Fabio D'Astolto's Testimony (English)

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Contents

Summary of Fabio D'Astolto's Testimony

  • Fabio D'Astolto testified that he was born in Australia and moved to Italy at 14. His native tongue is English and he was called to the police station the day Meredith's body was discovered because they needed officers that could speak English.
  • D'Astolto describes Knox and Sollecito as talking in hushed tones. They were also hugging and sometimes laughing.
  • D'Astolto described an incident when Knox was requested to submit her fingerprints for exclusion. As D'Astolto accompanied Amanda Knox to the Scientific Police she started to hitting her head with both her hands repeatedly. Jump to relevant part of testimony

Fabio D'Astolto's Testimony (English)

This is an English language translation of the testimony. See Fabio D'Astolto's Testimony for the original Italian transcript.

Thank you to Catnip from the PerugiaMurderfile.org community for this translation.

GCM Giancarlo Massei Judge Presidente
GM Giuliano Mignini Prosecutor Pubblico Ministero
MC Manuela Comodi Prosecutor Pubblico Ministero
FDA Fabio D'Astolto Witness being questioned Perugia Police Officer
CDV Carlo Dalla Vedova Knox defense lawyer Avvocato
LG Luciano Ghirga Knox defense lawyer Avvocato
GB Giulia Bongiorno Sollecito defense lawyer Avvocato
INT Intervention
July 18, 2009

Transcript of testimony given in the hearing of 13 March 2009, pp 68-84

Depositions of the witness Fabio D’Astolto The witness, admonished pursuant to Article 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code, reads the oath.

Particulars: Assistant Fabio D’Astolto, with the Perugia Police – Flying Section; born 22 July 1972 in Sydney (Australia).

Judge Massei

GCM:
Mr Prosecutor

Public Prosecutor, Dr Mignini

GM:
You on the date of 2 November 2007 were in service at the Perugia Police Station, in which office in particular?
FDA:
I was at the Flying Section of the Station.
GM:
You were born in Australia?
FDA:
Yes.
GM:
Your mother tongue is English?
FDA:
Yes, yes, I lived in Australia until 14 years of age, I studied several…
GM:
I wanted to know this, you remember the murder of Meredith Kercher, you took part in investigation activity or anyway had been called in relation to the investigations that were being carried out?
FDA:
I had been simply called as someone knowing English the afternoon of the 2nd.
GM:
Do you remember the exact time?
FDA:
It was afternoon but the exact time, exactly I don’t remember.
GM:
Were you there in the Police Station?
FDA:
I was at home and then they had called me from the Station saying that they needed a person who obviously knew the English language, I did nothing else but take the car and go to the Station.
GM:
You knew that Meredith Kercher was dead and how she died?
FDA:
No.
GM:
What did you know?
FDA:
I knew that there was a decease, but how…
GM:
Knew from whom?
FDA:
Yes, then when I had arrived at the Station that I went to the office they had mentioned that there was an English girl but I absolutely didn’t know how this girl had died.
GM:
So it could even have been a natural death?
FDA:
For me it could have been a natural death, suicide, I don’t know, anything.
GM:
So no one had informed you?
FDA:
No.
GM:
So you arrive at the Station and then what happens?
FDA:
I arrive at the Station, I go into the Inspector’s office, I go in, I sit down beside the Inspector and I begin, in quotes, to translate what they were asking me and then I was referring, that is I was re-translating the words of the signorina.
GM:
You’d spent…
FDA:
This was my job. Miss Amanda.
GM:
You’d spent how many hours at the Station?
FDA:
A lot, up until around seven in the morning, more or less.
GM:
You had in practice carried out the functions of an interpreter?
FDA:
Yes, simply translating what was asked and then the reply.
GM:
By Amanda Knox?
FDA:
Yes.
GM:
Can you say what behaviour Amanda had?
FDA:
Her behaviour was, in my opinion, enough…
INT:
No, not your opinion, let’s avoid evaluations!
GCM:
Like a photograph.
FDA:
Yes. Her behaviour was one thing only, in the sense that it seemed to me to be something calm enough, as if absolutely nothing had happened, this was her behaviour.
GM:
Were there also other girls?
FDA:
Yes, there were other friends, I think acquaintances, anyway there were other girls inside the Station, at the Flying [Squad] and they were all obviously tried.
GM:
What were they doing?
FDA:
They were calmly seated, they were really… some were crying, some where a bit distressed obviously by the event.
GM:
Amanda, you had seen her also waiting to be heard or else you’d seen her only in the…
FDA:
I had seen Amanda for the entire span of time that I was inside the Police Station because obviously then we were there also with the other persons, every now and then I was accompanying some girl down to get something to drink, something to eat, we have a little automatic machine, a vending machine downstairs, so if they needed anything we were always obviously at their disposal.
GM:
You saw her with Sollecito in the Station?
FDA:
Yes, yes.
GM:
This when, before being heard or after?
FDA:
After.
GM:
And after what was she doing?
FDA:
There’s a small waiting room there by the Flying Squad offices where there was obviously everyone, the ones who were waiting to be heard etc etc, their behaviour they were kissing each other, they were hugging, every now and then they were laughing.
GM:
Were they talking to each other?
FDA:
Yes, they were talking also between themselves.
GM:
Were they talking in a loud voice?
FDA:
A lowered voice, I in fact had heard absolutely nothing of what they were saying. They were talking amongst themselves.
GM:
But they had said something at that moment or one of the two…
FDA:
Every now and then, I remember that Sollecito asked me once: “But what time are we finishing?” and I had simply told him: “a bit of patience, we’ll try and finish as quickly as we can”, to stay calm for a sec, it takes what it takes.
GM:
You heard her first at the beginning, that is you’d translated the questions and the answers.
FDA:
I had simply translated the questions that the Inspector had asked and then I’d referred obviously to Amanda, always asking her: “you’ve understood?” and then as Amanda was giving me the reply I simply retranslated for the Inspector.
GM:
She was demonstrating an ability to in part understand Italian?
FDA:
Yes, yes, she was understanding also because I more than once had asked her “Have you understood? Do I need to repeat the question?”, so.
GM:
Then you had also seen her subsequently? Had there been things ascertained?
FDA:
Yes, then I think that it was around four, now I don’t remember well, in the morning obviously, I had accompanied her down where there’s the Scientific Police to take her prints, for the mugshots basically. We had gone down, no problems, then at a certain point along the corridor, right in front of the Scientifica there’s a corridor, she was walking up and down in a quite nervous manner and every now and then she was taking her hands and she was putting them like this on her head, she was hitting herself a bit like this. I at a certain point I started to get a bit worried, if she was feeling ill, I don’t know. Then I asked: “Do you need some water? Do you want a coffee? Do you want to sit down for a bit? Don’t worry yourself, stay calm” and I remember that she had turned round as if to say… in fact she’d said to me: “no, no, I don’t want anything, I don’t need anything”. I’d left it at that, I’d said: “OK, it’s no trouble at all’, if you don’t need anything”.
GM:
These blows she was giving herself…
FDA:
Basically she was making this gesture here.
GM:
Were they strong?
GCM:
A gesture where she was lifting both her hands simultaneously to the height of her temples?
FDA:
Yes, of her head.
GCM:
Repeatedly?
FDA:
Yes.
GM:
She was hitting herself on the head with her hands or just lifting her hands to her head and that’s it?
FDA:
No, no, she was hitting herself.
GM:
You have said in the statement of 21 December 2007 “strong enough”, you were saying that she was hitting herself rather hard, at page 10.
FDA:
Yes I confirm that.
GM:
You then tried, you insisted?
FDA:
Seeing this scene I became worried and asked her: “Do you need some water? Do you need a coffee? Do you need something? Do we want to go a bit to the machines and get something?”
GCM:
This, when is it that… what time are we at, what day are we at, can you make it precise?
FDA:
It was around four in the morning of the 3rd, so at night basically, around four in the morning if I’m not mistaken. Nothing, I asked her if she needed anything, she turned round and said, “no, I don’t need anything!”, “sorry, OK”.
GM:
Did you by chance hear what they were saying to each other, what she was saying?
FDA:
No.
GM:
What she was saying not only to Sollecito, but in the event to the other girls present, to the young English people for example?
FDA:
No, I don’t remember having heard anything, also because she was whispering quietly.
GM:
And after having taken her to the Scientifica she left there?
FDA:
Yes, then I accompanied her back up.
GM:
How was she after the mugshots actually?
FDA:
She was calm enough and settled herself back down in the waiting room.
GM:
So these blows to the head, she was giving them to herself before going to the Scientifica?
FDA:
While we were downstairs, when we had gone down to the Scientifica…
GB:
Mr President excuse me because while I’ve been talking to Sollecito, and asking him questions, we have documents on the computer, it’s an electronic instrument…
INT:
It’s linked to the Internet, Mr President!
GB:
incomprehensible – overlap of voices
GCM:
Everybody! Please, I point out that the order of proceeding in this hearing at this moment is… given the defenders may speak with each other, there are no particular security reasons for which the accused need a different location, they can remain where they are, they can talk and also consult the documents they’re consulting. Please continue…
FDA:
Then actually while we were down at the Scientifica, I repeat around four in the morning, more or less that was the time, we had gone down, at the moment in which we had entered the corridor where there was the door to the Scientifica, she started to walk up and down the corridor making this gesture of lifting her hands.
GM:
Multiple times, this?
FDA:
Multiple times, yes.
GM:
But you had asked her questions? Had there been something, had you encountered someone?
FDA:
Nobody, we hadn’t encountered anybody, I had taken her and accompanied her downstairs.
GM:
And as soon as you had arrived downstairs…
FDA:
As soon as we had arrived downstairs we entered into the corridor where the Scientific is she had started to make this gesture and to walk obviously nervously up and down the corridor.
GM:
You didn’t occupy yourself with asking any more questions?
FDA:
No, absolutely.
GM:
Then you accompanied her back and that was it?
FDA:
I’d accompanied her back up and then I did other things.
GM:
I have no further questions.

Defence – Ghirga: Counsellor Ghirga, Amanda Knox defence

LG:
Counsellor Ghirga, Amanda Knox defence. It was the 2nd of November when they called you, true?
FDA:
Yes.
LG:
Now 15:30 or 16:30 we’re in the Police Station. You were at home, you said?
FDA:
Yes.
LG:
Was your morning shift finished, or else were you on holidays? You were at home?
FDA:
Yes, I was at home in any case.
LG:
And they were calling you for?
FDA:
They were calling me saying…
LG:
You were at home, but I asked you: had you finished your shift, were you on holidays?
FDA:
Honestly I don’t remember. I was simply at my home where a call arrived from the Station saying that they needed a person who knew English. No problem, I did nothing else but take the car and go into the Station.
LG:
So you take the car and go to the Station?
FDA:
Yes.
LG:
Why are you still today saying: “for me, it could have been an accidental death?” If they were calling you that first afternoon, you go to the Station…
FDA:
For only a bit.
LG:
You’ve used this expression.
FDA:
Then, for a bit only…
LG:
Mr President he cannot contest what I’m saying!
FDA:
No, I’m not contesting anybody, if you make me respond I will explain.
GCM:
He’s not contesting, he’s waiting to be able to respond.
FDA:
If I’m made to respond I will explain everything.
GCM:
The defence is asking how come they were calling you at home…
FDA:
They called me at home.
GCM:
You knew if there was…
FDA:
No, absolutely, I went up to the Station, I entered the Inspector’s office, I sat myself down and I began to translate, that’s it.
LG:
I’m a step before that, you have said: “for me it could have been an accidental death”, yet you say: “once I arrived at the Station I was informed about something”, is that so? Relating to the death of the girl.
FDA:
Now then after ten minutes or so, twenty minutes, I don’t remember perfectly now, obviously I tried to understand what might have happened, but I was aware that there had been a decease, but I was unaware for what reason.
LG:
A couple of questions on the modality of exercising the interpretative activity.
FDA:
Yes.
LG:
So you get to be called because you know English, you’ve said, and it couldn’t have been anyone else but, who was translating Inspector Ficcara’s questions.
FDA:
Yes.
LG:
Therefore questions in Italian translated into English for Amanda Knox, Amanda was replying and you were translating into Italian the replies given in English?
FDA:
Yes.
LG:
Is that so?
FDA:
Yes.
LG:
You were translating the questions and you were translating the answers?
FDA:
Exactly.
LG:
In the first three pages of the statement of the 2nd, which is in the case file, I don’t see one question, can you explain why?
FDA:
By question is meant, obviously in the moment in which we were taking the summaries [the SIs] it needed a second to say: “What do you call…”
LG:
No, no, no, excuse me for interrupting, you’re going ahead. I don’t see one question asked by Inspector Ficcara and translated by you, how come?
GCM:
Counsel is asking, in the statement you had said…
LG:
Not the personal details or the address.
GCM:
You’ve said that you were translating the questions that were being put to Amanda Knox, but Counsel is saying: “I can’t find the questions in the statement”.
FDA:
In the moment in which I was being asked to translate what it was called, where it was obviously needed to formalise the summaries.
GCM:
Yes, but at the moment of the exposition of the facts, who was transcribing it into the record?
FDA:
The Inspector.
GCM:
You were translating into Italian and into English?
FDA:
Yes.
LG:
Then he doesn’t remember, he doesn’t know why the questions were not translated.
MC:
But translated or transcribed?
LG:
Listen, in the first three pages there isn’t…
GCM:
Counsel it’s clear.
LG:
It was only to understand the modality and that’s it.
GCM:
Do you know how come the questions weren’t also put into the record?
LG:
When he says: “I was translating the questions”, he’s not saying something true because the questions aren’t there.
GCM:
Excuse me, Counsel, please! Why aren’t the questions you say you were translating also reported in the record, if you know.
FDA:
I don’t know.
LG:
And the last three are: “RTQ – replies to question”, here as well do you know why?
FDA:
I don’t know.
LG:
Do you know at what time the bar at the Station opens in the morning?
FDA:
The Station bar varies, the times vary every now and then, in the sense that if there’s a service or anything else, a special service, I don’t know, usually they also open earlier, usually around a quarter past seven, 7:20, I don’t know the opening times exactly because I hardly ever go there.
GCM:
Who manages the bar? Internal Station personnel?
FDA:
No, no, if I’m not wrong they’re external, they have a contract if I’m not mistaken.
GCM:
So they are called in for a particular need?
FDA:
It happens, it’s happened often.
LG:
No, I haven’t understood then.
FDA:
The opening hours…
LG:
You’ve answered about the opening hours, there’s no bar inside the Station?
FDA:
Yes, it is, of course! Sure there is!
LG:
You’ve said no now.
FDA:
It’s on the first floor.
LG:
Who manages it? Someone private?
FDA:
I think that it might be someone private.
LG:
You don’t know the opening hours?
FDA:
Exactly, no, because I hardly ever go there, I’ve been only a very few times.

Defence – Dalla Vedova

CDV:
Just one clarification: do you remember the exact time that you arrived at the Station?
FDA:
Frankly I don’t remember because I wasn’t standing there with a watch, usually I don’t even wear a watch.
CDV:
Was it in the afternoon or in the evening?
FDA:
No, no, in the afternoon.
CDV:
Could we say around five or around six?
FDA:
No, it was earlier, at five or six I was already in the Station, it was earlier, much earlier.
GCM:
It was still daytime?
FDA:
Yes, yes.
GCM:
Daytime still?
FDA:
Yes, yes.
GCM:
It’s November, it was still daytime, afternoon.
FDA:
Yes, although I repeat I don’t remember the precise time because I don’t wear a watch, out of habit, and I wasn’t there either to look at the clock honestly, they had called me, they needed someone, I take the car and go, inasmuch as I had no particular need at home and I went.
GCM:
He doesn’t recall. Please, Counsel.
CDV:
You carried out the function of interpreter also with the other non-Italian girls who were present at the Station, true?
FDA:
Yes.
CDV:
Exactly what did you do? Were you translating questions also for them?
FDA:
I have to repeat, my job was to translate…
CDV:
I’ve understood that, I asked you if you also interpreted for the other girls, for example Ms Jade Bidwell?
FDA:
Yes.
CDV:
And also other girls as well?
FDA:
Yes, I remember having also done translation for the other girls.
CDV:
It was always an interview with an Italian functionary who was asking questions in Italian and you were translating into English and then the English person was answering in English and you were translating into Italian or was there…
FDA:
There were summary informations [SIs].
CDV:
Was it only an enquiry if they needed something, like you referred to earlier, because you were also concerned with offering them a coffee, some water, taking them downstairs.
FDA:
Certainly. Now the point is this: we are human beings to start with, so if a person needs something we have to… if they need a coffee, a glass of water, something else, there are machines downstairs, they’re accompanied downstairs and they’re given it, that’s it. We aren’t…
GCM:
Yes, but Counsel was asking, in addition to this activity, which before you had described in relation to Amanda Knox, you have also carried out the function of interpreter and in the examination of Amanda Knox and also in the examination of the other English girls.
FDA:
Sure.
GCM:
How many other English girls if you’re able to recall? All of them or …
FDA:
No, now I don’t recall, I think it might have been three, now I don’t remember exactly.
CDV:
Do you remember having taken part in the statementing of the SIs of Jade Bidwell, mentioned earlier, on the 2nd at 21:30?
FDA:
Possibly yes, although I repeat I frankly don’t remember the names. I don’t remember the names of these girls.
CDV:
Another clarification in relation to your activity at the Police Station, when you took Ms Knox to the Scientifica to do the prints and photos had you informed her what thing you were going to do?
FDA:
Yes.
CDV:
And what did you say to her?
FDA:
I said to her that we were going downstairs, that we had to take these prints and that’s it, like what was done with all of the others.
CDV:
And you also accompanied the other English girls in this activity?
FDA:
I don’t remember, I think no.
CDV:
You don’t remember?
FDA:
I don’t remember, I honestly don’t remember.
CDV:
But the other girls also had had the same necessity to do the ID-ing with their fingerprints?
FDA:
I think so, I say I think.
CDV:
But they were foreigners, was there someone helping the girls in explaining what was happening? If you were with Amanda how was it done? Was there someone else?
FDA:
The point is also this, that some of these girls were also understanding Italian a bit, therefore definitely my colleagues had explained it to them definitely, then I must reiterate I am only one person.
CDV:
There was some other interpreter that evening?
FDA:
I don’t think so.
CDV:
So you, from the afternoon of the 2nd until four in the morning of the 3rd, were the sole official interpreter who was working inside the Police Station for all the foreigners, for all the foreign girls?
FDA:
Yes, I think so.
GCM:
You were however the only one, that’s what he’s asking, that you knew about?
FDA:
That I know of I think it was only me.
CDV:
In this whole period of time you had always stayed near Amanda?
FDA:
During the summaries and then when I took her for the prints and mugshots, then I was present while she and the other friends and with the other friends were in the Squad office, in the waiting room, so I was there next to the wall, standing there, watching.
CDV:
And listening to the conversations?
FDA:
No.
CDV:
But if you were standing there…
FDA:
Obviously when they were talking aloud I was hearing something, but it wasn’t that I was…
CDV:
Do you remember if Ms Knox’s phone rang, did she receive calls?
FDA:
This I don’t remember.
CDV:
Do you remember if Ms Knox had made calls?
FDA:
I don’t remember this either frankly.
CDV:
Do you remember whether in translating the questions the subject of sexual activity had been put to Ms Knox? If anyone had asked her questions on this subject?
FDA:
I don’t remember.
CDV:
You don’t remember this subject?
FDA:
No.
CDV:
And do you instead remember the subject of the vaseline? Whether this question in relation to a presumed usage or in any case the presence of this material had been put?
FDA:
This I absolutely don’t remember. This is news to me, I don’t remember.
CDV:
You remember in any case whether Amanda Knox had a phone?
FDA:
If I’m not mistaken yes, I think yes.
CDV:
And the other young people had a phone?
FDA:
I think so, some had used it, I think so.
GM:
But this is cross-examination, they’re not questions…
GCM:
Let’s limit it to what was the examination.
CDV:
Although seeing that he was changing his stance and that he had acknowledged the fact that…
GCM:
In fact these questions are being put.
CDV:
Since it appears from the documents that almost everyone was making phone calls, it would have helped me to understand how come he can claim that the young people were quiet, therefore I wanted to know if anyone had made calls for example to their parents or in any case at that moment.
GCM:
So he remembers that they had them, from their behaviour, under this aspect.
CDV:
Exactly, under the aspect of their behaviour, when he had claimed that the other girls were quiet, I wanted to better understand what led him to that conclusion, that’s all. Thank you, I have finished the examination.

Public Prosecutor – Dr Comodi

MC:
Only one question: when the bar in the Police Station is closed, if you want to have a coffee, a tea, a brioche, a bottle of water, do you have to go outside?
FDA:
No, actually on floor zero, on the ground floor…
MC:
Which is the same floor where there is the bar also?
FDA:
No, the bar is on the first floor. So on the ground floor there are three small machines, one for drinks, the other obviously for snacks etc etc, then there’s the other one for coffee, like those outside.
MC:
Which work 24 hours a day?
FDA:
Yes, yes, 24 hours a day.
MC:
Is the electricity switched off?
FDA:
No, 24-hour, they’re always on.
MC:
Thank you.
GCM:
Very well, you may go.



- - -

Note: “fotosegnalazione” – “the taking by police authorities of a person’s fingerprints and face-on and profile photos for identification purposes” ([Italian Neologism Observatory]) – has been translated here as ‘(fingerprinting and) mug shots’, according to context. The term carries no imputed meaning as to legal status.