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LONDON -- The father of slain British student Meredith Kercher on Friday harshly criticized a U.S. television movie that shows a re-enactment of his daughter s murder.

The Lifetime movie, due to air later this month, is based on the trial that followed the stabbing death of Meredith Kercher on Nov. 1, 2007, a killing for which Kercher s roommate, University of Washington student Amanda Knox, was eventually found guilty.

Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy has Heroes star Hayden Panettiere in the title role. A preview posted to Lifetime s website shows scenes from the run-up to the murder including a split-second scene showing Kercher, wearing a gray bra, being attacked by Knox s then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and another man, Rudy Guede, both of whom were also convicted in the killing.
John Kercher was quoted in Britain s The Sun newspaper as calling preview clips absolutely horrific.

To actually see it like this is very distressing, he said, according to the tabloid. It s awful what these film people have done.

The case which involved lurid sex allegations and two photogenic, educated young women became a media sensation from the moment Kercher s body was found with her throat slit in the bedroom of her house in Perugia, a university town in Umbria, central Italy.

Prosecutors said the Leeds University student was the victim of a violent, drug-fueled sex game. According to the prosecutors, Sollecito held Kercher by the shoulders while Knox touched her with a knife. At one point, they say, Guede tried to sexually assault Kercher and Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.

All three deny wrongdoing. Knox is appealing her 26-year sentence and Sollecito is appealing his 25-year sentence. Italy s highest criminal court has already upheld Guede s conviction and his 16-year-prison sentence.

The movie was filmed last year in Rome and Perugia. Producers didn t talk to any of the families, and instead worked from courtroom documents, including a 400-page report written by the judge in the case, and media reports.

Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, who plays Knox s mother, Edda Mellas, said Knox s innocence or guilt was a daily topic among the cast. Panettiere, meanwhile, focused on staying true to who she believes Knox was before the trial.

This wasn t a dark, angry girl, she told The Associated Press last month. She was a young girl with dreams and aspirations. I don t think guilty or innocent takes away from that.

The film airs on Feb. 21. Following the movie, Lifetime will air an hour-long documentary Beyond the Headlines: Amanda Knox that features interviews with Knox s mother, father, friends, investigators and prosecutors discussing the legal evidence and allegations.

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