floor, despite inquiries, a media appeal and CCTV search and investigation.
He was treated in hospital for his injuries and required more respiratory support. He had to be intubated and required a tracheotomy, but although his sedation was reduced, he did not wake up and went on to receive end-of-life care.”
John’s daughter, 21-year-old Meredith, was murdered during a student exchange trip to Perugia, Italy, in 2007.
She was sexually assaulted before being stabbed to death in a case that attracted a lot of media attention.
Rudy Hermann Guede, who was 20 at the time of the murder, was found guilty of assault and murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison after his DNA was found at the scene.
Rudy Guede, 33, was convicted in 2008 of the murder of 21-year-old Kercher in Perugia, Italy in November 2007. He denies the murder of Kercher. [File photo]
A vigil is held by University of Leeds staff and students to commemorate murdered student Meredith Kercher
However, his sentence was later reduced to 16 years on appeal.
In 2017, he was partially released from prison to attend school and earn a master’s degree.
He has also been cleared to continue the remainder of his term of office, which ends in March 2022, through community service.
Meredith’s American roommate Amanda Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of her murder, but were later acquitted on appeal.
Knox spent four years behind bars but was released and returned to the US in 2011 after her conviction was overturned.
She was tried again in 2014, but did not return to Italy for the trial and was convicted a second time.
Kercher’s case attracted massive media attention, much of it focused on her roommate Amanda Knox, now 33, pictured 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 finally acquitted in 2015. Pictured: The former couple in 2007
In 2015, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned her second conviction and ended her legal proceedings.
Since settling in Seattle, she has written books advocating for people who have been wrongly convicted of crime and participated in a Netflix documentary about her case.