Father of tragic Meredith hits out over 'horrific' scenes in US drama

The father of murdered Yorkshire student Meredith Kercher has criticised a television drama which depicts her screaming in terror as her killers pin her down.

John Kercher said the production, in which Heroes actress Hayden Panettiere plays American killer Amanda Knox, contained "absolutely horrific" scenes.

Images from a trailer for the film show Miss Kercher, 21, played by Amanda Fernando Stevens, being grabbed by actors playing Knox's accomplices, Italian Raffaele Sollecito and Ivory Coast drug dealer Rudy Guerde.

In another scene, the Leeds University student's body is shown partially covered by a duvet on her bedroom floor, just as she was found in the cottage she shared with Knox on her year abroad in Perugia, Italy.

Mr Kercher, from Coulsdon, Surrey, said: "To actually see it like this is very distressing.

"The scenes are absolutely horrific. It's awful what these film people have done."

The film, called Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy, is scheduled to air on US channel Lifetime on February 21.

Billed as being "based on a true story" with the tagline "There are two sides to every story", the film questions whether Washington University student Knox committed the murder in November 2007.

The blurb reads: "Knox was painted as an over-sexed, remorseless killer during her two-year trial leading up to her conviction and subsequent sentencing to 26 years in jail."

Clips in the trailer show Knox's on-screen mother, Edda Mellas, saying: "She's kind, she's gentle," while an actor playing Diya 'Patrick' Lumumba, the barman Knox falsely accused of the killing, seethes: "She's evil."

The film will be screened midway through an appeal by Knox, 23, and her ex-boyfriend Sollecito, 26, which, if successful, could result in their guilty verdicts being overturned or their sentences being cut.

Defence lawyers recently won a full review of the evidence used to convict the pair after disputing forensic material presented during the trial.