From The Murder of Meredith Kercher
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Several accounts by Knox, Sollecito and even Sollecito's father mention a broken pipe under the sink, at Sollecito's apartment, on the night of the murder, causing a spillage of water in the kitchen. Here, we collect together the facts about this event.

Sollecito's under-sink waste pipes
In the period before the murder, Sollecito had twice had visits from plumbers to fix a problem with his hot water faucet. This appears to be quite unrelated to the waste pipe problem, although, in some testimony the two are spoken of as though there is a connection.

From the police video of Sollecito's apartment, we have a record of the waste pipe, as seen a few days after the crime. The U-bend section is completely absent, but it is unknown whether it's removal was connected with the spillage or happened later. It might, for instance have been removed by the police, for examination, but we do not know. A straight gray pipe descends from the sink, with an angled side fitting to allow the waste from an appliance such as a dish washer to be routed through the same pipework. This can be seen as a yellow plastic pipe just visible at the centre top of the picture. The second gray pipe with a right-angle bend, in the center of the picture, would route the water away. The two vertical gray pipes would normally be connected by means of a U-bend whose purpose is to trap a small amount of water, preventing sewer smells from seeping up the pipes and out through the sink.

Waste trap schematic
The design appears to be similar to the model shown in the schematic picture, right. A straight vertical pipe from the sink is joined to a right-angled outlet pipe via a U-bend. In this particular design, the U-bend attaches to the two vertical pipes by a rubber seal that is compressed by large plastic nuts that screw unto the two legs of the U-bend. One of these nuts (a slightly different pattern from the one pictured, right) can still be seen, loosely around one of Sollecito's pipes. The rubber seals are shown as parts S009 in the exploded view. Screwing up the nuts, hand tight, compresses these seals sufficiently to make a water-tight seal and to prevent the U-bend from falling off the two vertical pipes. The U-bend is easily removable, for example to clear blockages, but fixes firmly to the vertical pipes. The waste water system is not pressurised, so the joints need to cope with water at high pressures.


Knox's letters to her lawyers

After dinner Raffaele washed dishes. But as he was washing dishes the pipe came loose under the sink and all the water that were in the pots in the sink spilled onto the floor. Raffaele tried putting small towels over the water to soak it up but there was too much. I went to find a mop but he didn't have one, so I told him not to worry about it, I could bring a mop tomorrow from my house.

Then, the next day, she went to the cottage and...

I took the mop from our closet and left the house, closing and locking the door. I walked back to Raffaele's house and together we started mopping his floor. He began, but he went to put on his clothes I finished mopping up the water.

That would have been a huge amount of water which needed two people to mop it up, more than 12 hours after the leak. You're right that the cupboard under the sink, and all its contents would have been saturated.

Waiting to be Heard version of events

After the movie ended, around 9:15 P.M., we sautéed a piece of fish and made a simple salad. We were washing the dishes when we realized that the kitchen sink was leaking. Raffaele, who’d already had a plumber come once, was frustrated and frantically tried to mop up a lot of water with a little rag. He ended up leaving a puddle.

"I’ll bring the mop over from our house tomorrow. No big deal," I said.

Knox court testimony

Yes. And did you eat dinner?
Yes. But it was very late when we ate.
Yes. Fish and a salad.
And then something happened to the faucet of the sink?
Yes. While Raffaele was washing the dishes, water was coming out from underneath. He looked down, turned off the water and then looked underneath and the pipe underneath "got loose" [in English, the lawyer translates "broke" (si e rotto), the interpreter translates "slowed down" (si e rallentato)] and water was coming out.
Can you say what time this was?
Um, around, um, we ate around 9:30 or 10, and then after we had eaten and he was washing the dishes, well, as I said, I don't look at the clock much, but it was around 10. And...he...umm...well, he was washing the dishes and, umm, the water was coming out and he was very "bummed" [English], displeased, he told me he had just had that thing repaired. He was annoyed that it had broken again. So, umm...
Yes. So you talked a bit. Then what did you do?
Then we smoked a joint together. What we did is, we said all right, let's find some rags, but he didn't have a "mop" [in English] how do you say "mop"? [The interpreter translates "lo spazzolone", the lawyer "il mocio"] he didn't have one, and I said don't worry, I have one at home, I'll bring it tomorrow, the leak is in the kitchen, it wasn't like it smelled bad or anything, we could just forget about it for the night, and then think about it tomorrow. So, we went into his room, and I think I, yes, I lay down on his bed, and he went to the desk, and while he was there he rolled the joint, and then we smoked it together.

Sollecito's prison diary, 07-NOV-2007

The questions the agents of the Squadra Mobile have made me to remember that that day the water pipe under [the] sink was detached and thing I find very suspicious, I've seen that it is not possible to so detach alone, at any rate, the fact is that it flooded half the house.

Knox's "memoriale" of 06-NOV

One of the things I am sure that definitely happened the night on which Meredith was murdered was that Raffaele and I ate fairly late, I think around 11 in the evening, although I can't be sure because I didn't look at the clock. After dinner I noticed there was blood on Raffaele's hand, but I was under the impression that it was blood from the fish. After we ate Raffaele washed the dishes but the pipes under his sink broke and water flooded the floor. But because he didn't have a mop I said we could clean it up tomorrow because we (Meredith, Laura, Filomena and I) have a mop at home. I remember it was quite late because we were both very tired (though I can't say the time).